Sunday 17 July 2022

Boredom 'Gig Economy' Job

As I don't have any tertiary studies at the moment (haven't applied to any other unis for a PhD candidature since WSU declined my application) and I haven't enrolled in the course I will need to do to qualify to sit the CFP exam, I decided to apply to become a Doordash delivery driver to do some part-time 'gig economy' work in my 'spare time'. I used to do some Ubereats deliveries (before the pandemic) and quite enjoyed driving around. Since I gave my old Ford Escape to DS1 as a 21st birthday present, I now only have the 2002 S-type Jag to drive around in (not that I've done much driving since I transitioned to working from home) and I only have limited km (10,000 pa) comprehensive insurance for that car (it was a lot cheaper than unlimited km coverage).

I applied to Doordash just before I came down with the 'flu, so only started driving yesterday evening for the first time. I did about 2.5 hrs from start to finish (a bit longer than the time I was logged into the DD app, as I had to drive home when I logged off) and earned $64.51 making 5 deliveries while logged in for 2hr 13 mins. Of course you have to allow for expenses (petrol and car running costs) and taxes, but it is still an OK casual job for time that I would be otherwise just spend sitting at home watching youtube or old movies on TV ;)

I didn't do another session today as I was feeling a bit 'off' after getting both my free 'flu vaccination and my 4th 'winter booster' for Covid yesterday afternoon (and I still have a slight cough from the 'flu I caught two weeks ago - probably a bit of a chest infection). I'll probably do another three-hour stint tomorrow night during the 6-9pm 'peak period'.

Using the Doordash App wasn't quite as intuitive as the UberEats App - you have to 'exit' out of the driving directions to see the pick and delivery details when arriving close to your destination - which made me park a bit further from the destination that I would have if I'd seen the street address while approaching the destination. And the delivery process also included taking a photo of where you left the delivery (although this may be a new requirement caused by most customers requesting their order be left at the door, rather than handed to them). I also only achieved 60% 'on time or early' rating, as the food wasn't ready to pick-up for 2 of the 5 locations (and apparently you can also get offered tasks after others have declined them, which means less time remaining when you accept the job). Overall the App was quite easy to use. Not sure about the 'scheduling' requirement though, as I currently have 'Top Dasher' status as a new driver for the first month (normally you have to have done 200+ deliveries and 100+ in the previous month, meeting various KPIs, to get 'Top Dasher' status. As a 'Top Dasher' you don't have to pre-schedule a time block to gain priority for available jobs, so you can just log in to 'Dash' at any time and should get some work (during peak times).

One nice feature of Doordash vs. UberEats is that you set a home location/area and the jobs will all be within that area (unless you choose to change area that you are logged in), so a sequence of jobs won't take you further and further away from your starting point (which sometimes happened when using UberEats, as it offers you jobs close to wherever your previous delivery took you).

One bad feature of Doordash is that the App seems a lot less mature and more 'buggy'. After my first session I had some Earnings accumulated, but the App required some 'additional information' before being able to make the weekly payment (due on Monday). I had to use to online 'chat' feature on my laptop to find out how to be able to enter my bank account details for payments (it required shutting down the App, uninstalling it, reinstalling it, and loggin back in before the 'bank details' icon would let me enter my details. The App's Earnings page is still showing that I need to etner more details -- although it then takes me to the banking details screen (which is now showing the bank account details I had entered). So I have no idea if I'll receive payment on Monday or will need to have another chat session with Doordash help...

I plan on doing up to three sessions (Fri, Sat and Sun nights) of 3 hours or so driving whenever I'm not busy (and it isn't raining!), and I expect to earn around $32/hr and travel around 54 km during a 3-hour session. I had previously logged my actual mileage, fuel and other vehicle expenses while doing UberEats deliveries and using my car for business use for my financial planning business, but it turned out that the pro-rata actual expenses method provided less of a deductible amount than simply using the ATO's standard 78c/km deduction for work-related car travel. So I will simply claim 78c/km for the mileage done doing Doordash deliveries.

I don't know how often I will actually end up doing evening deliveries, but the maximum would be 3x3-hr sessions (Fri,Sat,Sun) per week, and up to 50 weeks per year (allowing for a few rainy days where it isn't worth doing deliveries). So based on this maximum figure, the annual results might be:

Maximum 8,100 km pa = around $14,400 pa income

-$6,320 tax deduction for car expenses (at 78c/km)

= $8,080 taxable income, taxed at a marginal rate of perhaps 32.5c/$

= $2,630 additional income tax

Hence, maximum net income after taxes would be $11,770 if I do 3x3 hrs every week.

Petrol for my S-type Jag costs around 31c/km travelled, so fuel expenses would be $2,510 pa.

Hence, actual cash income (after tax and fuel) would be $9,260 (around $20.58 /hr).

I probably won't approach this maximum figure, but any amount will help fund the negative cashflow likely to result from my investment unit once I have settled at the end of this year and mortgage interest payments and expenses exceed rental income.

I'm also hoping to acquire some clients for my financial planning business this year, but but so far it has been a slow process to find any prospects or convert them into clients. I might start doing 'cold calling' of local residents for 3-hrs in the evenings that I'm not doing Doordash deliveries (the 'cold calling' regulations permit calls before 8pm on weekdays, so calling from 5-8pm Mon-Thu would be possible. I'm still working on extracting a listing of local phone numbers from the online 'white pages' phone directory and 'washing' it against the 'do not call' register. (DS1 wrote some software to automatically skim data for a list of surnames in local postcodes, but I need to get him to show me how to run it for myself as he wrote it in C# (my attempt in python didn't work) and I haven't used C# since I did my GradDipAppSc (Industrial Math & Computing) degree in 1995!

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