How to Handle a Gig Work Slowdown

All signs may indicate a slowdown in gig worker demand in 2023, but hope isn’t lost! Even during slow periods, people are out and about, and they need rideshare and delivery drivers. How can you handle a slow period in your city? RSG contributor Tyler Philbrook shares his tips for dealing with a slowdown, including how to prepare, adapt and succeed. 

I love delivery driving; you can listen to the music or audiobook you want, you don’t have to make small talk with people, and you don’t have to worry about people in the back of your car.

However, if I’m not getting any delivery requests, it isn’t worth it to be out there for me. One of the worst times I know of is when Uber sends a message to all their Eats drivers saying, “It’s going to be busy in your area between 5 and 8 tonight; go online and make some money”.

When I see that message, I know not to go out during that time.

Why?

Because every time I have in the past, it’s dead because there are so many drivers on the road at that time that no one makes a lot.

If you’ve been driving for over a year, you know there are times during the year when it’s “dead” out there. One thing we’re starting to see now at RSG is a slowdown for drivers – there appear to be more drivers on the road, so earnings aren’t as high as they have been typically.

So, what can you do when a slowdown is happening in your city? How do you continue to make enough money, even when it’s slow?

How to Handle a Gig Work Slowdown

Drive For A Different Service

The easiest thing you can do is simply find another service to drive for, or at least something different with the same app.

For instance, try driving passengers if you’ve been delivering food only with Uber Eats. It may be scary to try something new, but it was likely scary the first time you picked up an Uber Eats order too.

Not sure how to get started driving for Uber? Here’s a quick tutorial: How To Use Uber Driver App

Picking an entirely different app is also a good option, and with so many out there, you have a lot to choose from. If you want to stick to delivery only, signing up for DoorDash, Grubhub, Instacart, DeliverThat, or any other food delivery service can help you find one that is busier.

Take a look at our best gig jobs list for even more ideas!

Multi App

The best way to ensure you’re making as much money as possible is to have more than one app running simultaneously. If you drive for three different services, turn them all on and accept the first one that goes off.

This will ensure you’re waiting as little as possible, help you make more money, and have less downtime.

When you’re about to finish the request you got, turn the other apps back on so they can start finding a request for you while you’re still working on this one.

It can be a bit cumbersome to start with, but once you get the hang of it, there really is no other way to get out there and make as much money as possible, even with more drivers on the road taking requests.

Whether or not you drive for Walmart Spark, our YouTube video on how to multi-app while driving Walmart Spark can help you out with tricks and tips: The BEST APPS To Multi-App When Driving Walmart Spark

Save Before The Slow Times Come

Though not a way to make more money while going through a slow time, the best way for it not to bother you is to have some money set aside for a time like this.

Having no savings is a scary, horrible thing, which is why we recommend that no matter if this is your full-time gig or just a side hustle, you set aside money into savings.

Not only will this help come tax time to pay any additional tax on your income, but it will help when you’re vehicle breaks down and, most importantly, when your area is oversaturated and you aren’t making as much as normal.

It’s not too early to start thinking about tax season! Check out our video for tax pointers here: Ultimate Tax Guide For DoorDash Lyft And Uber Drivers

One thing I like to do when it’s slow, and I have the money set aside, is to take a mini “vacation.” If I’m not making enough money for it to make sense anyway, then why not stay at home, maybe go out to eat with the wife, or do a day trip somewhere local?

If you need the money, use one of the other suggestions, but if you can, take a vacation and recharge your batteries because it will be busy again, and you’ll work more then.

Work On Your Plan B

When it’s slow in your area and you aren’t making enough money, this is a perfect time to work on your “Plan B.”

Using rideshare to help you get to something else is a great way to leverage work to make you more money and give you more time.

Learn all about creating a Plan B at our YouTube playlist called Life After Rideshare:

Years ago, I had an Amazon FBA business, which I was able to start by using the money I got from rideshare driving to purchase my first inventory.

Maybe you want to start a freelancing business doing marketing, VA work, writing, editing, or anything else. Use the slow time where you aren’t making money to learn more about it, send those pitches, and try to do something that moves your Plan B closer to your Plan A.

Even if that’s going back to school to get a degree and start a completely new job, now is the perfect time to study or find out where to go to get that education.

Don’t Let A Slow Time Slow You Down

When it’s slow, it’s frustrating, and depending on your reason for driving, catastrophic. Don’t let the slow down slow you down, though. Instead, take the time to use or learn a different app, find something else, or take a few days off to recharge.

Have you encountered a slowdown as a rideshare or delivery driver? How have you handled it?

-Tyler @ RSG