All right, Saturday!

I always look forward to driving for Caviar on a Saturday. At the work orientation for Postmates and Caviar, they told me that weekends are really busy. There is also little to no traffic on Saturdays and you don’t have to look hard for parking in busy areas.

For the past three weeks, I’ve been gathering data on my earnings and the amount of time I spent driving. On Saturdays I typically do two shifts, one around lunch and one during dinner time, and work between 6 to 8 hours.


Here is a table of how I’ve done on Saturdays for the last three weeks.

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My Thoughts

I made $100 each Saturday on average, which isn’t too bad. I don’t consider myself an expert courier just yet since it’s only been three weeks. I think there’s room for improvement as I’m still figuring out this city and ways to work smarter, not harder.

Caviar’s courier app keeps track of both “On Delivery” and “On Duty” hours. It’s important to understand the difference between them.   On Delivery is the total amount of time between when a delivery is accepted and when that delivery is completed. On Duty is the On Delivery time plus the amount of time you are waiting for an assignment from dispatch. Caviar defines this as the time when you have “voluntarily marked yourself available to perform deliveries, though you still have the ability to accept or reject orders.”

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Caviar advertises that couriers earn up to $25/hr.

This data provides a clearer picture of how much couriers can make on with Caviar. I’m personally making about $20-21 an hour (On Delivery). Caviar advertises that couriers can make up to $25 an hour. I believe they are using On Delivery data to come up with this number. If they are advertising their best performers, then they’re not exaggerating. I do believe the $25 an hour (On Delivery) is pretty realistic.

On Delivery wages per hour can be pretty consistent across shifts ($15.67 – $23.46 for me). However, the On Duty wages can vary by a lot. In my case, it varied from $6.56 to $19.42. The On Duty rate is what you’re really making per hour. It’s important to keep this in mind as a courier because it’s easy to think you’re making more money for your time than you really are.

Additionally, as you can see from the table, my earnings weren’t consistent from week to week even though I worked consistent shifts. My earnings actually declined from week to week. In fact, that’s the pattern. Each week I’m delivering less orders than the previous week and my On Duty wage declined. I registered the most On Duty hours (7.8) on the third Saturday and made less money than the previous two. This means I’m spending more time waiting around for an assignment each week.

I’m not the only one experiencing this. I speak to the other couriers (who have been with Caviar longer than me) when we get dispatched to the same restaurant. From my conversations with them, there seems to be a consensus that although the rate per hour you can make per delivery is stable, the volume of orders is declining. In other words, it’s been slow, which means couriers are spending more time waiting for a dispatch and they are becoming frustrated.

You may say that the number of couriers is increasing so there’s less orders to go around among them. This isn’t necessarily true. Caviar’s Portland courier roster isn’t bloated like Postmates’ fleet. Sure there’s limits to the number of couriers for a shift but this cap ranges depending on demand. Others can jump on but they won’t have priority for assignment.

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Couriers can see how many more couriers will make a shift optimal.

So I think the problem is that there’s not enough restaurants signed on to work with Caviar yet. At the moment, most of the restaurants are in Downtown, the Northwest and Pearl District, as well as the Buckman, Richmond, Alberta neighborhoods. Much of Portland east of Cesar Chavez Boulevard (39th Avenue) remains unexplored territory. If Caviar grows and more restaurants uses their platform, I expect this problem to be resolved. I hope that’s going to happen.