Harry here. There’s no shortage of companies that you can work for in the on demand economy but Caviar is one that is expanding rapidly and hiring lots of new couriers. Today, RSG senior contributor Christian Perea shares ALL the details about Caviar pay from his first weekend of deliveries with Caviar. His results were pretty impressive so read on to find out how much he made!
Although I have years of experience as an Uber and Lyft driver, I decided to spend a weekend doing delivery with Caviar. It started off a little rough as I got used to delivery, but I quickly learned the ropes and ended up making some pretty good money, all while putting a lot fewer miles on my car and getting a new view of the city. So How much does Caviar pay?
I like to track how much I make per mile driven and, with Caviar, I actually made $3.26/mile on Saturday and $4.75/mile on Sunday. With rideshare, I have found that for every mile I put on my car in San Francisco, I make just $1.50-$2.40. This number is much lower outside of San Francisco, but it is a good way to measure how much you earn in comparison to how much you work. Caviar killed this metric during my test with them over the weekend.
There is a lot of opportunity for an Uber or Lyft driver to do delivery with Caviar, but I also found there is a learning curve. If you can master it, you will have another solid income stream for when rideshare is slow or when you simply want to switch things up a bit.
How Much Did I Make My First Weekend on Caviar?
I ended up earning $202.13 dollars over about 10 hours of delivery, plus $10 in cash tips. Overall, the hourly earnings were pretty consistent – coming out to about $20/hr. Sunday was my strongest day as I averaged over $22/hour despite this being my first time ever delivering.
Expenses Are Much Lower
I used a mileage tracking app to track the distance I drove on Saturday and Sunday and then multiplied the total distance driven by $0.40/mile to arrive at a rough approximation of my vehicle expenses. I found that I put far fewer miles on my car compared to rideshare and I saved money by not having to wash my car 😉
Dollars Earned Per Mile Driven Is Higher
One of my favorite things to do is take the money I earned for the night and divide it by the total miles I drove. This is a great way to measure efficiency of the the use of my car. The bigger this ratio is, the more money I am squeezing out of my car and the higher my margins of profit are.
Caviar delivery returned an impressive $3.88/mile average over the weekend, which was a clear result of not having to do any long distance trips. The miles can really add up on rideshare because you get more long distance trips where you are forced to drive deadhead miles back to a busy area.
You Won’t See Big Payouts Like On Uber/Lyft
Delivery is constricted by the size of the delivery area and the price multiplier will never go up to 2.0x+ like on Uber. So you won’t ever see a huge $60-$100 payout on a trip, but you also won’t have to put nearly as many miles on your car. The most important factor in your Caviar pay is going to revolve around the volume of orders you complete.
Saturday: $109.95 and 10 Trips
I got started at 3:51 pm and delivered in my car until 9:20 pm. So about 5 hours and 21 minutes not including a 30 minute break. In that time, I made $99.16 plus an additional $10 in cash tips.
I wouldn’t expect many tips on Caviar though because their app does not have a tipping feature. Still, I think you may be bound to run into some people who will tip nonetheless with cash. The most notable thing about Saturday was that I finally got into a stride doing deliveries for Caviar. I was less stressed about parking because I was beginning to learn when and where I could put my car.
Update 12/14/16: Caviar has now launched an in-app tipping feature for their couriers so you should expect to start seeing tips from customers as part of your Caviar pay.
I also began to receive orders from a lot of the same restaurants so I knew exactly where to go to put my car for 3 minutes when I went to pickup the order. Out of all the delivery services we’ve tested, Caviar seems to have the fastest pickup system. I never spent more than 3 minutes waiting for an order (with the exception of one order on Sunday) so there was very little wasted time.
This makes a tremendous difference in a dense city like San Francisco and it also gave me confidence that I wouldn’t be away from my car for too long.
On Saturday, I drove a total of 30.39 miles and earned a gross total of $99.16. This translated into $3.26 per mile driven in my car. But my $99.16 did not include the $10 cash tip I got since I figured this isn’t typical. Assuming my car costs $0.40/mile to operate, this translated into $16.41 in operations costs for the day. In real-time money, I spent a little less than $10 in gas to do deliveries in my car (it’s a V6).
Another thing I liked about my first weekend with Caviar is that I got to see the interior of a lot of the places I have spent the last two years driving my Uber/Lyft passengers to. A lot of the restaurants were cool places, and now I have some good date spots in the queue for the girlfriend. In particular, I found a spot called “Ice Cream Bar”, a bar that serves ice cream themed cocktails.
Sunday: Busiest Day, $102.96 over over 10 trips.
Like Caviar told us in the orientation, Sunday was definitely the busiest day of the week and I never went more than a few minutes of being logged into the app without getting an order. On top of that, there was a lot of bonus pay available throughout the day to increase the order payouts. And parking was a lot easier too 🙂
On Sunday I got a little more strategic with my orders and targeted the times with the most “bonus” pay by logging out ten minutes early and moving closer to a restaurant dense area (the Mission district) so I could log in once the bonus pay kicked in. The first order I got was only $6 so I strategically declined it and waited for a larger order. The next one was a little over $20 to deliver some pizza a few minutes later. Perfecting this strategy will increase your Caviar pay.
I actually logged fewer hours on Sunday than I did the day before, but made more money in the process. My earnings for Sunday came out to $22.38/hr, but I did take a few breaks that I didn’t count below.
I ended the weekend of delivery at around 9:30 pm on Sunday after making a few hundred extra bucks and slept great from all the extra physical activity.
It Will Takes a Few Days To Get Used To Delivery
The first few days with Caviar felt similar to being a new Uber driver. There aren’t many independent resources online that talk about the experience and little nuances of delivery (but now there will be this article!) so it will take some practice.
But if you are an Uber or Lyft driver, you already know about 70% of the basics. Things like navigation, knowing neighborhoods, using a smartphone to make money, all that fun stuff should be no problem with Caviar.
The other 30% involves the art of parking and the art of hacking gate codes like it’s a video game. It also involves figuring out how to optimize your earnings under a new model and getting used to more physical activity since we all know how easy it is to remain sedentary as a rideshare driver.
Parking & Leaving Your Car Is A Little Stressful At First
As a rideshare driver, I am used to being in my car the whole time. If a meter maid comes I can take off before they grab my license plate or boot my car. I also don’t like to be “that guy” who selfishly blocks traffic for 150 people because Bobby was too lazy to leave his house for Pad Thai.
With Caviar, it feels kind of weird to constantly leave my car, and it took a day or so to stop worrying about what would happen every time I left my car to pickup or drop-off an order. But I got used to it and after talking with other drivers, I know I’m not alone in this anxiety.
After my first day, I began to approach the parking problem much more systematically. I got used to hunting for spots or getting creative without having to block traffic a single time (IN SAN FRANCISCO!). So, like anything else, it just takes a day or so to get used to. There are also a few features built into the Caviar platform that help out a lot:
- Fast Order Pickup: You walk in. Give an order number. Person hands you a bag. Make sure it’s the right stuff. Back to car. It takes 2-3 minutes. When Caviar told me they “had the best system for pickups” I honestly thought it was just a marketing pitch. But based off my experience, it’s true and you will REALLY appreciate it if you have delivered for Postmates or DoorDash before. I only had one “late” order over the weekend.
- Ticket Reimbursement Program: Caviar will reimburse 1 parking ticket for every 100 deliveries you complete. Check which ones they reimburse for and strategize around that.
- Popular Restaurants: Parking becomes easier as you do more deliveries and you know where you can or cannot park.
So combining the skill of creative parking, fast order pickup, and ticket reimbursement, you have three things that make things less stressful on the parking side.
Car vs. Scooter/Motorcycle For Caviar Delivery
Using a scooter or motorcycle for delivery will allow you to complete orders faster. If you decide to seriously pursue delivery, I would recommend ditching the car. This mode of transportation will allow you to do more orders per hour, and thus increase earnings. Scooters, bicycles, and motorcycles are also less money than a car.
Delivery is all about orders completed per hour. If you can nullify traffic and parking in a dense city, it will make a huge difference. Just make sure that your scooter or motorcycle is setup to handle larger loads so you are not limited to small orders.
How To Maximize Your Caviar Pay
I figured out over the weekend that the big factors to maximize earnings revolves around a few key points:
- Best Times To Drive: The best times to deliver were in the evening when people got home from work and didn’t want to cook. That is pretty predictable. However, other busy times like Sunday revolved around when people were most likely to “stay in” instead of “go out”. Caviar actually offered 70% premiums on orders made during the presidential debate on Sunday.
- Order Value: It’s important to not accept every single order that comes your way. Analyze how far you will go for the pickup, how easy it will be to pick up the food, and the neighborhood where it will go. This becomes extremely important in a car because you can spend an hour sitting in traffic to earn $5 and some change if you do not plan properly, which leads to the next factor.
- Order Completion Time: This is one of the most important factor in what Caviar will pay you. Try to accept orders that will not take too long to complete. If you know you are going to circle for parking at one restaurant for 20 minutes then you may want to pass up the order. On the other side, if you get a smaller order for $6-$7 that you know will take only 15 minutes, then it’s smart to take that order. Furthermore, if you decide to do delivery full-time then it’s probably smart to get a bike, scooter, or motorcycle to minimize traffic and parking.
- Bonus Timing Strategy: Caviar sets up bonus pay in half hour increments. I found that if I completed an order at 4:25PM and the bonus for that block was only 15% compared to 50% for the next block, it was best to log out of the app and spend that time positioning myself close to a popular order area like the Mission District. I would then login to get the 50% requests instead of risking getting a 15% request at 4:29.
- Restaurant/Door Efficiency: Familiarize yourself with the most popular restaurants and gate code systems. As this improves, you should spend less time at pickup and drop-off and thus be able to complete more deliveries per/hour.
- Stackable “Milestone” Bonuses: Sometimes Caviar will offer an extra dollar amount for every 3-4 deliveries you do. These bonuses are stackable and reward you for volume, so target these times for many quick deliveries. This will increase your Caviar pay.
You are not going to see huge surge rides on Caviar and no single order is going to make you $100. But that being said, Caviar pay is VERY consistent because the markets are smaller and tighter, meaning you stay in the same area and waste very few miles in comparison to rideshare.
Caviar delivery is going to be all about the margins of profit. Startup costs are very low (you can get a gas scooter for $1,000) so your operating costs are going to be very small. And in general, delivery is all about the volume of orders you can complete. So if you are an Uber or Lyft driver, you should signup if you want to switch up your routine, worry less about car repairs, or get some exercise while you get your extra cheddar on the weekend.
You can signup to be a Caviar Courier using our link here.
Are you a delivery pro? Let me know what I can do better in the comments section below!
-Christian @ RSG
Make Every Mile CountDid you know that every 1,000 business miles can generate $540 in tax deductions? Never miss another mile with the new QuickBooks Self-Employed automatic mileage tracker.
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