What type of driver are you? If you’ve never thought about it before, you might be a Grinder, or a Road Warrior – or maybe even a hybrid! RSG contributor Jeffrey Fike shares the different types of drivers and driving strategies out there, their strengths and weaknesses, and which type you should strive for to earn the most.
As delivery drivers, we each have our own driving style, or strategy. We may have arrived at it through years of trial and error, revision and perfection, stumbled across accidentally, watched some YouTuber expound on their profitable exploits, or even read about a strategic theme here on The Rideshare Guy.
It’s important to have an underlying strategy when driving, whether rideshare or delivery. These tools help guide us on our journey, hopefully limiting downside risk and elevating profit. Most work and work well, and that is why so many drivers stick with one style.
- There are many different types of drivers out there, as different as all of the gig jobs that exist
- From Number Snobs to Grinders, everyone has a unique style – but there’s one that will benefit almost all drivers, from rideshare to delivery
- The key is to be aware of changes to the app and market – don’t stay loyal to one app!
Different Types of Drivers
While every driver differs in a slight way, there are three major types of drivers: Road Warriors, Grinders, Promo Chasers, Weekend Warriors, Before/After Work Warriors, Number Snobs, and Opportunistic.
Below, we’ll explore these different types of drivers, their strengths and weaknesses, plus I’ll share which style I think is the best (it might surprise you!)
How do I know about all these types of drivers? I’m an admin in a driver group of several hundred drivers, all who share their tips, strategies, and complaints. My experience with these drivers is both personal (as a driver) and based on what I’ve learned from fellow drivers.
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Surely you’ve met some drivers, maybe you’re even one, who are utterly convinced (usually for good reason) that the market they are in sucks. It’s dead, order volume and dollar amount are minuscule, miles are high, and tips are lower than low.
These drivers venture out, usually to bigger or more specialized markets (college towns, entertainment districts, haute couture neighborhoods), in search of more business, bigger tips, and a fatter paycheck.
The smarter ones often strike gold and find a honey pot they can go back to time after time. But these road warriors are limiting their income, while depleting their resources in terms of additional miles driven and time spent.
Almost without doubt, you’ve either met or been the driver that takes every request, no matter how small the estimated earnings, no matter how distant the pickup or dropoff, regardless of traffic, weather, or any other factor.
These drivers often use the term “It all evens out” or “As long as I meet my goals (bills)” etc. They drive doggedly, nearly everyday for long hours, for what amounts to just a few dollars an hour or pennies per mile driven.
These Grinders usually fizzle out quickly, or destroy their vehicle in short order. They do incalculable damage to the delivery ecosystem, filling orders that would take hours to find a driver in just minutes, and occasionally running into a nice paying short trip as a bonus.
Many of us may have started out as a Grinder, and in fact I recommend “grinding” for a few shifts to get to know your market and your style. But day after day, week after week, month after month, it’s untenable as a long-term strategy, though some persist for months, even years.
There are those drivers who know every promotion in every nearby market, which might be the easiest or quickest to complete, and which might be the most lucrative.
These Promo Chasers frequently have bling-worthy paydays, and most likely will be able to tell you exactly what they made per hour that one amazing night last summer when (fill in the blank).
Promo Chasers will only deliver when the timing is right, when the incentives have stacked up high enough and tipped the scale.
While Promo Chasers often do have great weeks, just as often they may have weeks with no earnings at all, or weeks with disappointing earnings due to not meeting the promo requirements, or not meeting them often enough.
Weekend, After and Before Work Warriors
Perhaps the most common type of delivery driver is the Weekend Warrior. They work all week at another job, and when Friday comes, it’s time to start the delivery train back up.
Usually, the Weekend Warriors will be less focused on promos (they’ve only got a few days, and certain hours in most cases), and less likely to head out on a long road trip.
Their overall approach will vary from driver to driver but tends to lean towards Grinder level. Variants include the After Work or Before Work Warrior, their strategies are self-evident. Some will hone their skills and continue, but many will only be here a few months.
Less common, but growing in numbers the past several years, are the Number Snobs. This is, at least recently, the faction I myself most often and most closely personally identify with.
The Number Snob says “I won’t take any orders less than X dollars, X miles to pick up, X total miles, X dollars per mile” ad nauseum. I get so tired of myself sometimes.
The Number Snobs sometimes resemble at first glance Promo Chaser, and promotions may be involved, but are not necessary. Their acceptance rates are normally super-low, sometimes in the single digits percentages.
Many Number Snobs have arrived at this position through cycling through the other driving styles and becoming fed up with the inefficiencies or perceived underpayment for time and effort. Though seemingly holier than thou and good with (what else?) numbers, their driving style also falls short of their desired perfection.
Downtime and low average dollar pings shoot holes in this strategy.
One final style is a bit more utilitarian, and suffers fewer of the downfalls of the other types of drivers: the Opportunistic driver.
This driver is always hustling, always checking the app, whether at work, home, out running errands, even on vacation, or at special events. The market and time don’t matter; the Opportunistic driver is always on the lookout.
Their main downfall is that reality, which includes schedules and social conventions such as courtesy to others, doesn’t always allow them to take advantage of some of the golden opportunities they uncover.
On the other hand, some are not opportunistic enough, missing out on earnings right under their nose, due to lack of vigilance. Still, as the name suggests, it might be the most well-rounded and all-season of the driver types.
Which Driving Style is the Best?
Without a doubt, all of these driving styles pay off, at least in the short run. However, over the long haul, it’s important to be flexible and adapt to the constant evolution of delivery apps.
When we, as drivers, lock ourselves into one strategy, we are essentially putting all of our eggs in one basket, and hoping for the best, despite the prevailing market conditions, changes, and other factors. Whether we are talking delivery driving, stock market investing, or dining out, variety is the spice of life, and diversification pays, as well as protects us.
So, am I advocating you totally abandon your Promo Chasing, Number Snobbing, Road Warrior-like tendencies? Absolutely not. These strategies all have their merits, but also all have downfalls, limitations, and lost opportunities built-in.
A Hybrid and Opportunistic strategy will in most cases, benefit all drivers greatly. The companies behind the apps don’t (generally) place extreme limitations on our chances to earn, so why should we?
So go to that restaurant you swore off delivering for last week, if the pay is right. Take a distant ping, if it puts you in a workable area.
If it’s going to be busy with low dollar pings, you’ll hit a high one every so often (ask the Grinders), Accept that delivery that has you driving all the way across town for just a few bucks, if you can then drive once you get there, or were headed there anyway. Even if you don’t normally drive at this time of day, it might be worth the big bonus to do it this once.
Bottom line is that in most cases, no one strategy will serve you perfectly at all times, so use them all to your advantage, opportunistically if you will.
Don’t be afraid to be flexible, learn from others in your delivery ecosystem, while keeping in mind your safety, sanity, as well as the goals and guidelines you’ve established for yourself.
Drivers, do you agree with my assessment of the different types of drivers out there? Which type of driver are you?
-Jeffrey @ RSG