Survey Reveals Gig Economy Drivers’ Motivations, Earnings and Preferred Platforms

Just 27% of respondents said that driving in the gig economy was usually their main source of income.

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Almost three quarters of delivery and rideshare drivers are using the gig economy as a flexible way to earn additional income, according to survey data released by crowdsourced delivery app Roadie, which has a community of more than 150,000 verified drivers covering 89% of U.S. households. 

The survey, conducted in August 2020, provides insights about drivers who use the Roadie app, many of whom also drive with other gig-economy companies. 73% of respondents said they participate in the gig economy to earn extra cash in a way that fits around their lifestyle. Specific reasons included:

  1. Supplementing my main income (31%)
  2. Earning “fun” money (18%)
  3. Transitioning between jobs (7%)
  4. Having special needs (6%)
  5. Paying off an unplanned expense (5%) 
  6. Making money around a school schedule (4%)
  7. Other (2%)

Just 27% of respondents said that driving in the gig economy was usually their main source of income. 

Because the gig economy was a supplementary lifestyle choice for most drivers, a strong majority (78%) said their average weekly earnings from all gig-economy platforms combined were less than $550, including  51% who earned less than $250.

“Roadie drivers have many different reasons for participating in the gig economy,” said Roadie Founder and CEO Marc Gorlin. “They want to be in the driver’s seat, deciding when, where and how they drive. Because users can pick and choose which deliveries they want to bid on, they can make sure they’re getting good value for their time. That’s what we love about the gig economy — you can walk dogs on Monday, deliver a drill on Tuesday, then stay home to help your kids with schoolwork on Wednesday.”

Aside from earnings, drivers ranked freedom, flexibility and an easy-to-use app as the most important factors when deciding to drive with a delivery or rideshare app: 

  1. Ability to choose when and where I drive (67%)
  2. Flexibility to meet my schedule (61%)
  3. Easy-to-use app (33%)
  4. Access to customer support (23%)
  5. Personal safety (20%)
  6. Ongoing app improvements (18%)
  7. Company reputation (10%)

The survey found COVID-19 has led to increased participation in the gig economy, with drivers more likely to be carrying deliveries than people. 42% of survey respondents said they’ve used the Roadie app more since the pandemic began. 38% hadn’t changed their driving habits and 20% were driving less.

Of all the delivery or rideshare platforms from which drivers on Roadie’s marketplace had received payment in the previous 90 days, four of the top five most-used apps were delivery apps, not rideshare: 

  1. Roadie (used by 90% of respondents)
  2. DoorDash (36%)
  3. Instacart (24%)
  4. Postmates (21%) 
  5. Uber (17%)  

Of the 10 delivery or rideshare apps used most often by survey respondents, Shipt, Roadie and Amazon Flex had the highest driver satisfaction ratings: 

  1. Shipt (78% of users “Extremely satisfied” or “Somewhat satisfied”)
  2. Roadie (76%)
  3. Amazon Flex (76%)
  4. Instacart (69%)
  5. Uber (67%)
  6. DoorDash (61%)
  7. Uber Eats (60%)
  8. Lyft (57%)
  9. Point Pickup (44%)
  10. Postmates (38%) 
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