Some Delivery Drivers Do Not Receive a Basic Living Wage

Delivery drivers have been one of the cornerstones of the nation throughout the pandemic as they have been responsible for getting food to the vulnerable who could not leave their homes, as well as delivering takeout food and all items bought online to members of the public. With that in mind, it’s disappointing to hear that there are many delivery drivers currently working who are not earning a basic living wage. Workers are often considered “essential” until it’s time to fairly compensate them.

How Much Are Some Drivers Making? 

There are drivers across the US who state they are struggling to pay rent as their wage sometimes comes to as little as $2 an hour once costs are taken away. This is likely due to the fact that a lot of these drivers are not actually hired directly by organizations but are instead taken on as subcontractors through different courier companies. 

As such, the organizations they deliver for are under no obligation to pay what they owe other employees such as holiday pay, sick pay or maternity pay. The drivers also need to pay to hire their vehicle, which comes to around $200 a week. 

Many drivers, upon returning their vehicle, actually found themselves in debt. It appears that there are many large organizations who lack transparency when it comes to confirming wages with their employees. 

What Should Delivery Companies Do?

Overall, there needs to be more transparency in the way that delivery companies operate. An example of this transparency is Shiply. Shiply hires seasoned delivery drivers who have their own vehicles and are incredibly upfront about the money they will be paid for jobs. 

The way the site works is it is essentially, for drivers, a site to browse potential jobs, including load board info. Drivers are directed towards a site that provides search functions they can use to browse work that suits their requirements. These requirements will be aspects such as the location of the job and the route to be taken. 

Once a driver has decided on a job, they place their own quote as to how much they would like to be paid for it. This is different to some of the aforementioned sites who pay their drivers a fixed wage, which results in gross underpayment at times. Once the quote has been accepted, the driver will carry out the job and be paid accordingly. The wage is agreed between the driver and the organization that they are delivering for, so it is a quick transaction and one with no nasty surprises. 


Given the huge part that delivery drivers have played in keeping the country going throughout the pandemic, it is not unreasonable to expect them to be paid a standard living wage as an absolute minimum. Unfortunately, due to the poor fixed rates paid by some organizations, plus the hidden fees of van rental, a lot of drivers are struggling to pay rent. More organizations should operate as Shiply do by giving drivers a clear and transparent wage before they embark on jobs.