OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Delivery apps thrived during the COVID-19 pandemic, but now drivers are declining fares because the pay is “not worth it.”

Roy Anthony Rodriguez first signed up with DoorDash five years ago for the flexibility and to spend more time with his family.

However, those perks are no longer worth it as Rodriguez said there was a change in the app’s pay model from “$3 to $2.50.” That money is a guaranteed base pay the driver could receive.

“I think it’s worse, in my opinion,” said Rodriguez.

When the change in base pay happened, Rodriguez said it seemed like people stopped tipping as well.

In the last week, Rodriguez received a sushi delivery request where the order had eight items in total and the round trip drive would have been 20 miles.

His take home pay would have been $2.50, so he declined it.

A DoorDash customer request that came into Roy Anthony Rodriguez in the last seven days.

This type of fare isn’t unusual though as Rodriguez said his acceptance rate is very low.

In a statement sent to News 4 from DoorDash, “We work hard to provide Dashers with transparency and a clear understanding of earnings, and are eager to hear feedback from all members of our community. As always, Dashers are free to decline any order.”

“Most of the orders I do decline are $2, $2.50, $3. That’s when obviously the customer did not tip and those orders most likely will not get accepted and they’ll sit there. I’ll get the same orders back to back after declining here, because other drivers have declined,” added Rodriguez.

Rodriguez stopped delivery driving full-time about two years ago and only drives part time now because of this.

“It would become harder and harder to make that minimum that I needed in order to survive and so once it became more of a hassle, that’s when I just decided to go back to work full time at a regular job,” said Rodriguez.

Grocery runners are also taking a hit as Shipt driver, Tammy Wolff said she’s losing her primary income fast.

Wolff has been a personal grocery deliverer for just over a year. She drives with many apps, but Shipt is her primary focus.

This year alone, Wolff told KFOR her income has been cut in half and “it hurts.”

Wolff said with the drastic increase in prices, the customer tips are dropping. She added Shipt has also made a “pay restructure” which is now only paying her $10-$15 per shop.

Because of the low pay and customer tips, Wolff claims to make $500 a week before taxes.

Some days, Wolff wants to throw in the towel and move on to something else, but “It’s tough for me to give it up because it is important to me. I love my customers. Some of them are very gracious and do appreciate the service, so I really don’t want to give it up. So I’m hanging in as tough as I can hoping that it gets better but yeah, it’s it is hard,” said Wolff.

Wolff is close to her breaking point though as she is currently applying to other apps and looking at alternative ways of generating income.

For now though, Wolff is hoping customers will reconsider not tipping as she views it as respect. “They’re leaving their house to provide you a service and they they deserve the respect. And your way to show that is by tipping them so that they can keep doing it.”

In a statement from DoorDash reads, ““We know Dashers have been feeling the sting of high gas prices, and that’s why we announced our Gas Rewards program in March to help offset rising costs, and extended the 10% cash back benefit through the end of the summer to continue supporting Dashers as prices remain elevated. We’re proud that so many Dashers are able to earn when, where, and how they choose, with Dashers using the 10% cash back benefit in over 8 million transactions at U.S. gas stations and saving an average of $0.42 per gallon at the pump.”

According to DoorDash, 74% of dashers have reviewed this program in a positive light, with more drivers favorable of the cash back opportunity.

In addition, DoorDash has built in a number of initiatives to help Dashers earn beyond the gas rewards:

  • Hotspots – Dashers can see busy areas to quickly find earning opportunities on the road and help them make the most of their time
  • DasherDirect – We’ve worked to improve banking access and fast access for Dashers through daily (very soon instant) no-fee deposits and benefits to help them save on dashing costs (e.g. 2% cash back on gas purchases).
  • Perks – Dasher-only discount programs with national partners, so they can save on and outside the road.

Shipt sent KFOR this statement several days after the story first published and aired:

At Shipt we’re grateful for all the ways shoppers show up for Shipt customers and retail partners, connecting in their communities across the country. 

Our priority is to maintain a flexible working model for shoppers and we’re committed to showing shoppers key pieces of information that help them determine whether to accept an offer, including estimated pay, estimated drive time from leading mapping services, the shopping list, the drop off location, etc. 

We’re also committed to rewarding shoppers with compensation that’s competitive, easy to understand and compelling. When factoring in offer pay, bonuses and tips, Shipt Shoppers made, on average, between $25-35 per hour in 2021. You can find more information on shopper pay here

Shipt is proud to also provide a Shopper Perks program that provides shoppers with access to discounts for personal health and pet insurance, prescriptions, gym memberships, legal advisors and more. 

And earlier this year, Shipt invested in its program with Upside to help shoppers save even more at the pump and extended this investment throughout the summer months. We also encourage Shipt customers to tip through updated messaging in the app. You can read more here on our newsroom.