Using Gig Economy Drivers to Deliver Packages – Things to Keep in Mind

Key takeaways: 

1. Gig economy delivery drivers working extra hours are not getting more benefits, which may lead to financial insecurity.

2. Many gig economy workers want to work for multiple platforms in order to increase their income.

3. Major companies have faced legal challenges over the classification of their workers as independent contractors rather than employees.

Seeing how the driver shortage persists in most parts of the globe, it is not difficult to see why companies would consider using gig economy drivers to deliver packages. Many delivery giants have already launched their own programs to utilize the potential of gig drivers.

One of the most prominent examples of this was displayed when Amazon started using gig drivers with the Amazon Flex program. Such programs showcase how other businesses can use gig economy drivers to their advantage in a sustainable and mutually beneficial manner.

Though despite the use of gig drivers on such massive scales, many businesses are still skeptical of their utility and reliability. To clear up the air around the subject, we discuss everything there is that you need to know about hiring gig drivers for your delivery operations.

What are Gig Drivers?

Gig economy delivery drivers are basically individual contractors free to pursue any form of work without being tied to a corporate entity. This flexibility of choosing who they work for and when they work separates them from regular employees bound to their employer’s needs.

Due to them being classified as gig workers, they are not permanent fixtures at any given company. Hence, they are not treated with the same luxuries as employees. They can be hired or fired at your discretion and are to bear all the costs that are associated with the job by themselves including the cost of their vehicle, food, and fuel. 

Though they usually make up more than that with the higher rates that they charge to deliver the same products. Because of the work flexibility that they enjoy, they can be hired within a moment’s notice through various channels given that the pay is satisfactory. 

Reasons Why Businesses Choose to Hire a Gig Driver

Given the fact that gig drivers charge greater prices than employees and are not bound by the same rules, there must be some concrete reasons why delivery services choose to hire them. Let us review some scenarios where delivery services would consider going with a gig driver over a full-time employee.

1. Urgent deliveries

Delivery businesses often face situations where they must deliver certain items to a destination as fast as possible due to client requests or work delays. Usually, in such cases, these businesses are strapped for skilled drivers that are instantly at their disposal to carry out the job.

Urgent deliveries for gig economy drivers

This is where gig economy drivers step in and save the day for delivery companies by taking up the task for them. Because of the instant availability of these drivers, they quickly become the ideal solution for such scenarios. There is also no special need to train them given their past experience in the field.

2. Driving experience

Much like freelancers, there are gig economy workers that are highly renowned for their skills and experience in specific industries. Gig economy drivers are no different as some drivers possess incredible skill at certain forms of transportation that are usually not readily available. 

Such skilled drivers are already in demand and have no difficulty finding work. The need for them only goes up when there is a shortage of drivers. Given their demand, they are usually hired to do high-priority jobs that require their expertise and are paid handsomely. 

3. Limited requirements or funds

Some businesses that are just starting out might not have the required funds to fully commit to hiring a full-time delivery driver. But because of their requirement such businesses can choose to have a gig worker do the job for them instead.

Since gig economy drivers are not bound by the same employee contracts, they know that they can be dismissed at any given moment which gives businesses some relief. This is why gig economy drivers are considered perfect for situations where the business has limited funds or requirements for a full-time driver.

4. Redundancy 

Most businesses would definitely not prefer walking on a tightrope between efficiency and reliability. To counteract the unreliable nature of workers, companies might have gig workers cover shifts occasionally as a method of having some workers in reserve.

Due to the frequent employment of gig workers, companies form bonds with them and could convert them into full-time employees when the need arises. Such redundancy becomes essential when you cannot predict the behavior of workers. 

Things to Look Out for When Using Gig Drivers

Honestly speaking, hiring a gig economy delivery driver is not a process that inspires the most confidence for any employer due to the number of frauds that occur. However, if you do look out for the factors given below when choosing a driver you can have the best chances of successful delivery. 

1. Conduct a background check

A common practice in almost any delivery service partner program that anybody who has applied would know is a background check. Whether you want to become a driver for amazon flex or any other service a background check is always going to be conducted to ensure the utmost trust and safety. 

If an applicant has a criminal record or history of misdemeanors that are likely to hurt your business operations then you will be able to instantly identify them. 

While you are likely to stumble upon felons every once in a while, the background check will give you a great point of judgment and clarity. Some felonies might not be of relevance to you and thus make the applicant eligible for the position.

2. Inspect previous experiences and contracts

Sometimes the on-paper details do not give you the best insights into the applicant’s professionalism and behavior. To counteract this uncertainty the best thing you can do is look at the past experiences of the employee to better gauge their aptitude.

Some applicants may have been consistently irresponsible with their jobs or have displayed behaviors that do not contribute to a healthy work ethic. The majority of this information is easy to recognize and comprehend with just a brief look at work history.

Knowing these past experiences is important when running your own logistics operation as employee personalities usually carry over from previous jobs. Their core skills and work ethic may also be discovered once you probe into their work history which may aid your judgment. 

3. Check driver credentials

Ideally, the applicants to your gig driver job posting will usually have the required permits and licenses to conduct their job properly. However, it is still advised to double-check before confirmation to see if there are any missing credentials. 

This is because if they are unauthorized to conduct work operations then it could land them and your company into some serious trouble with law enforcement. This step is of vital importance if you want to avoid any accidents or legal violations.  

4. Ask for procedural information

To check whether a gig economy driver is suitable for the job you may want to ask how they carry out their tasks. Going into the procedural information that they follow shows you their thought process and diligence levels when working on the tasks that you give them.

Going through the way that they carry out operations will also highlight potential weaknesses that could be improved upon. In general, this is a great way to know what to expect from each individual gig driver when assigning tasks to them.

5. Ensure that they follow best practices

Since gig economy drivers are constantly switching jobs, they have to stay on top of their game to be able to compete with other drivers in the industry. To do this they may already be implementing techniques and solutions to optimize their workflow.

But they could be missing out on the protocols that are used by businesses that further boost operational efficiency. Educating the gig workers about these protocols is a surefire way to ensure that you bump up their performance on the field.

Common Challenges Encountered with Gig Drivers

Using gig economy drivers to carry out your delivery operations is not a plug-and-play process as many would like to believe. Much like with any other form of hired help, using gig economy drivers does have its own set of challenges and setbacks that you will have to deal with.

1. Time required to train

While gig economy drivers may already be proficient with the job of a driver in general, they still might not be familiar with your standard operating protocols. Since they can work for multiple employers within a short time frame, they cannot possibly know the standards at a new workplace.

There is no way to quantifiably assume whether or not gig economy drivers are easier to train than new full time employees. This is why they sometimes require extensive training to be aware of the standard operating protocols without failure. 

2. No permanent binding 

Unlike full-time employees, gig economy drivers are usually not bound by the same contracts allowing for greater freedom and mobility. This gives both parties the right to dismiss services at their discretion without any problems whatsoever. 

Though this is a negative point if you are considering having gig workers adhere to your company in the long run as you cannot predict or control their choices. Such a lesser level of control demotivates some business owners from even considering hiring a gig economy worker.

3. Operational disagreement

Because gig economy drivers may not be accustomed to your way of handling orders there might be situations where they run into trouble with the clients. Some drivers may be very stern and strict when handling your packages and will outright refuse to handle it in a different way.

A situation like this could easily cause you to lose out on peak efficiency and delivery commitments which can be very damaging to your reputation. To remedy this it is best to enforce strict guidelines that prevent any poor practices that affect delivery performance.

Let Your Drivers Maximize Delivery Performance Using Upper

Whether your fleet comprises gig drivers or full-time drivers will not matter when you have Upper route planner to overlook your delivery routes. Using the amazing route planning powers of Upper your routes are crafted to the epitome of efficiency for every single driver.

Combine that with the other brilliant features from Upper such as one-click dispatch that allow you to dispatch route plans to multiple drivers using different modes with just one click. You can also direct your drivers with crucial information such as parcel information and driver notes.

You can also easily track their progress by looking at a map or also have them collect proof of delivery using the driver app. Almost all the concerns of a delivery business are eliminated when they have transitioned to a software solution like Upper to take care of it at any given hour.

Use Efficient Routes for Multi-stop Deliveries

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FAQs

While there are no set ways in which all gig drivers could improve, here are some general suggestions that gig drivers should live by to give themselves the best chance of success.

  • Plan ahead
  • Be professional
  • Maintain your vehicle
  • Communicate effectively
  • Be flexible
  • Keep accurate records
  • Utilize software solutions that optimize operations
  • Be customer-focused

Prior to the Flex program. Amazon used to rely on third-party delivery services such as the united parcel service inc. However, it did significantly increase delivery costs, especially for its Prime delivery services. This is why they rolled the blue prime branded vans along with gig drivers to operate them under the Amazon Flex program to reduce costs and have more control.

Several variables, including modifications to labor laws, technological advancements, and changes in customer preferences, may have an impact on the future of gig driving. Though it is likely that the industry will survive most of the technological revolutions as long as they stay as an affordable short-term transportation mode for companies.

Conclusion

The rise of big companies employing their very own gig driver services to rapidly expand their control of the market inspires other businesses to follow suit. But given the challenges faced when using gig drivers to fuel your workforce make it a bad option for certain businesses.

If you are able and ready to handle the greater resources demanded by gig drivers they can be an excellent addition to your company given their flexibility. With the right solutions to aid you in your pursuit of efficiency, there is no challenge that will be impossible for you to overcome. 

Speaking of a software solution to bump up your efficiency, Upper route planner is here to give your drivers the most optimized routes to follow. The best way to experience the level of optimization delivered by Upper is by trying it out yourself with our 7 days free trial.

Author Bio
Rakesh Patel
Rakesh Patel

Rakesh Patel, author of two defining books on reverse geotagging, is a trusted authority in routing and logistics. His innovative solutions at Upper Route Planner have simplified logistics for businesses across the board. A thought leader in the field, Rakesh's insights are shaping the future of modern-day logistics, making him your go-to expert for all things route optimization. Read more.

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