Can You Make a Living as a Delivery App Bike Messenger?

Can You Make a Living as a Delivery App Bike Messenger?


In the last few years, a new-app based service economy has emerged and companies like Caviar, Grubhub, Postmates, and even Uber now give anyone the opportunity to be couriers. Like this guy: Frankie Gallderizzi. He’s a full-time bike messenger in New York City. “I started about two years ago, I was looking for a job and I was like, ‘Well I’m riding all the time anyway,’ so I looked into some pizzerias and stuff but no one was hiring except for really late nights. So then a buddy told me about Grubhub.” To be clear, Frank doesn’t technically work for Grubhub. He’s officially an independent contractor who just uses Grubhub to get work. He also juggles a handful of other apps: Postmates, UberRush, Caviar, and Doordash. Each of these companies has a different business structure and pay scale. Although Grubhub wouldn’t share any pay info with me, I found out that through Doordash, couriers generally get five dollars per delivery and keep the full tip. The commission through Uberrush is up to eighty percent of a five to seven dollar merchant fee. All of these apps, including Caviar and Postmates, factor in variables like distance and peak hours. “Usually I work evenings, that’s when you make the most money, like during dinnertime. I sign into an app, which everyone I’m working for that day, and just kind of wait for the deliveries. Get a delivery, If it has too much or it has like, two soft drinks that you don’t want to carry, you reject it. If it looks good, you accept it. Head over to the restaurant, make sure all the items are in there, pop it in your bag, head over to the diner and drop it off. And do that over and over and over. I usually end when I’m getting tired, but sometimes you gotta push through it there. If I haven’t made a lot of money that week I just have to ride while my legs are hurting.” Caviar and Doordash claim on their websites that a messenger can make up to $25 an hour but in reality that’s a pretty ambitious figure. Just to make minimum wage, which is nine dollars in New York City, Frankie has to make at least two deliveries an hour. To pull off minimum wage! He has to rush. “If you want to get paid you have to sort of not be in the bike lanes and be with traffic, because they’re really slow and there’s constantly people turning into them, double parking in them. When you have like three drinks you have to carry and soup and the restaurant took a really long time to get all the stuff together and your delivery time is coming up real soon and you you gotta go three miles, that’s when it starts to get really stressful.” Most companies don’t offer health care or workers compensation in the event of an accident. “I’d say just take it real slow at the beginning until you get used to it. Stop it all the red lights, stay in the bike lane, and just be super careful. That’s all you really can do. Most of the time when people are getting hurt it’s because they think that they can just do what they see everyone else doing and it’s not necessarily true.” Because most delivery startups bill themselves as tech companies and not transportation companies, this gap can be a big deal, when most riders tend to share the road with cars. Over 4,000 cyclists were injured last year in New York City, 14 died. But despite this, Frankie sees plenty of upsides. “First of all you get to make your own schedule, which is amazing. It’s really exciting especially during rush hour. Sometimes work is more fun than just riding around for fun. I was going through some like anxiety problems at one point and riding my bike through traffic is sort of the one thing that keeps me completely in the moment. I can’t think about anything else so it was actually helping out my anxiety. I’d say most people can’t afford to do this as a career or they fear the risks or just don’t really like riding that much but there’s always been a niche group that do it for the lifestyle. I’ve only been doing it for two years but that’s not a long time at al. I see dudes all the time, I see the same dudes too, they’ve probably been doing it for 20 years. I think it takes a special kind of person to be able to do it for that long. It’s like any other job that’s really physical.” If you like this video and you want to see more, click here.

100 comments

  1. I would highly recommend BlueCrew. It is the best on demand job app i have found.
    https://go.bluecrewjobs.com/M91p/kgxdljYt3H

  2. I wonder if, from a legal stand point, once you accept a job, can you then be an employee whilst you carry that delivery? Governments need to regulate this industry as essentially its a promise of flexible work hours disguising a desire to exploit a vulnerable workforce.

  3. i love this job i would do it for free..i have anexity too and going out all day and cycling will keep me going… i even did cutting woods for the sake off staying active hahah and i loved it …

  4. I really liked hearing Frankie's perspective from October 2016. I'd like to hear an update on how it's changed heading into 2018.

  5. I was making $12 an hour back in 1992 when I was a bike messenger in downtown LA. It was decent money back then and it was a lot of fun. I was in the best shape of my life. Now I want to do it again for the fun of it.

  6. i do it in los angeles 2018 , i have been make good money 500 a week , no joke , i do ubereats and postmates , check out my vid , i love it , its a hobby and it pays

  7. i work for deliveroo here in the uk. so long the weather is fine its great. The problem is far too many riders and not enough deliveries . The number 1 issue

  8. Back in the day in the 90's 00's you could make a killing as a messenger but not any more, its just not worth it.

  9. You definitely can make money in New York on a bike because there's so much traffic a bike is the easiest way to get from point A to point B you definitely can make money

  10. Most Gig apps that I've tried don't pay as well as they claim, especially in Chicago. The best tip is to use as many as possible and learn about the market you're in.

  11. Dude is gonna crush the food in his messenger bag. Oh no sodas and soup, big problem. Get a rack and panniers or a basket, problem solved.

  12. This is worth getting sandwiched between a 🚌 and a 🚄 and ending your life the thickness of a pancake

  13. I cheat a bit I use a ebike the goes 38mph I built with 50 mile range after I do 48miles I stop so I don't get stranded

  14. To be a cycle messenger (or courier as we call it in the UK) you must be prepared to work very, very hard, be fit and healthy, have very low living costs, have a casual temperament and be brave in traffic. If you have any mental health issues – forget it – you will never handle the pressure!!! Oh yes and you must LOVE BIKES.

  15. I did Door Dash on my bike and next day my knee and legs start to hurt, I had to figure out plan B.

  16. These bum cops need to get off their asses and start ticketing those that park in the bike and bus lanes

  17. Hmm I bought a 50cc scooter for 3 thousand dollars brand new and now I'm making 150- 250 a day without much hard labor. Many delivery's are much more than 5 dollars after receiving a tip.

  18. I do it because there are no other jobs but risking your life, destructing your body for less then minimum wage is not worth it. In the winter I can make more then minimum with uber, but the summer it’s dead and they pay lot less. But the good part is I can work whenever. If I don’t feel like going to work, I don’t. If I need couple more hours before going to work, I can do that.

  19. Remember that these apps constantly update. If you are in a metropolitan area than you will make a lot of money! Uber eats is booming right now. On bike it’s super easy if you learn how the app works.

  20. I worked for Deliveroo in Singapore as a CYCLIST not a rider. That means I’m doing half of what they’re doing coz of speed and time. Im making between 3-4K USD a month. There you go whoever thinks it’s impossible. Just don’t be lazy

  21. Get a motorcycle, or at least a scooter. Learn how to ride it, practice mastering it in wide open parking lots. And always ride like you are literally invisible. Still signal and safely lane split/filter, to avoid getting rear-ended & crushed. But always act like vehicles & pedestrians will run into you.

  22. This is ridiculous. These app companies are running a scam here. Labor standards for bike messengers were atrocious enough (It doesn't help that the workforce doesn't have a union) but this shows that it will added stress and pressure on the workers. And as this fool illustrates, bikers will ride recklessly and jeopardize the safety of people as well as themselves. And this biker is a moron riding a bike with no brakes.

  23. I am a student and I do foodora occasionally in Toronto. I earn about $30/hr CAD (sometimes way more or a bit below) with the tip but I am the top 5% rider in term of number of deliveries per hour. It is enough to afford a living for a part time job i.e. rent and food and some entertainments, while in a school. BUT, it is not easy. You have to go all out in rain/snow, and must be very swift, not at just riding but also locking bike, finding the building, etc. When the restaurant makes me wait, I get paid less and I get very angry (inside).

  24. I don't make much money, but it's just fun. Don't really use the money to maybe pay utilities. I enjoy the rush, and it's faster than any car in rush hour

  25. Started doing deliveries after work for a couple of hours a day just to put change in my pocket. If you have a good bike you'll be alright. If the streets are terrible where you live be prepared to pay for bike maintenance

  26. these companies have no insurance or workers protection overhead. and no obligation to the couriers. just like uber

  27. I enjoy cycling and motorcycling and did try uber eats for a day in London by bicycle the amount of traffic that have no patiences just makes it feel risky. It's definitely better to do it with a moped.

  28. I tried to apply for GrabFood in the Philippines but i kinda change my mind. I dont want to add mileage on the scooter im at 16km dunno for miles but i know i cant see those food delivery apps as a career but something to enjoy rather than staying home and play games

  29. Yes why not. This is not the job one can do for the whole life but one can at least for some years. Then it can not be called an exhausting job. It all depends on how trained one is. there are much more exhausting Jobs than this one. Yes then of course, if one who isn't in shape chooses this job, probably has chosen the wrong one. But it might also be the chance to become fitter and lose weight.

  30. If this guy is making 9 bucks an hour in a city hes doing something wrong. Because some days I average out 27 bucks an hour I can make over 200 dollars in a day very easily.

  31. the modern day slaves. while these tech companies make bilions, regular workes get scraps and risk their lifes, with no benefits or healthccare and insurance. how is this legal?

  32. You have to watch for people more than cars – everyone is constantly looking at their phones and stepping out into the bike lane. I've been knocked off my bike a few times. I try to take it slow, but then I start having fun and taking risks.

  33. The guy is texting with both hands, while riding a bike on a street in Manhattan; Unbelievably foolish and reckless.

  34. i promise you working for uber or postmates or any startup app as one of their minions is not worth your time. take it from someone in tech industry that you're getting the short end of the stick here. invest in yourself, not a dead end skill that will literally lead you nowhere.

  35. It’s designed to profit the company , you’re just the mouse in the maze

    kudos to ya if you enjoy taking part in this experience

    no objections 🙂

  36. What is this best time period during the day for deliveries? I want to work this summer break from college preferably 8 hours 5 days a week and be able to still go to the gym and lift weights 3 days a week too, think that would be pushing it too hard?

  37. You call it food delivery i call it slavery! Should be banned. No healthcare insurance, the job force you to rush and risk your life and brake the rules. The worst is there are no salary if you can't do the ride in time.

  38. This will be a super fun job when electric bikes become cheaper with longer range. You could just sit down, twist a throttle, and float around the city.

  39. Dumb question: Why riding a bike instead of a motorcycle? Is faster and the gas price/number of deliveries relation is worth the cost.

  40. I have worked these jobs for an year now and in the end overall it's not worth it. Your spending just as much as your making not worth it

  41. I do this part time for ubereats, doordash and Postmates and one thing I must say is it beats panhandling or collecting cans, plus i also work full-time at a restaurant..

  42. EVERYONE LISTEN – Just do these deliveries part time, if you need extra cash . Uber delivery is the best for this. you work when ever you want . Thats what I do to fund my travels.

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