Is there a way to earn money while doing sports? Is there a way to listen to audio books and meanwhile earn money? Let me tell about my first working day at Deliveroo deliveries. Lets discuss how it is possible to do what we like and be paid.

A week ago an advertisement on facebook poped out by Deliveroo: “You’ll Get Great Fees and Flexibility. Become Self Employed. Work Close To Your Home. Earn Up to 120£/Day”. This immediately brought multiple memories from the streets, when cyclists with Deliveroo bags were delivering food around the city. It was too temptive to find out more. After a short consideration, I filled the application form and gave a try.

Just after 5 minutes Deliveroo calls to arrange a booking for the trial drive session. Earliest possible shift on Sunday is the most convenient – i tell operator, and we make an agreement. The job reviews at indeed and glassdoor are not very promising, but what can i loose?

In the morning of Sunday at 9:35am I am already waiting at their Angel office in London. I came half an hour before the agreement, thus have to wait. It is nice that the security man offers to make myself a cup of tea. It gets even better -after noticing that I took  an offer just as a polite gesture, he even takes me inside the office to show where the tea, boiler and milk is placed. This weakens a little bit the impression of intensive and messy office atmosphere. Overall it feels like entering an internet cafe in a garage – lots of computers, lots of mess, not very clean and with a particular smell (perhaps sweat?).

At 10:30am comes a friendly fellow, calls two persons (me and another guy, with whom we chatted for a half an hour to kill the time and share impressions) for a test drive. Our task is to find the location using the google maps on the smart phone, without delivery of the food. We each have two missions and have to accomplish within reasonable time (basically impossible to fail). First starts the Albanian guy and makes both targets superfast – hard to catch. Then comes my time and with few navigational confusions I also find both delivery spots. The test drive is complete.

After a return to the office, we proceed with the tests on the computers. It takes probably 30 minutes to watch around 4 videos and answer questions about security, customer service and hygiene. After the test, a very kind staff member comes to inquire about the preferred working area (i choose Islington for a start for possible earning potential) and a contract type (i choose £7 per hour + £1 per delivery). After signing online the contract, we are sent a link to download the Deliveroo navigational Rider app and access online employee scheduling programme Staffomatic. The same staff member explains how to use the application, arranges logistics, answers my ten questions and finally requests other colleague to provide equipment.

Equipment package (big thermal backpack, small thermal bag, jacket, two t-shirts, waterproof trousers, battery pack, two lights and smart phone holder) costs £150 and shall be deducted from the first salary, which is paid every two weeks. Once the equipment is returned, full amount £150 shall be returned.

Three hours of Cycling and Listening to Audio book

The test session is still quite far from understanding what the actual work is. I was burning to try out and see, whether it really matched my expectations. As a result, i signed to do a first real 3 hours session the same evening from 6:30pm to 9:30pm.

To begin with, it was not the best idea to sign to work in the area that is 20 minutes away from home, because 20 minutes x 2 = 40 minutes are lost just to commute to the place of work, while one of the advantages was being close to the home and start working immediately. Therefore, even though i was outside dressed and ready to start 6:20, i could not login to the Deliveroo system and thus start working. It was necessary to be in the area of operation to be able to login.

As it is common with starting something new, my first rides were quite inefficient. My first delivery was made only at 7:22pm, meaning that it took 40 minutes time from signing in and 60 minutes time from being ready. I was happy I did not choose the option to be paid per delivery (£3.75 per drop), but was burning also to fix the mistakes, such as missing the right turn, because i memorized the route and did not check the map. The second delivery was already a bit better (30 min) and amazingly each and every subsequent delivery was faster than one before:

  • 3rd deliver in 26 min
  • 4th delivery in 25 min
  • 5th delivery was in 12 min
  • 6th delivey in 11 minutes and 36 seconds!

During 3 hours of work I managed to accomplish 6 jobs, thus earned £7 x 3 hours + £1 x 6 deliveries = £27. If the same job was done with the per drop fee option, my earnings would be £3.75 x 6 = £22.5.

It is important to note that the last 20 minutes were without job offer, so had to wait for the end of the shift, log out and drive back home. Actually, i was already slowly moving toward home the last 5 minutes, losing the hope of another delivery.

Even though it was only 6 deliveries per hour, the progression was quite impressive, giving hopes for a maximum 20 min per delivery execution and thus earning of £7 x 3h + £1 x 9 deliveries = £30 or per drop option £3.75 x 9 = £33.75. It is interesting to note that the encouragement for choosing per drop delivery in the earnings is quite small: working 50% more (from 6 to 9 deliveries) brings 25% more earnings (from £27 to £33.75). It is of course beneficial for the company, but not really motivating for the drivers. To be fully motivational, the payment per drop should increase from £3.75 to £4.50 (calculated as £27 x 1.5 = £40.5 / 9 deliveries = £4.5).

Lets calculate also from Deliveroo perspective. Lets say they want to increase the amount of the deliveries due to rapid expansion. One option is to hire a second worker, who would be paid on the hourly basis, thus both workers will cost Deliveroo £7 x 3h x 2 persons + £1 x 12 deliveries = £56. The second option is to increase the incentives per drop. If the incentives are raised to £4.5 per drop, making the same 12 drops for Deliveroo will cost £4.5 x 12 deliveries = £54. It seems raising the incentives is quite beneficial even for Deliveroo, but probably they want to cut the costs even further and try to play other card: slowly push the drivers to more restrictions working on an hourly basis and promise more freedom on per drop basis, but lower payment. Deliveroo drivers went on strike to protest against the new scheme and they have a solid point.

It is funny and surprising to see that during my first cycle around the town I also earned a tip of £1. However, it is really not connected neither to my work nor to something that makes sense. The tip was given with the card payment when ordering the food and it just happened so this delivery was served by me. I don’t really see the point in tipping before order, because I was not aware of a tip (found out only when I finished work) and thus it has not incentivized to work better for this customer. The tips belong to the cyclists, but they are so small and so disconnected from the service provided that it is better to forget it.

Pluses and Minuses of work at Deliveroo

So lets return to the beginning and the core of why it is a good way to make money and not good way at the same time. Lets enlist the pluses and minuses of the work:

+ I love cycling and if there is a job that pays for cycling that is great!

+ I need to do sports regularly and if there is possibility to get paid for doing sports, that is perfect.

+ I need to get my eyes rested from the computer working all day and if there is a way to get outside, change working environment, and get paid, that sounds good.

+ I aim to read lots of books and recently found out that listening to the books is one of the best ways to achieve the goal in terms of the quantity, since listening to books is available at all times when commuting from one place to another and in London commuting takes lots of time. Plus, listening audio books rests the eyes, which are placed to work on a regular basis. And for listening to the books to get paid is not bad at all.

+ extra money of around 9£ per hour is small but still covers some pocket expenses.

+ getting some interesting experience (dealing with restaurants and getting to know clients) during the off-regular-work hours might be also important element.

+ it is a possibility to work in the evenings after the work and on Saturdays and Sundays, during the holidays.

+ riding a bike, finding restaurants and customers increases navigational skills.

+ amazing possibility to work near the home in the district around.

-/+ would be great to have freedom to start working any time, not just when agreed and giving one weeks notice to change the schedule. There is such option with the per drop delivery, but there are risks that there will be no deliveries while you work, it is relatively lower paid comparing to the per hour pay.

– before work we have to prepare the equipment and thus start only from home, where the equipment is situated.

– cyclists are moving advertisements of Deliveroo brand. Cyclers are promoting a brand while cycling and are exposed to all sort of opinions from outside towards the brand.

– cyclists cover own insurance.

– cyclists for work use their own bikes and depreciation is not included as a payment.

+/- cyclists are self-employed and thus pay their own taxes, are not compensated for holidays.

– the payment for the cyclists is above the minimal wage (£7.2 per hour for a person over 25 years old), but there are no breaks included, it is a payment for a pure working hour.

– cyclists are charged £150 for equipment and if it gets stolen, this is an immediate and significant loss. Besides, some things are not very useful in the set of the equipment, such as battery pack for the android phone.

+/- there is a flexibility to choose two ways to be paid: per hour or per delivery drop, but payment for delivery per drop is not aligned with the work done and risks taken.

+/- the training session could be organised a bit better, but in general it was sufficiently good. After registering on internet the convenient first trial session, the actual training lasted 3 hours: registering arrival and name, very basic checking the bike, going to two test locations, doing test on a computer, choosing a type of the contract, signing agreement, choosing hours to work, intro to application, registering, getting equipment, ready to work.

Deliveroo company

Deliveroo is a British food delivery company that has operations spread across most of the cities in the UK, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Belgium, Ireland, Spain, Italy, Australia, Singapore, Dubai, and Hong Kong. It was founded in London in 2013 by Will Shu (a former economical analyst for S.A.C. Capital Advisors and ESO Capital and former investment banker at Morgan Stanley) and Greg Orlowski (who previously worked as a software developer and as a director of technology).

Orders are placed through its website and then either employed or self-employed bicycle, motorcycle or car couriers transport orders from restaurants to customers.

Deliveroo is due to hit revenues of £130m in 2016, solidifying its position as one of the UK’s most-promising technology companies, while it started operations just 3 years ago. There are 13 000 employees as of November 2016 and around 20 000 technically self-employed couriers.

Deliveroo pays self-employed cyclists and drivers to deliver takeaway food from restaurants without their own takeaway network. A smart phone app allows diners to browse local restaurants to order from, with Deliveroo itself taking a £2.50 fee. “On demand” economy offers those who choose to work for them the independence and flexibility to fit their work to their lifestyle, or supplement their income from another job.

Last but not least, due to rapid expansion Deliveroo searches many cyclists, scooter drivers and other positions around the world. They also encourage current employees (such as me!) to find cyclists and scooters. Therefore, if you want to become a cyclist (or scooter driver) at Deliveroo, use this link: to be paid extra £50. Disclosure: i am not making a recommendation to work, I am just describing the conditions, but if you want to work, then with this code Deliveroo will pay you £50 and me as employee will get £100.

Invest in Bike First

Cyling has numerous advantages. A while ago I wrote an article Invest in Bike First, where investement in bike is analyzed in great depth. Possibility to work for Deliveroo is another income stream from having a bike.