My First "Night" As a Flex Driver...

paper_doll

New Member
I made the mistake of taking a night time block of hours to make my first deliveries...I had 3 hours to deliver 15 packages to 12 stops over a 10 mile radius...no sweat right? I'm driving for logistics, if it matters any.

Wrong...

I get to the warehouse ON TIME and check in, but I didn't leave until 25 minutes later (had to scan each package with my cell phone...the app is shit and glitchy if low lighting) so I was marked in the app as "LATE"...mind you I had to wait in line in my car for 10 minutes in a cramped too small warehouse parking lot. I live in a city with well over 5 million people...there were 10-20 cars ahead of me trying to pick up and scan.

I realize now what people were doing was getting their cars loaded up and scanning in the parking lot, then leaving so they won't lose minutes in line.

So lo and behold, apparently I was delivering products to higher crime suburban areas at NIGHT...gang violence, carjackings galore, armed robberies, rapes...you name it...mind you this is a so-called lower class to lower middle class radius of a major city. Let me just be blunt...it was NOT safe for me to be delivering to those areas at night OR day, however...I am very familiar with said areas when they used to be safe so I gave it a shot.

Apparently, my night delivery quantity of packages was so small because I'm guessing people refused to deliver to those areas in broad daylight and brought the "same day delivery" packages back to the warehouse.

I got about 75% of my packages delivered...however, some jackhole didn't put the right apartment gate code on his order and I couldn't get in to drop it, which forces me to drive an extra 20 miles back to the warehouse to return ONE package. Mind you, I live 30 miles away from the warehouse as it is...with that being said, its already dark and the final three packages are in an even sketchier area of apartments. I decide to pass on that...and since I have one package to return I decide to add the last three as well for return to warehouse.

I was so spooked my parent rode along with me for three of the deliveries and she was OVER IT and advised me to never be this desperate for extra money again. (I've put in nearly 70 applications with no call backs so I am getting desperate!)

By this point my anxiety is through the roof! And I don't even HAVE anxiety! Everybody knows the weeks after Thanksgiving are "robbing season" in large cities.

So after I drop her off, I head back to return the packages. No questions asked. Delivery Block is over.

All in all...

Route itself was about 55 miles (from warehouse to three cities and back) plus the 60 to get there and back home = 115 miles at about 15-20 mpg x $2.29 a gallon = about $15-19 in gas subtracted from $54 pay for 3 hours work but 1 hour to get there. About $9.75 to $13 an hour depending on if you include the time it took to drive there! I have no idea what my tax rate will be but that hasn't even been factored in yet...

Now I totally see why and how drivers say the average is about $4-9 per hour...

Nevermind no company ID badge provided, no personal ID was even checked when I drove in, you are advised to buy your own reflective vest...I guess that helps you not get shot for walking in somebody's yard at night or bit by their dogs.

There are thousands of people working this job for inconsistent, unreliable pay with high termination rates for stolen packages, late departures, undeliverable addresses.


Damn this...I wanna say day one and done but I was able to nab two mid-day blocks for this week. I'll try that and see how it goes...I'm well aware I will have three to four times, if not six times as many packages with plausibly as many stops in a 4-hour block.

Pray for me...pray for all of us.

ETA: Just to be CLEAR...I didn't return the packages because I am lazy...it just wasn't worth the risk at that time of night. I don't carry any weapons and that was the first time I ever wished I had a gun on me.
 
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Brandon Wilson

Active Member
You are complaining way too much for something so simple. If the lighting is low use the flashlight button. Scanning packages is included in your block time if it took 25 minutes to scan 15 packages you have no one to blame but yourself really. Also if a package is marked as late when you get it all it means is that you should call the customer to make sure they still want the package even though it's late. Usually they do. You also cheated the customers by not even attempting to get those last packages to them. If that was their third attempt their package would be shipped back to a warehouse. With that said night blocks are usually more spread out. Day blocks are closer together but aren't exactly easier since you can get 400% more to deliver. Choose your pill. Either way you are going to have to get a lot faster and if people really creep you out that much you are in the wrong field.
 

DeathByFlex

Active Member
If it's as bad as you say then certainly stick to day shifts until you get the hang of this. There's some good info and tips in the threads pinned at the top of the forum that you should check out. Having a family member or a friend ride along for awhile may be smart (and allowed). Maybe get some mace or a taser, or both? If you find yourself at a really unsafe location then try calling the customer through the app and ask them if they'd be willing to walk out to you. If you truly fear for your life then leave and call it in to support, hopefully that won't happen too often. Definitely maintain high situational awareness (always be observing your surroundings). All of that said, I do wonder how much of this threat is perceived versus real. I've been in some sketchy neighborhoods but in hindsight, they weren't that bad and I wasn't really in immediate danger; though it seemed so at the time.

Gate codes get changed periodically and it's common for them to not work, call the customer and then call support if the customer doesn't answer.

The warehouses (aka "stations") do get boxes of lanyards and generic Flex badges; just keep asking for one. I think the safety vests are location dependent, in that some stations hand them out while others do not. I had to buy my own (ironically, from Amazon.com).

If you have packages left over at the end of your route, most stations grant you 24 hours to return them. So if you know you've got another route the next day, just take them home and return them at the start of your next block. This rule seems to vary a little between stations so check with a 'blue vest' at yours. Also, you have to attempt all your deliveries. That means, driving to the customer location and actually trying to deliver the package. It's one thing for it to be undeliverable due to no safe location to leave package or unable to access property. However, it's entirely a different matter for you to simply abort your route early.

Sometimes the app will send you back and forth across town to make deliveries (i.e. make a delivery, then make another 15 minutes away only to be routed back to the same place you were earlier). You're allowed to look at your itinerary/map and do deliveries out of order. After a year of doing this, I now check the map after every stop to see if I have another delivery closer than where the app wants to send me. If so then I click the marker of the closer location followed by 'preview route', make the delivery, repeat.

Don't beat the hell out of your car for this gig, drive nice, make smooth accelerations, be light on the brakes where possible. Don't idle your engine while waiting in line. If you have an automatic then slip it into neutral when sitting at a red light or in traffic (reduces transmission wear). Do your maintenance like oil changes, tire pressure, check your lights/blinkers, etc. Track your mileage! You get a $0.54 cent per-mile credit at tax time and that can offset a large chunk of your 1099 tax burden.

Try to arrive at the station 15 minutes early. I don't know if this is universal but we have 1 hour from the block start time to scan the arrival QR code. So my routine is to pull up near the building so I'm inside the GPS geo-fence where I can click the I've Arrived button in the app. I then jump in line and wait to get into the station, where I scan the QR code and load up.

Parts of your post had me reminiscing about my first week; I hated it... I constantly fought with the app, made mistakes when dealing with customers, forgot to scan the packages, got a parking ticket, got a red-light camera ticket, racked up a bunch of miles on my car, cursed at traffic when the app sent me zig-zagging across town all day. It was common for me to spend 6 hours on a 4hr block and that is basically working for below minimum wage. The deal is that as you get better at this you should start finishing blocks early. If you do that long enough then the numbers begin to work out in your favor. Remember, you don't get paid extra for going over but you do get paid for the full block if you finish early. Your first goal is to consistently finish on time. Then you aim to consistently finish 15 minutes early, and so on.

Good luck!
 

Placebo17

Well-Known Member
Yes delivering at night to ghetto areas can be dangerous. I personally wouldn't do night shift if I were a woman. Some of the places they send you, I wouldn't even want to walk alone at nights let alone have car full of packages. You're just asking for trouble.
 

mke

Member
If you live 30 miles away and have a car that gets 15 mpg, this gig problay isn't for you. I'd recommend an older, paid off, high milage, efficient car to even consider it. Blows my mind when I see others at the warehouse in new big suv's.

If you deliver you are goinf to have to stick your car into small places, burn gas, put wear and tear on your car and there's a good chance of some damage along the way. Not even worth it if your car is worth something, on a lease, and you don' plan on running it into the ground.

As for the crummy neighborhoods, yeah it sucks, especially at night. I don't wait around for more then a few seconds after ringing a door bell, call the customer on the way back to car and if they don't answer it's getting returned, i'm not risking stolen packages or hanging out as a target...the ware house undetstands and at night you weren't the 1st to try anyways, but you have to try at least
 

grams777

Well-Known Member
Author
Moderator
Sums it up nicely:

advised me to never be this desperate for extra money again
It’s barely worth it in the best of circumstances with all things considered.
 

paper_doll

New Member
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #7
They should pay more for evening delivery and inner city areas. I stay far away from both.

If there's no gate code or code doesn't work I'll just wait to follow someone in. Never had to wait more than 5 minutes.
That one package with the messed up gate code is notorious for thugs coming around to rob hard working middle class people and carjack women...no way I was gonna wait around.

And of course, the one package that was in the lower income apartment complex near an older mall that is infested with ex-cons and the people who love them would be the ONE package I left at the door and the complaint came in.

All the other packages were delivered to people at home that night. Honestly don't understand why they cannot incorporate crime stats into their delivery model for Flex drivers and simply utilize a courier company with a fleet to deliver those items after dark.

I'm honestly surprised nobody has been assaulted or killed...but that is a good thing.
 

dkcs

Well-Known Member
If you live 30 miles away and have a car that gets 15 mpg, this gig problay isn't for you. I'd recommend an older, paid off, high milage, efficient car to even consider it. Blows my mind when I see others at the warehouse in new big suv's.

If you deliver you are goinf to have to stick your car into small places, burn gas, put wear and tear on your car and there's a good chance of some damage along the way. Not even worth it if your car is worth something, on a lease, and you don' plan on running it into the ground.

As for the crummy neighborhoods, yeah it sucks, especially at night. I don't wait around for more then a few seconds after ringing a door bell, call the customer on the way back to car and if they don't answer it's getting returned, i'm not risking stolen packages or hanging out as a target...the ware house undetstands and at night you weren't the 1st to try anyways, but you have to try at least
I saw a dominos's delivery driver the other day in a new 5 series BMW. I just started laughing (and pointing)... Had the Domino light up logo on the roof and everything!

That one package with the messed up gate code is notorious for thugs coming around to rob hard working middle class people and carjack women...no way I was gonna wait around.

And of course, the one package that was in the lower income apartment complex near an older mall that is infested with ex-cons and the people who love them would be the ONE package I left at the door and the complaint came in.

All the other packages were delivered to people at home that night. Honestly don't understand why they cannot incorporate crime stats into their delivery model for Flex drivers and simply utilize a courier company with a fleet to deliver those items after dark.

I'm honestly surprised nobody has been assaulted or killed...but that is a good thing.
Amazon's delivery model only takes on time performance and cost into consideration. Amazon could care less what happens to their drivers unless it makes the news in some negative way.
 

ScubaMark

Active Member
I saw a dominos's delivery driver the other day in a new 5 series BMW. I just started laughing (and pointing)... Had the Domino light up logo on the roof and everything!
Your mileage may vary, but I sure would not laugh. There are a lot of unemployed/underemployed/just termed people right now just trying to put food on the table. I was one once.

My other job just laid off 15% of its IT work force week before Thanksgiving. Merry Christmas!
 
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DeathByFlex

Active Member
There are a lot of unemployed/underemployed/just termed people right now just trying to put food on the table.
Exactly. I've met plenty of drivers who are doing this because they lost their day jobs. I respect anyone who chooses to work a crap job rather than be a burden to society.

Off topic, Domino's is currently working with Ford to create fully automated self-driving pizza delivery vehicles which are expected to replace as many as half of their drivers in the next three years. Soon enough all the driving jobs will be replaced with cheap automation that doesn't make mistakes, complain, or require a paycheck.

https://www.theverge.com/2017/8/29/16213544/dominos-ford-pizza-self-driving-car
 

dkcs

Well-Known Member
Your mileage may vary, but I sure would not laugh. There are a lot of unemployed/underemployed/just termed people right now just trying to put food on the table. I was one once.

My other job just laid off 15% of its IT work force week before Thanksgiving. Merry Christmas!
And the first thing that would go for me is the BMW. You are tossing money out the window using that as a delivery vehicle in Los Angeles. Either break the lease because you are going to hit your mileage cap fast or trade it in.

I drive 2013 vehicles but always keep my paid off 11 year old Toyota for delivery work. It's just plain stupid to use a new vehicle (let alone a $60K+ BMW) for delivery work.

Most likely it was a lease and they don't even realize that they can break the lease in most cases and that they have a mileage cap as well.
 

ScubaMark

Active Member
I agree about the car, but maybe he/she is just now starting out and can’t or has not addressed the car yet

I have a 2012 paid off dodge caravan with the rear seat removed for delivery.

And as to the crap jobs to stay off welfare, I’m doing it to eliminate my last remaining debt before I retire (plus the continual layoffs, every November, are disheartening). Even heard Dave Ramsey say gig jobs (Uber/Lyft, pizza delivery, flex) should not be relied on to be the main source of income as they all can cut you loose at the drop of a hat.
 

dkcs

Well-Known Member
It's common in LA for people to lease expensive flashy cars just because they can and want to show off... The vast majority of them have no clue even what they are getting into, they just look at what the monthly is going to be and go for it.

The sight of someone zipping around Hollywood in a BMW with a Domino logo on the roof just cracked me up...
 
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