LETTERS: I’m a DoorDash driver and I don’t want to be a ‘DoorDash employee’

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Editor: During this pandemic, I’m proud to have been a Dasher, helping connect Coloradoans with food from their favorite local restaurants through the DoorDash platform.

As COVID-19 has swept through our state, my work has become more important than ever, helping people stay at home wherever possible and making sure that local restaurants are still able to do what they do best–feed our communities. The DoorDash platform has also become a lifeline for many, myself included, ensuring I can keep working even when my full time job temporarily slowed because of the pandemic. But for me, delivery isn’t my full time job and I don’t want it to be.

Flexibility works in my life. Actually, flexibility is required. Because I work full time and juggle my family’s hectic schedule, I need something that I can fit into my day in a way that works for me. I like to be able to hop online and drive for a few hours when I have the spare time or need the extra income, but I also like that I can skip a week if I want to. For the sake of all of the people like me who’ve come to rely on app-based work and the flexibility it provides, we need to update our laws in a way that honors our desire to remain independent. We need to establish new rules that offer needed protections to drivers without depriving us of our options.

I am able to earn more than $20 for every hour I’m making deliveries, and I get to do that while making my own schedule. I already have a full time job, I don’t want to be full time at DoorDash too!

I’ve also seen the challenges the pandemic has caused for so many Coloradans. There has been a huge reliance on rideshare companies and delivery services to safely deliver items like medicine and groceries, in addition to food. Platforms like DoorDash and Dashers like me help those who need access to these critical supplies. More than ever during COVID, local restaurants have been using platforms like Uber, Grubhub, DoorDash, and Lyft to keep their businesses afloat.

I’m proud that I am an essential part of helping my fellow Coloradans and doing my part to make people’s lives easier especially during these difficult times and grateful that I get to earn money while helping people.

I urge Colorado lawmakers to think of drivers like me as they’re working on updating rules to ensure there’s a way to access benefits and allow gig economy workers to continue to choose when, where, and for what companies we want to work. I don’t want to be a DoorDash employee. I want to Dash when I need to make my life work. I hope Colorado lawmakers let me keep doing that.

— Kesha Rencher, via [email protected] 

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Mike
3 months ago

I am sick of reading articles of drivers, merchants and columnists bitching about the gig delivery business. I have a few words of advice…

To drivers- You don’t like it? Stop. Part of the beauty of the gig job is you can stop at anytime, no muss-no fuss. You accepted this job knowing what it was-and is. The reality is, this is what being self employed is like. Don’t like it? You’re free to stop at anytime…with my blessing. Go to work at a company inside four walls and take breaks when they tell you. Clock in when they tell you. Wear the correct clothes on casual Fridays. Leave when they tell you. Want additional time for lunch? Better clear that with the boss.

Just sayin.

To merchants- Cost too much? STOP being a part of the platform. It’s simple. I was a restaurant owner and I can tell you that if these companies were as prolific then as they are today I would use each one. I would do what many of you aren’t doing. I would set aside a part of my restaurant for only gigs and move an employee or two over to just handle deliveries. I would work on growing that aspect of my business.

I would embrace the fact that I was part of a platform that had major brands advertising for ME. I would embrace the leverage that national companies advertising delivery via ads through different media buys, their own print, emblems on their doors and even on their to-go bags were bringing customers to a platform that I was a part of. I would realize what I tell customers when they complain about rising prices; that there is no free lunch, and that everything has a cost.

As a small business there is no way I could have ever dreamt of affording such exposure. I would realize that I was keeping my ovens burning, my lights on, employees on the clock, and writing rent checks as a normal function of doing business and that any dollar I brought in was helping to pay those costs and keep me from having to let employees go. It would stun me to have labor on demand without having to pay insurance (unemployment or delivery) or payroll taxes or having to put up with scheduling demands of bitching employees.

As a columnist- I would step back after my GrubHub order arrives at my home, where I’m writing my post on the “Critical State Of The Gig Employee!” and realize that these jobs are growing and no one is being forced to drive for these gig companies, order from these gig companies, sign on with these gig companies, or write ill informed stories about these companies.

I am a gig driver, and I make a damned good living doing it too. I can make as much money as possible and work as much as I want…or as little as I want. I work for multiple gigs at a time. I treat my work as my own business…because it is. I file taxes as a small business. I take tax deductions as a small business. I set my own schedule, and I am free to go anywhere I want in the city. I take a great deal of satisfaction in helping the elderly and infirmed get fed. I am fortunate to work for customers, of which 99% are happy and appreciative to see me. I have regular customers at restaurants that I enjoy seeing everyday…and some I don’t. The same goes for my delivery recipients.

This is a business that’s imperfect and still in it’s infancy and for whatever reason, people feel like they need to voice an opinion about a job they don’t like, find unconventional, don’t understand, or…all of the above. That’s fine…I just keep running my business.