Imagine a job where you could get paid to exercise. Or what about one where the customers are happy to see you when you arrive? How about being your own boss and cruising around in your car making deliveries to hungry people?
When you’re a food delivery driver in Australia, there are lots of advantages but also a few elements of the job that you need to be aware of. As a student, you need to be smart when deciding how to earn your money because it can’t take up too much study time and it has to bring in the funds you need for everyday living.
The industry is exploding because where people used to purchase takeaway or home delivery food as a treat once a week or fortnight, now, some sectors are choosing this way of eating at home several times a week this way instead of cooking.
Some of the companies do take a huge cut of each sale (UberEATS charges 35% of each transaction!), but cafes, restaurants and other food purveyors can’t afford to not be on board or else they will miss out on the visibility that the platforms provide.
As of 2019, the Australian food delivery market is estimated to be worth around $2.6 billion annually, with consumers spending on average $1,590 a year on delivered food. In Sydney, the annual spend per consumer is $1,958 and people there order food 4.2 times a month whilst in Brisbane, it’s 3.4 times a month and Melbourne, less, at 3.2 times a month.
All this means that there is a gigantic number of burgers, pancakes, sushi, fried chicken and pizza rolling around Aussie streets!
Before you can be a food delivery person, you’ll need an ABN (Australian Business Number), a vehicle (car, motorbike, bicycle or scooter), a smartphone and a fairly decent knowledge of the local area.
- ABN – In this role, you will be an ‘independent contractor’. That is, you won’t be an employee, so you won’t receive the usual entitlements such as sick leave, holiday leave, overtime pay or superannuation. You will be responsible for keeping your own financial records and lodging your own BAS (Business Activity Statement) with the Australian Taxation Office.
- Vehicle – If you don’t already have a vehicle, you’ll need to decide whether a car or motorbike, bicycle or scooter are your preferred methods of transportation. Keep in mind the number of hours you want to work, how much weather might impact on your earning potential if you ride a bike or scooter, the running costs of the vehicle and the purchase price in the first place.
- Smartphone – This will be your link to any deliveries you have to make. Without it, you won’t have this income at all. Be sure it is a fairly recent model so it can accept upgrades to the apps you will use in your work, and keep it charged at all times.
- Local area knowledge – Yes, you can use GPS but even better is good working knowledge of the local area because you’ll be familiar with traffic patterns, shortcuts and quickest routes.
Food delivery players have come and gone but the four main ones that are growing steadily are UberEATS, Deliveroo, Menulog and eatnow. Then, of course, there are the pizza chains who primarily employ their own drivers.
They’ve been delivering scrumptious, hot pizza for decades in Australia and now that the online systems have become commonplace, their slice of the pie is much smaller … and everything is far more competitive!
- Pizza deliveries – The average Domino’s delivery driver receives around $19.75 per hour. That figure is 22% lower than the national average. Pizza Hut drivers earn on average $25.60 per hour. For those companies, you would drive a company car or scooter, so there are no expenses for you to worry about outside of your shift. Both companies are under extreme pressure to compete and Domino’s in particular is always coming out with exciting innovations, but some of these – such as drone deliveries – may mean the delivery driver job becomes redundant in the future.
- UberEATS – The ‘granddaddy’ of online food deliveries, UberEATS pays drivers a pick-up fee of $5.50, a drop-off fee of $3.50 and $2.20 per kilometre between the food outlet and customer. If you perform multiple order drop-offs from the same restaurant, you’ll receive a single pick-up fee of $5.50, a $3.50 drop-off fee for each order and the delivery figure is calculated on the total number of kilometres travelled from the restaurant until the final drop-off destination. UberEATS has minimum requirements that must be met for vehicles, which must be registered and insured, free from cosmetic damage and commercial branding and of a maximum age. Drivers must be at least 18 years old and have an open driver’s license. UberEATS takes a small service fee from each delivery.
- Deliveroo – Deliveroo drivers earn on average $9 to $10 per delivery. According to drivers, most earn less than the minimum wage, which is about $18.93 per hour.
- Menulog – With Menulog, you receive a delivery fee based on driving time and distance. Your vehicle has to be a 1990 model or newer, fully registered and CTP insured and you must be aged 18 or over and have an open license. You have to provide commercial grade thermal bag or you can buy one from Menulog. With Menulog, you keep all the money you make as the company doesn’t take a commission on your fees.
- eatnow – This company still exists however it has been acquired by Menulog. So basically, orders that come in via the eatnow platform will be fulfilled by Menulog and its drivers.
In all cases, you must be able to prove you have the right to work in Australia.
According to the TWU (Transport Workers Union), more than three quarters of fast food couriers in Australia earn less than the minimum wage. It says that the hourly award rate for bicycle couriers is $24.41.
When deciding whether or not to become a fast food delivery driver, you need to weigh up all the pros and cons to figure out if it will be profitable enough for you and suit your lifestyle.
Figures quoted are correct as of February 2019