What it's like to work as a Deliveroo rider in Wolverhampton
Alex Ross ditches the TV screen and takes to two wheels to find out what makes Deliveroo tick
It started off as a joke.
The story came across my desk – food takeaway delivery service Deliveroo coming to Wolverhampton – and I told a colleague next to me that I’d be the first riding round the city in the company’s renowned bright uniform.
But while sitting at home alone and watching some pretty forgetful comedy show on a warm, bright summer evening, the idea of happily racing around the streets of the city became more of a notion than joke.
And when news of Deliveroo riders from other cities across the country protesting about pay and working conditions broke, I suddenly decided it was my duty to get on my two wheels and give it a go.
What I found was an employer providing all the sufficient kit, and more, a ‘second job’ which paid very well and a new, more interesting, form of keeping fit.
Now, its become a bit of an addiction.
The way the business works is incredibly simple.
As a rider, you apply online and attend a 30-minute interview, which is more of a job briefing.
Mine was in Costa Coffee in Dudley Street.
The representative was getting stuck into his lunch as he explained the ins and outs of the job.
‘You download the mobile phone app, it sends you jobs and you deliver – it is really easy’, he said.
Just a few days later I get mail – two huge delivery bags to strap to my back, a helmet, reflective clothing and even a phone holder for my bike.
I’ll be honest, I couldn’t wait to get going. Really, I couldn’t.
And so on the first week of it being rolled out in Wolverhampton, I put my name down for an hour-long slot on the phone application, which duly buzzed to remind me of my upcoming slot.
Kitted up, I rolled out on my bike and pedalled from my apartment in Penn, under the ring road and into the city centre.
It only took a few minutes and my first order came in. It tells you the restaurant, the length of delivery and the amount you’ll get.
I swipe to accept and follow the map direction on my app to KFC in the Mander Centre, where I park my bike inside the store, walk up to counter before the workers hand me a sealed bag.
A 10 minute bike ride down hill to Whitmore Reans and then a knock on the door of the happy customer. ‘Thanks’, she says. ‘No, thank you’, I think, checking the phone app which tells me I just earned around £6.
Then, a few minutes later, the phone buzzes again.
This time I’m off to Italian restaurant Fiume on the Bridgnorth Road where I pick up a carbonara which I take to the other side of the city, to Albion Street.
Finally, I do one more delivery, this time it is another KFC.
One hour and a bit..... £16 in the bag.
Over the next four weeks I earn just under £100.
Now, it isn’t something I do every night, only when I’m free or at a loose end.
I book hourly slots which I can cancel right up to the time if something else should come up.
In other cities, riders complain over a lack of jobs which mean they are being paid under the minimum hourly wage, they say.
But in Wolverhampton, I barely waited five minutes before my phone buzzed in a new job.
A worker at KFC told me they had to constantly turn down delivery jobs because the riders were not there.
Maybe things will change over the next few months, but for now, Deliveroo offers easy money, providing me with around £12-18 an hour.
OK, I’ve never done it while it has been raining and cold, but it sure beats sitting in an office, or watching rubbish television at home on a Monday or Tuesday night.
I also enjoy cycling, and this is a great way to do 15 to 20 miles in an evening without breaking a sweat – pedalling around Wolverhampton is hardly like climbing Everest.
Also, and I know this may may sound really sad, it’s great meeting so many happy people as well.
I mean, who doesn’t look happy when they get a piping hot food delivery right to their door?
- All the earnings from Deliveroo are being donated to charity Cure Leukemia