Why Are Domino’s Drivers Seen as Stoners and Uber Drivers Entrepreneurs? Domino’s is a Better Gig

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Why are pizza delivery drivers seen as stoners and Uber/Lyft drivers considered hustlers?

Now, this is anecdotal and definitely doesn’t represent a true break down of who works at each job, but from what I have gathered, being a pizza delivery driver comes with a negative, stoner — maybe even slacker — reputation.

Whereas the Uber drivers are the grinders, the entrepreneurs, the grad students, the artists and the side hustlers.

I say I’m going to work part-time as a pizza delivery driver and people — including my parents — laugh. But if I’m an Uber/Lyft driver, well, okay, that’s a good way to be productive.

Contrary to the reputation each has garnered, I’m starting to think that delivering pizza is a better gig than the companies that coined the phrase “gig economy” can offer.

For a Domino’s delivery, the money is no joke and you can work flexible hours, or full-time and collect the employment benefits that Uber has never offered its drivers, even those putting in 50+ hours per week, which was roughly 7 percent of its workforce in 2017.

No, Domino’s is not exactly like Uber because I do think you need to commit to a certain amount of hours per week for part-time work, but it does sound like they are fairly lenient.

“We offer a great flexible schedule that offers the hours you’re looking for. That means you’re free when you need to be,” read a recent Domino’s delivery driver job description. “You’ll have plenty of time left over for school, to hang with your friends or whatever. Even if you need a second job for some extra cash, Domino’s Pizza is the perfect place for you.”

Drive 10 hours a week and bring in $800 per month and cover rent? Sounds like a good deal to me.

The jobs website Indeed is filled with ads looking for Domino’s delivery drivers all over the country. In Boston, where I live, Domino’s is offering $15 per hour starting, plus tips, plus mileage reimbursement.

While Domino’s isn’t offering as much money everywhere, it certainly seems available in a number of markets the pizza chain operates in:

  • $18 to $20 per hour in Bee Cave, Texas
  • $12 to $20 per hour in Newport News Virginia
  • $12 to $15 an hour in Miami, Florida
  • Holy smokes, $26 to $30 in Seattle, Washington

On the Indeed listing for Boston, it says experienced drivers are earning over $22 per hour, including tip. That, according to my trusty cell phone calculator, is over $42,200 per year.

Unlike Uber, however, Domino’s offers those workers that wish to work full-time a legit full-time option.

The company offers a “Domino’s Pizza benefits package” — and I’m not talking Cinnatwists here — that typically includes a 401(k) retirement plan, medical, dental and vision coverage, basic life insurance and paid vacation, not to mention discounts on pizza.

Did you ever imagine that one day, a pizza delivery driver would be making $40,000 plus benefits? I mean paid vacation for delivering pizzas?

True, it may not have the best career upshot, and you can certainly make more elsewhere, but compared to other jobs in its sector, it is as solid as it comes.

Uber drivers are only raking in $9.21 in hourly wages, according to one report from earlier this year. Another report conducted recently in New York City said the median hourly wage was $14.25, but that’s New York City, where they sell an $18 cup of coffee, no joke.

And the median annual wage of those working in the fast food sector in 2017 was just over $21,000, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Unemployment in the U.S. was at a staggering low 3.7 percent in October, according to CNN. Once employment dips below full employment, which many consider the US to be at or below at this point, the power shifts from the employers to the employees.

While wages may not be rising as high as people would like, there is more choice in the job market, making a gig like a Domino’s delivery driver less appealing, and therefore harder to fill.

Yet, while people flock to Uber, there does not seem to be the same level of excitement for pizza delivery jobs.

While Uber reported having 750,000 drivers in the U.S. at the end of 2017, Domino’s seems desperate for drivers.

Several months ago, I saw a Domino’s near my apartment offering $500 bonuses to new hires (not sure of the requirements).

When many Papa Gino’s stores suddenly went out of business recently, local Domino’s restaurants in the Greater Boston area reached out to the laid off employees, according to the Boston Globe.

The chain said at the time that 115 locally owned locations were looking to hire 1,000 people throughout Greater Boston to fill various positions including customer service, delivery and management.

The stores were also offering a one-week Christmas pay bonus to any former Papa Gino’s employee who works at Domino’s for 45 days.

“When I heard about it, I felt that it just wasn’t fair that they had absolutely no notice,” David Jenks, owner of 29 Domino’s franchises in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, told the Globe. “I feel terrible about the fact that these guys are out of a job right before the holidays.”

That’s all well and good, David, but in reality, Domino’s was and is desperate for drivers, and the Papa Gino’s closing was a godsend.

The other night, my roommate and his girlfriend ordered a pizza for delivery from down the street — granted it was snowing — and it took them over 1.5 hours to get it.

In this day and age, probably due to its ties to one of the most innovative, game-changing tech companies in the world, driving for Uber seems to be a more acceptable and reputationally preferred way to make extra cash.

But it’s those delivery drivers that may be making the most dough… at least until driverless cars take everyone’s jobs.

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