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Deliveroo says its top rider earned S$7,095 in March, but other riders sceptical

SINGAPORE — Food delivery platform Deliveroo revealed on Monday (April 20) that its top-earning rider raked in S$7,095 in March, “demonstrating the earning potential” of the job, but riders who spoke to TODAY said this figure would be near impossible to achieve, especially as more and more people are turning to delivery gigs amid a tough economic landscape.

Deliveroo says its top rider earned S$7,095 in March, but other riders sceptical

Food delivery platform Deliveroo revealed on Monday (April 20) that its top-earning rider raked in S$7,095 in March 2020.

SINGAPORE — Food delivery platform Deliveroo revealed on Monday (April 20) that its top-earning rider raked in S$7,095 in March, “demonstrating the earning potential” of the job, but riders who spoke to TODAY said this figure would be near impossible to achieve, especially as more and more people are turning to delivery gigs amid a tough economic landscape.

Deliveroo said in its press statement that it had received a record number of nearly 5,000 rider applications in the first quarter of the year, and 1,000 riders were added to its fleet in those three months. 

And more than 1,000 riders have been added to the fleet this month so far, it added.

The company said: “At the same time, the company is also closely monitoring rider figures to avoid an oversupply of riders and protect rider earnings. In March, the highest amount a rider earned was S$7,095, demonstrating the earning potential of being a Deliveroo rider in Singapore.”

When asked for more details on how many hours and days the top earner had worked, Deliveroo said: “Deliveroo's fully flexible fee-per-delivery-payment model means that riders choose when they ride, can work with other companies — including competitors — at the same time as they are riding with Deliveroo, and can decide how often they work with Deliveroo, even having the option to cancel right up (to) the last minute if they wish.”

The company added that its riders earn an average of S$17 hourly, but that “this really varies from rider to rider given their flexible work schedules”.

Deliveroo disclosed these details amid growing concern about the earnings of delivery riders during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Riders told TODAY last week that they fear their incomes could be squeezed even more as the pool of delivery crew expands and food-and-beverage outlets campaign to pay lower commissions to delivery firms.

In response to queries from TODAY about how much its top earner makes, a Foodpanda spokesperson said: “While there have not been many changes in the average earnings per Foodpanda rider, we noticed similar high earnings by Foodpanda riders in the last month.” 

The company added that its riders earn S$7.50 per delivery on average. 

Grab said its GrabFood delivery partners are self-employed individuals who have the full flexibility on when, where and how they would like to work on the platform. 

“Their earnings vary and are dependent on these and more factors,” it added. 

UNLIKELY THEN, IMPOSSIBLE NOW

Deliveroo riders who spoke to TODAY said that while it might have been possible — though extremely unlikely — for a rider to earn as much as S$7,000 in March, it would be virtually impossible to do so now, with so many more riders in the pool.

A full-time Deliveroo rider, who wanted to be known only as Jax, said that he has been competing with more riders in his delivery area recently, especially after the circuit breaker kicked in on April 7.

“(Before the pandemic), when there were 100 orders for that area, you would only have 20 to 30 riders maximum, which made it possible to earn more,” said Jax, 35. “Now, we have 100 orders, but with (what feels like) 150 riders at least competing for them.” 

Though Jax works 12-hour days and takes only the occasional rest day, he estimates that he earned S$2,500 in March at most. 

This month so far, he can make over S$100 on his best days, but on bad days, he brings home only about S$50 to S$70. 

“S$7,000 divided by 30 days means that the rider was bringing home at least S$250 a day,” he said of the top earner. “I work almost every day and I could never earn S$7,000, especially not this month.” 

Other riders said they have seen their earnings fall by 20 to 40 per cent this month. 

One, who wanted to be known only as Mr Zhang, said that his earnings have dropped by 20 per cent since the circuit breaker started. 

Though the amount he earns in a single order has remained the same, the 37-year-old now makes about 10 deliveries a day, down from the usual 15. 

“There are more riders now and the window for earning has lessened,” he said. “I work from 11am, and by 12.30pm, I notice people have stopped ordering.” 

Agreeing, Ms Faith Wu, a part-time Deliveroo rider, said her earnings have likewise fallen by about 20 per cent. She works about 30 hours a week, and earns S$800 to S$900 a month on her delivery gigs now, as opposed to about S$1,000 in March. 

She added that a full-time rider — someone who works eight or nine hours daily — is likely to pull in about S$2,000.

Though most riders were sceptical about being able to earn S$7,000 a month, some said that it was possible, with hard work and a touch of luck.  

Part-time Deliveroo rider Abdul Rashid, who works 10- to 12-hour days to support his wife and daughter, is no stranger to slogging it out. But despite his best efforts juggling several delivery stints, he has been able to rake in only a maximum of S$4,000 in a month. 

“He or she must start delivering early in the morning, from about 8am, till midnight,” the 30-year-old said. “And yes, it will be very, very tiring… even I myself cannot do that much.” 

Besides sheer hard work, some luck must also come into play for such a “rare incident” to happen, said Ms Wu, the part-time Deliveroo rider. She noted that many factors, such as traffic and the nature of the deliveries, matter in determining a rider’s takings.

“Some of the riders are assigned stack orders (combined orders from different customers from the same merchant) very frequently and so they can dispatch two to three orders from the same restaurant (and earn more),” she said. 

With the roads much less congested now, she added that a lucky rider could also earn more in incentives, as he or she would be able to make speedier deliveries and squeeze in more deliveries in a day.

Even so, she added: “S$3,000 to S$5,000 is more credible and would apply to more people. (Earning S$7,000) is like striking the lottery.”

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Deliveroo food delivery Covid-19 coronavirus

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