That question is best answered with several other questions... If you’re a new driver and are just learning the ropes then the answer from me is accept everything…for your first few days or a week. I say this because it’s educational. If you take everything that’s thrown at you to begin with, you quickly learn which restaurants are efficient, which customers are stingy, what areas you don’t want to deliver in, what time of day or night you want to work, etc.
What is your threshold for people that waste your time? Do you have standards or will you sell out for pennies? These are serious questions. How much do you value your time? And I don’t just mean in a dollar sense. I mean, in a sense of a favorite customer you enjoy delivering to, or a restaurant you like picking up from. That is an intangible. Maybe you’re a dog lover and there is a customer you’re delivering to that has that adorbs Rottweiler you love to play with. Maybe there’s that neighborhood that has the historical houses you covet. Intangibles are tips too. It is part of enjoying your job.
There is, of course, the other side of the proverbial coin. There are miserable employees at restaurants that seem to hate you. Myself? I prefer to not involve myself in power trip toxicity. There are issues aplenty with traffic and eight year olds behind the wheel to deal with. I don’t need that energy. Intangibles. That customer that tips ok, but their driveway looks like it’s been mercilessly shelled by Javelin missiles and your vehicle may loose an oil pan hitting the potholes on the way up. Then there's the three mile trip that takes 30 precious minutes of your life. Hard pass from me.
Personally, my acceptable rate threshold changes with feelz. What mood am I in? Is it Dogwood blooming season? Do I want to view the magnolias in certain neighborhoods today? Do I want to take it easy and take in the sights and sounds of a particular area of town or do I want to play Mad Max in the Thunderdome?
Take time to smell the roses...or the urinals-it’s up to you.
The weather changes my acceptance standards as well. Monsoon? Don’t hate to take the wind out of anyones sails, those tips better be just as big or there’s gunna be hungry boaters steering their crafts to their favorite diner.
I don’t worry about acceptance rates either. Acceptance rates are thinly veiled threats. They are there to guilt you. They are part of the algorithmic monolith meant to prey on the workers pride in doing a good job. Screw that! I’m doing this job to make money and have some fun. Let the other drivers chase the ever elusive diamond reward points or kneel to their algorithmic overlords, I’m driving for dollars! And you should be too.
So, I ask again…what is the minimum amount a driver should accept? Where do you start in your bidding? Is it $2.00? If you’ve read what I written so far, you should have some sort of expectation. What is your floor? Five bucks start your engine? Eight get the wheels turning? How much is enough to wait on the restaurant that never has your order ready? What’s it gunna take for you to go up those seven flights of steps when the elevator’s broken? Five, ten dollars?
My mood changes as the day goes on. I get tired. It takes more to motivate me. Usually at the end of the shift I’m playing the game of Make Me Take It. I start setting a loftier threshold, a number at which I’ll throw my hands up and say the money is too easy. Sometimes I get home and finally call it a day because no offer hits that threshold by the time I make it to the driveway.
Sometimes I’ve just switched the engine off and I get an offer that quashes my couch potato, Xbox laden plans (at least temporarily) because - duty, and frankly - money.
In any case, the answer is a little more complex. The truth is that it is entirely up to you. What is your time worth? Divide it into steps. Step one- start the car. How much does that cost? There is a mechanical cost to your starter and the entire engine. Step two- get rolling, there’s the cost of gas, tires, general wear and tear. Takes just as much to get started on a $15 trip as a $2 trip. These are real costs. Step three - arrive, find parking, and get out of your car.
Maybe all of these first three steps takes 12 minutes. You haven’t even waited for the order or dropped it off and you have another few steps to go that will probably entail another 15 or more minutes. Is it worth three dollars so far?
Think I’m being petty? The average time it takes in normal traffic to drive a mile is about three minutes. If it is a five mile trip from pick-up to drop-off, that’s 15 minutes. And that’s just driving time. It’s not waiting behind some jackhammer in the parking lot to back in to a parking spot or hearing from the aloof cashier that they just got the order, you know, the same order you got...10 minutes ago…yeah right.
What’s the answer? Only experience and knowing what you’re willing to tolerate is going to answer that question. We’re all different. I'm reminded of that when I see that two dollar offer that UberEats proudly displays on their app like a generational opportunity. I smirk, thinking no one is going to bother with it and then it disappears with a message from Uber, proudly implying that some fiscally savvy driver has scooped me. One mans trash...
P.T. Barnums words doth ring true, “There’s a sucker born every minute."