DoorDash drivers wonder if delivery is worth it as gas prices rise: 'Stay home and save money'
- App-based drivers say they are making less money than before due to rising gas costs.
- Companies like DoorDash and Uber say drivers can earn more money through cashback programs.
- Some drivers are deciding to stop working to avoid having to refill their tanks more often.
You may want to think twice about tipping for that burrito that was just delivered.
As the average cost of a regular gallon of gas hit an all-time record on Tuesday, app-based drivers on Lyft, Uber and DoorDash are venting their displeasure and wondering if their orders and pickups are even worth it.
Liang Feria, a DoorDash driver in Atlanta, has been driving for the company since 2019, not long after he lost his job. He stopped for a few months before doing it full time after the COVID-19 pandemic began, but he did it as a side job when he got a full-time job.
Now, Feria says, he will stop dashing for a month or two because roughly 70% of what he is making is going for gas.
"When the gas started increasing, I was just like 'Everything I'm making, it's just going to my gas tank.' It's just not even worth it anymore," Feria told USA TODAY. "I was just so disenchanted by everything, I'm just kind of like, 'Just stay home and save money.'
"It's always good to have a little extra income, but I just have to make some adjustments."
Feria said he hasn't heard from DoorDash on ways the company is helping drivers offset the costs of gas, but thousands want companies to help immediately. More than 5,500 people have signed an online petition asking for Uber and Lyft to raise their base rates to help offset the cost of gas, and numerous people have spoken about their unhappiness with the companies, wondering if they will help out.
DoorDash said in a statement to USA TODAY that there are ways its drivers, referred to as Dashers, can save money on gas, including getting 2% cashback at any station through their DasherDirect credit cards as well as discounts for car maintenance.
"We are proud to provide Dashers with access to discounts on gas and other car maintenance to help them maximize their earnings," the statement read. "We’re always eager to hear from Dashers on ways we can support them and provide meaningful resources on and off the road."
Driving service companies offer similar benefits. Uber said in a statement to USA TODAY that it is supporting drivers through its driver loyalty program, Uber Pro, which allows drivers to save money on gas by completing trips, having at least a 4.7 rating and a cancellation rate no more than 3%. The company noted gas costs are still "a high-single digit percentage compared to U.S. driver earnings" but said drivers can save 25 cents a gallon through its GetUpside cashback program.
"Our platform only works if it works for drivers, so we’ll continue to monitor gas prices and listen to drivers over the coming weeks," the statement read.
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Lyft also works with GetUpside and said drivers can save money similar to DoorDash; the Lyft Direct cashback debit card offers 2% cash back at select gas stations.
"We care deeply about the driver experience and we’ve taken concrete steps to help given rising gas prices. Our investments in programs like our GetUpside partnership and the Lyft Direct cashback debit card are designed to directly save drivers money at the pump. We’ll continue to explore other ways to help the driver community," Lyft said.
Despite the offers, DoorDash driver Kendra Golden says having the card doesn't do much. Living in the small town of Gurdon, Arkansas, about 73 miles southwest of Little Rock, Golden drives 15 miles to Arkadelphia to handle food deliveries. Having to fill up more often, and with base rates so low, she says she sees little return in having the card.
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Now, the stay-at-home mother of three doesn't want to schedule any delivery shifts, a job she says she "loves doing."
"With it being such a financial risk, with the gas prices being as high as they are, it's just not in the cards at the moment," Golden said. "I really enjoy doing it, but at the same time, I'm wasting money doing that and taking time away from my family at the same time."
Both Golden and Feria say what DoorDash could do to encourage them to get back on the road would be increasing the base pay per order and implementing a minimum tip percentage for drivers. Golden says she understands everyone's income is being hit right now but hopes people may considering leaving a few extra dollars.
"In order for us to stay, it has to be beneficial to us, too. But I think a big part of that also falls off the company itself," Golden said. "Every time I called DoorDash, they told me 'Oh, you're one of our best drivers.' That's great. Show me that."
Follow Jordan Mendoza on Twitter: @jordan_mendoza5.