We are legion - The gig life

Reply Wed 5 Dec, 2018 09:46 am
Odd jobs, gigs, contract work, temp work, whatever you want to call it, we're all over.

Who else here does/has done this form of invisible, off the grid (as in not a regular full time thing), and has stories to tell?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 2 • Views: 653 • Replies: 20
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Region Philbis
Reply Wed 5 Dec, 2018 10:04 am

my first ever paycheck was taking photos for a Games magazine article about ultimate frisbee.

at the time they were owned by Playboy, so my pay stub had the bunny logo...
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Reply Wed 5 Dec, 2018 10:10 am
The one I started about three weeks ago has got to be the best one I've had in my life.

It involves about an hour and a half of my time a day, brings in $165 to $175ish a week (responsible for own taxes and write offs) and really centers my day. It also affords me the opportunity to get a micro view of how the larger world chooses to function in their day to day work environment.

I deliver group lunches.

I can sleep in, which is basically priority #1.

I get up at 9:30.
10:45 Get a text that my schedule for the day is ready.
Go on lunch services companys app and look at my schedule.
11:00 walk out the door. This is when I consider my day to begin. My 3 large insulated bags are in the car, and I carry a sharpie pen and a spare, a roll of scotch tape (learned that lesson with a spinach salad) and my phone with the GPS enabled.

From there I go to one to three restaurants, picking up a dozen to 25ish meals, mark off all meals on the app, then deliver to 2 to 4 (sometimes 5) business, and mark as delivered on same app. The people getting lunch get a text/email from the app their food is there.

90% of the time by 12:30 I'm done for the day.
For this I make $33 to $41 each day.

So now, I'm already dressed, up and out of the house (my biggest challenges) and can continue on with my other life stuff.

I get to see the insides of all sorts of businesses and see how some people are happy, and others are so totally miserable. See how consumers are overcharged for products because the corp office has to be so over the top. People don't seem to be any happier there.
See other places that are ordinary, even shop worn, but the people have a ready smile. Of course the reverse is true for both.

I love that I don't have to stay at any of them. I love that I can drive around, learning new things about the city I've lived in for over 20 years.

I love that it's a good way for a retired person can so easily do this.

This is a success story. There are others that didn't turn out so well.

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Reply Wed 5 Dec, 2018 10:47 am
Another favorite temporary gig.

Working at the call center of a large local florist in the days before Mothers Day.

This florist is well known in Austin, Freytags. It's family owned for 3 generations, and prides itself on its attention to detail.

Non stop calls during the week before MD.

About 12 of us manned the phones taking orders in a separate room right at the florist.

Before starting, we were taken on a tour of the place. Very impressive. The cold storage for arrangements was huge. Like a warehouse. The florists, about oh, 10 of them were intent of their work. No delivery van went out without Mr. Freytag personally taking a look inside, and he would not hesitate to pull something not up to his standards. Every day, his mother, who started the business with her husband out of their garage, would toddle in on her cane, look around to make sure everything was up to snuff.

Best order story.....

An anglo man called in an order for his Japanese wife.

He ordered something really elegant for her. I can still remember what he wanted on the card...

Good Mama!
Great Mama!
Wonderful Mama!

Then, he ordered for his MIL, who lived with them, something even MORE elegant. Don't remember the words, but it was to the effect that he was so greatful and honored to be able to present the mother of the love of his life with this small token of his respect and admiration.

This man knew how to maintain a happy home.

Then, he ordered another arrangement to his little girl, about 4, as she was the reason for the day. He said as long as it was purple, and had lots of butterflys.

I loved this guy.
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Reply Wed 5 Dec, 2018 01:18 pm
I was hired from my last one, so it's probably my best -- getting paid to write.
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Reply Wed 5 Dec, 2018 02:06 pm
One of the bad ones I had was for a weekend. I know I talked about it in a thread of Linkats. The thread was about some kind of internet scam invitation she or her daughter got.

Me a a couple other people were assigned through a temp agency to "pre screen" potential contestants for some kind of beauty pageant.

It was so sad.

The "screening" consisted of asking each of the literally hundreds of girls that showed up a handful of questions about why they wanted to enter a pageant. I mean really super basic stuff.

I'd say a good 50% of these girls (I think like 13 to 18 years old) were completely thrown out of their element being asked even this rudimentary question...why are you here today. Another 45% gave these bland, meaningless answers, (if they even gave anything beyond "I don't know, I just wanna", again, because they hadn't even thought it out that they were going to be asked anything.

No idea what they or their parents expected. Also, the vast majority of these girls were just completely average looking, nothing to make them stand out, no particular talent, just kids. There was nothing wrong with them per se, but completely unaware of what this all would involve.

I was after awhile, actually internally annoyed/angry at these parents that either brought or drug their kids there, like seriously dude? Your kid, she's just a girl, an average girl. Why are you putting her through this? They weren't doing their daughters any kindness.

It was like they were guppies being thrown to the sharks.
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Reply Wed 5 Dec, 2018 03:06 pm
In the Sixties, I often went to Manpower for temp jobs. My favorite was their office in Kansas City. I worked in the order department for Fuller Brush, among others. Once there was an empty building with all the twenty foot long three or four inch pipes cut loose, on two or three levels. We carried them out, about four of us. Most memorable was when I helped a man put together four twelve foot high rows of shelves in an empty warehouse. There were four or five of us and it took a few weeks to accomplish. I don't know why these metal shelves all fell down right after we completed the assembly. I was on top of the central row when they fell and I rode them down, without losing my balance. After all of these years not knowing why they collapsed, I now think those other guys only ran the screws up until they made contact. Must be they did not tighten any of them. The man in charge should have been checking, but I know he trusted us.
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Reply Wed 5 Dec, 2018 03:26 pm
Had a temp job when I was 17 through a government program for low income youths. Spent a few months as a church office assistant/gofer. It was an enjoyable experience and was to me at least, better than some of the temp (even perm) jobs a lot of others landed in.
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Reply Wed 5 Dec, 2018 03:44 pm
One of my temp jobs was melting lead for the Kansas City Star.
Reply Wed 5 Dec, 2018 05:27 pm
Melting lead. Now there’s a gig!

That shelving collapse sounded scary.

Oh. For several weeks did a job a group of us assembled and boxed up the packages for people that bought Cochella tickets. There were the wrist and parking badges, color coded, and other stuff. Pleasant because you could talk as long as you kept working.

Thinking about it, I guess I have worked full time in a “professional” capacity for I guess about 30 years in total. Jobs I was at for more than a decade or 5 years at a time. You know, the typical thing. I worked because I had to. I was the provider of health insurance.

I worked in between some office temp work, which always had this underlying stress. Office politics, always knowing you could be replaced. I remember this one place in particular. I absolutely Had to work at that time, and would be physically sick trying to get myself to get out of the car to go into the building. Everyone there had an agenda against everyone else. I begged the agency to let me get off that assignment. I know I could have just quit, but I told the agency that if I did that I knew they wouldn’t use me again. When they finally relieved me with someone else. They didn’t give me any other work anyway, so looking back, I should have just walked.

None of they oh, let’s say 5 or so places I could call a “real” job ever gave me as much satisfaction as working at a plastic mold I injection factory outside Milwaukee, or delivering lunches in Central Texas.
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Reply Wed 5 Dec, 2018 05:41 pm
Sometimes my temp jobs lead to full employment. I worked in the Manhattan Schrafts laundry for employees, and they hired me full time in the food service. I shredded huge blocks of Velveeta, bagged up corned beef briskets - I dropped one of those briskets on the floor and my supervisor sent it out anyway. "Because it would otherwise be fed to us in the cafeteria." Working there taught me the value of a union. Teamsters, it was. I took a day off and came in with a doctor's note, but I had already been fired. I mentioned the note to the union rep and was immediately rehired.
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Reply Thu 21 Mar, 2019 06:35 pm
God to be 19 again and have everything all figured out. Laughing

So I often cross paths with/wait for a minute or 2 with other people who either contract drive with the same company I do, or other companies like GrubHub, UberEats, etc.
Enough to chat, ask about each others day, etc.

The other drivers seem to be fairly evenly distributed between people like me, retired but looking for extra cash, college students, moms/dads with some free time in the middle of the day, and some misc.

Today I had one pickup and one delivery, a big order, 25 meals. When I parked I saw this young guy stop while I got my bags from the hatchback, and I suspected he was going to park behind me, and would also be a deliver driver. This is in an alleyway where the public generally doesn't go. I remember thinking "Jeez, he has plenty of space behind me, 3 cars to get in there, he's not going to hit me...whatever" When I turned around I did notice he was driving a Really beat up car. Like held together with twine. No shame in that, it's just part of my thoughts for later.

Anyway, this particular restaurant, which is pretty pricey, and who is usually very efficient, was really backed up. Mostly I think because I found out the other driver was also picking up 25 meals, for the same place. Plus there were all the other delivery drivers who were coming in to pick up meals in increments of 1, 2 or 3.

Lunch pickups are usually at 11:20 or 11:30, so it's before the lunch rush.

They said they were sorry, but the meals wouldn't all be out for 15 minutes. Hey, no problem. I even offered to help by prepping the fancy bags they use for take out, with the utencils/napkins, etc. Honestly, they really do up their take out nice and attractive. Both men and women often mention how good it looks when it arrives. They declined the offer, but expressed appreciation.

So, gonna sit with this dude for awhile. We started making small talk.
He said no, he wasn't a college student, had been doing this about a month, and was ready to leave because "this is stupid"

Me: Really? Why do you say it's stupid?

I only asked because the tone of his voice was so clearly saying "It's stupid, and anyone who does this is stupid"

Him: I'm only doing this to see how it works. I worked for (another company that does same for individuals) for a few weeks, and learned everything about them, and now I know everything I need to know about it. I own a company that's going to do this, so I needed to know how it works.

Me: Sure. It's smart to shop the competition. This company here seems to be really successful....sooo.....why do you think it's stupid?

Him: Well for one, you know how you usually pick up from like 2 restaurants? (me thinking: well yeah, 2, sometimes 3 sometimes 1)
Yesterday I picked up from the 2 places, and I had to deliver to THREE different businesses! (like this was abusive)

Me: So? Sometimes I've delivered to 5 or 6 different business. That's easy enough, they'll all be in the same area. (I'm not at that moment even thinking about the times I've finished my route, and then been texted to see if I want to pick up a 2nd route that day for a really decent bonus. I'm sure all kinds of problems go on behind the scenes)

Him: Yeah well the other day I was delivering in "my" area, and the 2nd delivery was all the way up on N. Lamar (like 5 miles - boo hoo) and it was for only ONE lunch.

Me: What difference does that make? You still got paid.

Him: But that's stupid. Why do they deliver to someplace for only ONE lunch? Plus, why didn't someone else go?

(Oh Christ, here we go)

Me: Well it's not like you can refuse to service someone because the order is small. Maybe the next day they'll order 10 meals. Maybe all the other drivers up that way already had a bunch of stops, and you only had one, so were available. I don't know. I know they use some kind of algorithm to assign drivers because no way could all this be done manually in the short turn around between the customers orders being due, and us being assigned (it's literally like minutes between the 2, dealing with hundreds of meals in that short time)

Him: Anyway, like now. Look at how those "girls" (grrrr) over there are both working to put all the meals in the bags, and everything.

Me: So what would they be doing otherwise? Staring into space?

Him: They could be taking care of customers.

Me: But the people who are getting this food are customers, and anyway, there's only 3 tables with people at them right now. It's filling up, and gonna be a little hairy in a few minutes, but they know what they're doing. Dealing with us they don't have to worry about customer complaints, or specific weird requests, or dealing with them in any way.

Him: Yeah, look at all the material they have to use making the lunches. All that stuff costs a lot of money. I bet they only profit 10% off all this.

Me: The material is an expense that written off. (me figuring quickly).....There has to be at least $750 worth of food there. If the end profit for the owner is 10%, the owner just made $75 for 15 minutes. Plus, that's food for 50 people. (looking around) There's about 12 tables in here, and now that it's filling up, I see most of them have 2 people at them. So 25 customers. It would take 2 turnovers for 50 meals, that would take well over an hour.
These restaurants love us.

He then objected to the restaurants "having" do this even if it's only for one meal, and they would be happier if it was for more.

Me: Well sure. But if you're going to do something like this. The restaurant runs all the numbers and decides if it's worth it for them, so they must be happy enough. I run a small business selling stuff out of my house, and sometimes I only profit $3 on an item. I don't care because those small amounts covers my expenses, so a bigger sale is that much more in my pocket, and it's the same trip to the post office. You can't reject a small profit, it goes into the whole.

Plus, there's other services like this, and they need to remain competitive. If they refused to use services, they'd lose customers, because people, if they were physically going out to eat, would more remember the place who has food delivered to them all the time.

Him: Well, it's stupid.

Me: Ok.

So, this kid with a POS car, no higher education, is going to be the next Michael Dell, I can tell.

Laughing Rolling Eyes

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Reply Mon 29 Jul, 2019 03:39 pm
I can't believe I've been doing this for almost 9 months now.

Still having a lot of fun, and the extra money is nice.

I think I'm going to add Grubhub to what I'm doing.

My understanding is you sign up for blocks of at least 2 hours. Doesn't matter if it's only 1 day.
I'm in the middle-ish on getting on board with them, so can't do any harm trying a day or 2 after I finish my regular route. I could sign up for like 1:30 to 3:30. Slow time, probably won't make much, but it would be fun to try. Especially if I'm already out there in my car.
Reply Thu 1 Aug, 2019 04:08 pm
Well I'm all set up to go. I scheduled myself for a couple hours on Monday.

I think I'll sign in over the weekend for an hour or so and pick up some off schedule deliveries to see how it goes.
Reply Sun 11 Aug, 2019 04:30 pm
Well I have to say I am not at all impressed with the way Grubhub runs their business.

My main gig with Lunchdrop is Mon-Fri, arrive at restaurant #1 for pickup at 11:20, and am done for the day 99% of the time by 12:45 or 12:50.
So $33 for about an hour and a half. So that's $22/hour
I track my own mileage and will write that off at the end of the year at .58 a mile. I drive an average of 20 miles a day so that's over $11 I can take off that $33 for tax purposes. Anyone doing this kind of work is a contract worker, responsible for their own taxes.
Plus, you get the occassional bonus of $6 to $12 for a heavy delivery and are sometimes asked if you want to do an extra delivery because something messed up with another driver. That's like $20 or $22 extra, but that's only once in a blue moon.
The dispatchers, who you deal with exclusively over text, are a really great bunch. They're friendly and professional at all times.
I was talking to another driver at a restaurant the other day, and he heard that Lunchdrop is taking over the Austin market for lunch deliveries for businesses. Isn't hard to see why.

Compare that with Grubhub.

First off, their pay structure ticks me off. I think it's deceptive, works to their advantage, and the drivers disadvantage.

The pay for deliver consists of a delivery charge, a tip that most customers pay via the app (of the 23 orders I've filled I've gotten 2 cash tips), AND mileage paid at only 24 cents a mile. The problem with that is that the only way I could deduct the different between the .58 and their .24 cents is if I itemize my deductions. I don't have enough deductions to itemize.

So, this results in GH getting that nice write off on their income, leaving the drivers to have to pay tax on something they should have been able to write off. Double whammy.
The best I can do is track the miles they pay me, and the miles I actually drive, and write off the miles for the difference. They measure their miles by a straight line between point A and point B, so every time I've worked I've driven an extra 6 to 10 miles, which I'm tracking.

In my market, it would be hard to get more than 2 deliveries done an hour. I've figured I average $8 a delivery so far, so that $16/hr. Not horrible for gig work I guess, but not great either. Plus wear and tear on your vehicle, potential for accidents, etc.

The main thing though is the driver support, which is IMNSHO, non existent.

From day one I experiene a couple of glitches in how I get notificatons of orders (Not getting the bell, which means a lot if you are driving and can't look at phone), and their navigation system is terrible.

I've sent multiple emails, and each time get the same "troubleshooting tips" which, duh, I had already tried before even contacting them. To this date, no solutions, so I'll just deal with it. I did tell them that I wasn't going to engage in unsafe driving just to see if I've gotten an order.

I think they are just too big a company to provide the support the drivers need, and at the same time, unwilling to spend the money to make it better, and too greedy to not take the money out of the pockets of the drivers.

I'm fortunate in that I decided to do this to more or less see how it works. It's not keeping me from putting food on the table.
I really feel for the drivers that are really depending on this income.

I personally would never do this at night. During the week most of the deliveries are to people at work, but on the weekends it's to their homes. Not my thing. I haven't ever felt unsafe, I just don't like finding apartments and houses back in neighborhoods.

I think I'll do this until the end of August, when I'm going away for a bit.
Will reevaluate when I get back.
Won't be giving up LD any time soon though. I actually feel a loyalty to them. GH though does nothing to make you want to work for them, beyond needing some fast cash.
Reply Sun 11 Aug, 2019 11:29 pm
I have wondered about Grub Hub and how they operate. Some of it may be different where you are. Clearly I am clueless on the contacting of delivery people aspect. Here in NYC, deliveries have been prompt for me. Only one time was there a problem. That turned out to be the restaurant itself which was at fault. In that instance, the food was awful as well. (had never tried that restaurant before and never will again).

The part of your post which bothers me, is, your pay scale. A personal question: do they give over the tips a customer includes when ordering?
I know another service (the name of which escapes me now) recently got into trouble for their handling of tips. They were giving a flat payment on all orders, included a $10.00 for the tip. Some customers give more when placing the order (especially with a large order). Normally, I place an order to cover 3 or 4 meals. Then comes the tip which is always more than $10.00. If Grub Hub isn't giving that to the delivery person, I'd rather do the tipping as cash at the delivery.
Reply Mon 12 Aug, 2019 02:16 pm
Oh no, not a personal question at all Sturgis.

I guess I'm a weirdo nerd, but I like learing how stuff like this works.

First explanation of pay will be for GH.
Yesterday, Sunday.
I had meant to sign up for 2 hours, but saw when my time was going to start that somehow I had signed up for 3 hours. Whatever.

Anyway, yesterday in those hours I got:
Delivery pay $27.85
Tips the customer put on the app $29.98
So I made a total of $57.83 for 7 deliveries, which translates to $8.26 per delivery.
Of course I would love it if more people just handed me the tip in cash. Right into my pocket. But I get that most people aren't thinking that way. Easier to just add to the order online.
First problem is I know I drove almost exactly 40 miles yesterday
When I added up the miles they paid me a crap 23 cents or something a mile, it added up to 34 miles. So, at tax time, I can only claim a 6 mile write of at .58 cents a mile, and I'm up the creek over the 34 miles. Yet GH will be writing that off their profits.

Let me be a big girl and keep track of my own miles thanks. I'll come out ahead.

The thing is, a lot/most people don't consider that.

For these 40 miles, I was all over, stopping at 7 different restaurants, then finding 7 different addresses.
Fortunately, between having lived here so long getting to the food pickup place is easy. The drop off point is a different story. Of course you use gps, but it's still a lot more stop and going, finding the entrance, finding the apartment, schlemping and schvitzing. Oy.

Oh....to get an order w/ GH, you get an alert on your phone there's an offer. You open it up and it basically says there a delivery where you get $9.72 and where the locations are. You either accept or reject it. So far offers have ranged from $5 something to $11 something. It averages overall around $8.
The 2 cash tips I've gotten were for $3 and $7.
Everything so far as been for mostly one, sometimes 2 meals.
GH tries to make it seem like you'll get all these extra benefits from accept all or almost all offers. But even having done this a short while, I don't see where it'll make much/any difference.
Funny. Just now I looked at the GH app, and because I had a 92% acceptance rate last week, I get 2nd access to scheduling instead of 3rd. That makes absolutley no difference to me. When I scheduled myself there was always plenty of openings for the time I wanted. Also, you get 2nd access to catering orders. Which yeah, that would be more money, but you know, I'm kinda "whatever".

Bottom line is, if you really had to depend of this 2nd income, or God forbid, as primary income, you would really have to hustle.

Of course the $$ amounts in NYC would be higher I would think.

Reply Mon 12 Aug, 2019 02:36 pm
Now on to Lunchdrop.

Here's what happened today. It was a good day.

Between 10:45 and 10:50 AM I get the days schedule.
It was an unusually light day, but I still get paid $33
I only had 1 restaurant.

Ususally, if I'm picking up from a particular place, it's almost a sure thing what the other restaurant will be, which will be less than a mile away, sometimes 2 block away.
If my first stop is Green Mesquite, the 2nd will be Chilantro
Changos? Next will be Poke Bowel
Crepe Crazy? Then I go to Phil's Ice House.

Only stop today was Crepe Crazy, which is 2 miles from my house. First scheduled restaurant is always at 11:20, so that when I consider my work day starting.
Oddly, I was only picking up 3 lunches, for 2 business.
A normal day is stopping at 2 restaurants, getting an average of 18 - 20 lunches, and delivering them to 2 or 3 business.

So it literally took me 3 minutes to get the food, mark on the app each persons name (name also on the food container) and out the door. I actually had to waste a little time, because I can't deliver before 11:45.

So I stopped at the post office that's on the way to my first business (Kendra Scott Corp) to mail my weekend ebay sales (netted $82, woot!)
Get there, say hi to the receptionist, drop off food in kitchen, mark as delivered so the employee gets a text saying their food is there, go to next place, about 5 blocks away. A bank.

11:50 am. I'm done. 30 minutes. $33.

So I go to text LD saying since I'm done do they need any help anywhere else?
As I'm texting in the bank lobby, they call me on the phone. This sandwich shop a mile away was running late and the driver had to leave. Could I pick up 12 subs and take to AMD for an extra $24?

So another 1/2 hour later I'm done, worked 1 hour, made $57, and can write off all my own miles which was about 15 miles total.
Oh, plus I netted $10 in sales on ebay while driving around.
Reply Mon 12 Aug, 2019 02:43 pm
Lunchdrop definitely is the better option.
Reply Mon 12 Aug, 2019 02:54 pm
Ya think? Laughing

Oh yeah, I really like them.

GH can kiss my fat white ass.

But, if I wasn't doing anything else, reading watching TV etc. might as well sign in a make a couple bucks.

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