Completing deliveries is a gig that has been around for a while, but really started to boom with the pandemic. According to Supermarket News, a website all about the grocery and supermarket space, “45% of consumers report shopping online for groceries more now than before the pandemic” and this trend is not going away any time soon.
While many apps already provided grocery delivery (i.e. Instacart), what are the big players, like Walmart, doing to address this increase in online demand? Walmart pivoted to cater to that demand. Their answer is Spark Delivery.
What is Walmart Spark Driver?
Spark is a delivery service platform where drivers are hired as independent contractors, who can choose their hours and batches, to delivery groceries and other products. Spark delivery is available in more than 600 cities across the U.S.
While customers place orders via the Walmart Spark app, Spark delivery drivers are processed via a third-party called Delivery Drivers, Inc. (DDI), which processes driver screenings, background checks, payments and more. If you see messages from DDI once you’ve started delivering on Spark Driver, that’s who they are!
In some cases, the drivers will be responsible for shopping and delivering the order, but in most cases, the driver will go to a designated pickup spot, have the items loaded into their vehicle and then deliver them to the customer’s delivery address.
Spark delivery drivers can deliver anything from groceries to Dotcom orders, which are “general merchandise, non-grocery products” like shampoo, cleaning supplies and more.
Walmart Spark Driver Application Process
First, find out if Spark is in your area on the Join Spark Driver page of the website. If it is available in your area, you can sign up to drive. You’ll need to scroll through the list of cities and states, then choose your region before signing up.
Once you choose your delivery location, you’ll be able to fill out a basic form to get started.
Spark Driver Requirements
Requirements may vary by location, but for the most part, to become a Walmart Spark driver, you’ll need:
- to be 18 years or older
- have a reliable vehicle (you cannot use motorcycles or ebikes to deliver with Spark Delivery)
- have proof of auto insurance
Once you fill out the form you’ll receive an email from Delivery Drivers, Inc (DDI) to log into their portal and fill out more paperwork so they can get your background check started.
The background check will likely take 2-7 business days, but may take longer. You’ll receive updates from DDI throughout the approval process. If you have any questions throughout your onboarding process, you can contact DDI via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
After you’re onboarded, you can download the app to get started with your first delivery. The app is available on both iOS and Android mobile devices.
Types of Spark Driver Deliveries & Completing Spark Deliveries
When you’re ready to start receiving delivery requests, you simply go onto the app and switch on “Spark Now” to start receiving requests. Each offer will provide the information you need to determine if it’s a job you want to take or if you’ll pass.
It includes the estimated minimum payment, pickup and delivery timeframe, locations, and in some markets, the tip amount.
You can only go online during the delivery hours of the store(s) in your market.
There are three types of Spark Driver delivery orders you could make:
- Curbside orders – simply arrive, check in at a reserved curbside parking space, and wait for a Walmart associate to load the order into your vehicle.
- Dotcom orders – These are orders that are non-grocery, like cleaning supplies, home and beauty, etc. You will pick these up inside the store.
- Express deliveries – This delivery option allows customers to receive their grocery orders in two hours or less. You will pick these orders up inside the store.
Here are the different delivery types you may come across within the app:
- Round Robin: Round-Robin offers are those that are sent directly to an individual driver based on a combination of factors, such as proximity and metrics.
- First Come, First Serve: This type of offer is broadcast to all available drivers in a particular zone. Typically, these offers are sent closer to the scheduled pick-up time than Round Robin offers.
- Surge: In certain situations when order volume is high and driver supply is low, you may see offers sent with higher earnings – “Surge Pricing” – to help incentivize available drivers to accept.
Wondering about how big orders could be? Don’t worry – you’ll know what to plan for based on Spark delivery’s order size chart:
Spark Driver Reviews
To dive deeper into how Spark delivery works and what drivers think, we interviewed three drivers who have been using the app for at least the last few months in their markets.
Jeff from Colorado Springs has been driving with Spark for about 6 months. His advice for anyone looking to try out Spark is to have patience.
“At the start, it was kind of rough,” said Jeff. “The stores were staffed to get the packages out and I would have to wait 30-45 minutes at pickup.”
Once the stores in his area staffed up and got the hang of it, Jeff says he hasn’t had any complaints. He’s a multi-apper and uses Amazon Flex, Veho and Roadie to help supplement the slower times. Jeff mostly uses Spark when they have good bonuses available.
For instance, he’s come across bonuses where you’ll get an extra $100 if you complete 5 deliveries that day. He also looks out for per trip bonuses that’ll add an extra $3-7 onto each order he completes.
While Spark is more than just Walmart in his market, Jeff likes to stick with the smaller neighborhood Walmarts as opposed to Home Depot or Sam’s Club.
Jeff also mentioned that in his market, during the week is better because there are fewer drivers out there and the stores tend to get backed up on the weekends due to too many orders.
Michele in South Carolina usually averages about $250-$300 per week with 8-hour days.
She did mention that Thanksgiving and Christmas were actually very slow times for her, but it picked up after those holidays with the week of Jan 3-Jan 10 being the busiest she’s ever seen the app.
Michele also advised patience, “Be patient. When I first started, the earnings weren’t that great, but they get better.”
And we also have Laura from New Orleans.
Laura has driven for Lyft in the past and has been driving for Spark since the end of April 2021. “You don’t make as much as you would with Lyft, but you don’t have passengers in your vehicle and having to deal with that,” she said.
Laura mentioned that there has been an uptick in carjackings in the New Orleans area and that rideshare drivers seem to be a target, so that’s another reason she switched gears and tried out Spark.
While she’s on the Spark app, she tries to wait for orders that will earn her about $18-20 per order. Laura also takes double orders often. “That way you get your base pay and two tips,” she explained.
One thing she loves about Spark is that you can see where you’re going on the app before accepting the order. So, if you don’t want to go that far away, you can move on to the next order without issue.
Laura recommends getting to know the stores that are on the app. “You get to know which stores have their orders out on time and those that don’t,” she said. “If you go there a few times and they are not on time, that’s probably typical.”
She even said she contacted support once to complain about a particular store in her area that would have her waiting up to an hour each time. It was removed from her app so she stopped getting requests from that location.
Spark Driver Pay: How Much Do Spark Drivers Make?
According to drivers we spoke to, Spark delivery drivers can make $15-20 per delivery, depending on the type of order and where you drive. If your market has several Walmarts participating in Spark delivery (not every Walmart participates!) and many people in your city use Spark, you’ll be busier than a smaller market with fewer Walmarts and/or orders.
How are Spark driver earnings calculated? As with other app-delivery services, pay isn’t clear-cut.
According to Spark’s FAQ, driver earnings are calculated “based on a variety of factors, such as distance traveled, delays encountered at pick-up, order size, complexities at the delivery drop-off location, and so forth.”
Spark drivers are paid every Tuesday via their Branch app.
Spark Driver Promotions and Incentives
Spark drivers can also earn incentives to boost their earnings, including:
- Lump-Sum Incentives – This baseline incentive type offers eligible drivers one defined bonus payment for completing a set number of trips.
Example: Complete ten trips between X/XX – X/XX and earn an extra $30.
- Guaranteed Earnings Incentives – If eligible drivers do not earn a set amount of earnings after completing a certain number of trips, Spark Driver will pay the difference, making the established earning amount guaranteed.
Example: Make $300 guaranteed as a new driver by completing 15-trips within the first seven days.
- Tiered Incentives – Tiered incentives include a series of Lump Sum incentives presented in increasing tiers, providing a higher total earning opportunity for each subsequent tier.
Example: Complete four trips to earn an extra $20, six trips to earn an extra $20, or eight trips to earn an additional $35.
- Pay-Per-Trip Incentives – Simply put, this incentive provides an extra earnings amount upon completion of a single trip.
Example: Earn an extra $5 for each trip completed after 4pm today.
Spark Driver Tips
Spark delivery drivers can accept tips. Drivers will see pre-delivery tips listed in the Earnings tab of the Spark Driver App 48 hours after delivery.
Customers can make edits to their pre-delivery tip up to 48 hours after the delivery is completed. Spark delivery drivers keep 100% of their tips.
Should You Sign Up and Deliver with Walmart Spark?
If Spark is available in your area, check it out as another app to help fill in your gaps. Just keep in mind, if it’s new to the area or new to the specific store, it might take time for the store to understand how to keep up with the demand.
Have you tried Spark delivery yet? What do you think of it?
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