The COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating to many businesses. In June this year, Vice President Kamala Harris stated that it had caused the closure of a third of small businesses in the United States. Businesses that depend on walk-ins were the most affected, including restaurants, bars, cafes, and retail shops. The Economic Tracker confirmed this data, a platform run by Opportunity Insights. Survey results from the Small Business Roundtable published in May 2021 also supported the statement.
The Online Order and Delivery Pivot
Companies that quickly pivoted and took their businesses online managed to survive, and some even prospered, though. Retailers took to e-commerce. According to eMarketer, by the end of 2021, e-commerce in the U.S. will have a 17.9 percent increase over 2020, reaching $933.30 billion. These online orders are delivered through courier services.
Restaurants and other food businesses offer online ordering and delivery services. According to the National Restaurant Association’s State of the Restaurant Industry 2021 report, almost half of full-service restaurants added delivery services in 2020. Fine dining, family dining, casual dining, and fast-casual dining restaurants had a higher delivery service rate than coffee shops, snack bars, and quick-service shops. A higher percentage used and still use third-party delivery services compared to in-house delivery services. Among customers, 60 percent stated that they are now more likely to avail of food deliveries than pre-pandemic times, and 58 percent noted that food delivery is now part of their daily lives.
Research from Insider Intelligence shows that the 2020 revenues of restaurant delivery services in the U.S. were more than double that of 2019. Growth is continuing, and the forecast is that it will increase further by 33.3 percent by the end of 2021 to more than $57 billion. The leading company is DoorDash, forecasted to have sales of $28.56 billion by year-end, an annual increase of 43.5 percent. In second place is Uber Eats, predicted to have sales of $19.34 billion by the end of 2021. This is an increase of 58.6 percent over 2020.
The Independent Delivery Contractor
Being a delivery contractor is an excellent alternative for people who have a vehicle and seek income-earning opportunities. You may have been laid off or your work hours shortened, giving you spare time. You may be thinking of leaving your current job because the company is asking remote workers to go back to office-based work. You may have responsibilities at home that require you to have a flexible work schedule that adjusts accordingly. This could be the perfect fit for you.
This is much safer than being a rideshare driver because you will not be sharing your vehicle’s indoor space with other people. Your interaction with others is limited to picking up the order and handing it over to the recipient. If you are properly masked and fully vaccinated, you are protected.
Many companies like Uber Eats allow their drivers to work for other food delivery and courier companies such as DoorDash, Grubhub, BiteSquad, Waitr, Caviar, and Amazon. You can deliver food as well as packages and accept work according to your own schedule.
Some companies also accept riders on motorcycles or bicycles. Having a car or a larger vehicle will enable you to deliver a broader range of products, though. It will also keep you protected from the elements, whatever the weather.
Because your vehicle will be your main business equipment, you need regular preventive maintenance to avoid work disruption. It will not do to delay deliveries because of a breakdown on the road. Get a professional window tinting service to protect your eyes from glare and your skin from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. This will also protect your vehicle’s interior, reduce the workload on your air conditioning system, and reduce fuel consumption. In winter, make sure your tires are prepared for snow and ice on roads.
Winter Will Be Bustling
The coming winter months will be a busy time for deliveries. As the weather grows cold, people at home will tend to have more food cravings. Comfort food will be popular.
The coming holidays will also increase the demand for deliveries not only of food but also of presents for loved ones and friends and personal purchases. With the many challenges from the pandemic, people buy more personal items online to reward themselves. This will most likely increase during the holidays. Data from eMarketer forecasts that e-commerce sales of apparel and accessories will have the highest growth this year, rising by 23.1 percent over 2020.
Independent delivery contractors must prepare for more work this winter. This is good news because more work means a higher income. Also, you can always choose how much work you prefer to accept and at what times. That is a great combination.