The first time I delivered pizza, I was 24, unemployed, and at the end of my rope. I was My mother suggested I check out the local pizza place to see if they would hire me. I didn’t want to do it and kept thinking, “What kind of loser delivers pizza?” As it turned out, it was me. What I didn’t realize at the time was how much I could make doing just that. I think that first night I worked from 5 to 10 pm, got paid an hourly rate of $6 an hour (this was in 1994), and made twice that amount in tips alone. I made about $100 in 5 hours. $20 an hour by today’s standards isn’t bad, but can you imagine making that much as a 20 something in 1994? At the end of the night when I counted my cash I was stunned at how much I had in my wallet. I didn’t tell my parents how much I made, but I didn’t complain about the advice my mother had given me either.
Since then, I have gone back to college, gotten a degree, worked in several salaried (professional) positions, and even owned my own pizza place. But the most money I have ever made in my life was delivering pizza. I worked for a very large franchise at their world headquarters doing technical support and started at $35,000. Delivering pizza I make on average about $50,000 a year, sometimes more. The professional job I had to dress in slacks, shirt and tie, shoes, and had rigid expectations. The delivery jobs, I got to show up in jeans, a tee-shirt, boots, and had a very relaxed working environment (compared to other jobs). It isn’t rocket science which one is better.
I know everyone wants to say they’re working towards the future, have a 401K, medical, vacations, a house, a dog, 2.5 children, etc, but at the end of the day I’d rather start at a level in pay it will take the other guy 10 years to achieve, and figure out my own game plan for the long-run.
I don’t want to mislead anyone, though, while it is better in my mind, there are a lot of downsides to delivering pizza as well.
First off, you use your own car and beat the hell out of it for minimum wage.
Second, you risk your life each and every time you get behind the wheel for anything. Drivers are on the roads ALL DAY. Our odds of getting in an accident are much higher than the average person’s.
Third, we drive in all kinds of weather: snow, rain, extreme heat or cold; we’re out there.
Fourth, most customers don’t look at us as what we are: waiters who drive their food to them. We should get at least a 20% tip all the time, but for some reason some people seem to think that delivering food in all sorts of conditions on time is easier than a waiter taking it from the kitchen and walking it to the table.
Fifth, and last, there are all sorts of things we have to deal with from unhappy owners, to hazardous conditions, to other drivers, and even getting robbed or killed. Customers should look at us like we’re two steps above a waiter and tip us accordingly. Waiters, after all, often have food runners who actually deliver the food while all they do is take the order and bring drink refills.
Still, if you can work out a system at a good place in a good area, you can make a lot of money and have a lot more freedom than you might somewhere else.
In the rest of the pages I will go through different stories and scenarios to let people know some of the things we have to deal with and hopefully help people to make our lives easier by ensuring they show us the same respect we show them by giving us a good tip.
The Driver (Adam Smith)
© Adam Smith and drivershout.wordpress.com, 2009. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Adam Smith and drivershout.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
“Kick Rocks” Pizza Delivery Nightmares by Adam Smith is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License