S'pore food delivery rider earns S$8,511 in March 2022 doing GrabFood, foodpanda & Deliveroo for 31 days

No rest day though.

Belmont Lay | April 08, 2022, 06:15 AM

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How much money can you make doing food delivery in Singapore?

This has been a question of interest for many people here who want to hustle for some side income, while contemplating the costs of using a bicycle or power assisted bicycle, and even jumping into it full-time, with the possibility of acquiring a motorcycle licence for this purpose.

Well, the answer is that it depends how much you want to work daily, weekly and monthly, and how you strategise the use of the various existing food delivery platforms to your advantage.

And it appears one food delivery rider in Singapore has worked out a formula to maximise earnings.

Handwritten record of daily earnings

According to a handwritten record of daily takings by one food delivery rider in Singapore, it appears that working 31 days consecutively can allow one to make S$8,511.64.

Origins of photo

The detailed handwritten record was shared to the Hardwarezone forum on April 7, where it generated intense interest and discussions that ranged from expressing envy to snark.

The photo of the handwritten record was put up earlier in a closed Facebook group for food delivery riders in Singapore and appeared to have been shared widely after that.

General sentiment

A sweep through the public discussions from the various platforms talking about the photo generally revealed that people were bamboozled by the total earnings.

But on closer inspection, and by parsing the numbers, they were convinced that such a workload can be pulled off by one person taking into account the maximising of the practical and logistical constraints.

Food delivery personnel who scrutinised the daily takings found multiple aspects of it believable as well.

What to take note of

Most money made in one day

The most money made in one day, S$443.79, was on March 12.

This is not surprising as March 12 was a Saturday, and the start of the school holidays.

The school holiday week also proved to be an income booster.

Lull on Mondays and Tuesdays

The daily takings on Mondays and Tuesdays, ranging from S$101.61 to S$295.13 per day, were nowhere as high as the other five days.

This is consistent with the experience of seasoned food delivery riders, who find Mondays and Tuesdays the slowest days with the fewest orders, with the lull believed to be caused by the weekend binge.

foodpanda takings highest

The best foodpanda daily takings was S$276.07 on Sunday, March 27.

And on most days, the rider earned the most via this app.

One interesting observation that can be gleaned from this photo, according to seasoned food delivery riders, is that this particular rider is most likely primarily reliant on his foodpanda app to take orders, while using GrabFood and Deliveroo as supplementary apps to fill in the void.

This is partly due to the way the different platforms operate.

foodpanda riders have to book shifts and adhere to a roster.

GrabFood and Deliveroo riders do not have to book shifts and can operate as and when, including turning on the app to take a single order and then going offline after that.

Food delivery rider using a motorcycle

It is unanimously agreed among food delivery riders that making more than S$400 a day would not be possible on a bicycle or even a power assisted bicycle.

The toll on the body would be too much and there is simply just not enough time.

A motorcycle will allow the rider to not only perform islandwide deliveries, but also stack multiple orders to ensure they are sent to the recipients on time, without getting penalised.

According to seasoned food delivery riders, Deliveroo orders should always be prioritised as the risk of not making time and getting suspended is highest.

Last day: Only S$69.12

The last day for this rider was also the worst-performing, as that day's earnings was only S$69.12, which is a relatively good figure for most other riders.

But the understanding is that this rider had probably gassed out by March 31 and was probably satisfied with the entire month's takings to take it easy on the last day.

Other intelligent guesses

Some of the commenters tried to work backwards and guesstimate how much costs the rider incurred, such as taking into account fuel costs that would have to be deducted from the daily takings to calculate the overall profit, and also to work out the total number of hours worked.

The rule of thumb these days for food delivery is to apparently travel anywhere between 2km to 5km to earn S$5.

This distance takes into account the rider going from his current location to the merchant, and from the merchant to the customer's location to complete one order.

Given the worst case scenario of travelling 5km to make S$5, on his busiest day on March 12 where the day's earnings was S$443.79, the rider would have covered some 444km in one day.

Given that petrol costs about S$2.20 per litre after fuel discounts, with 1 litre providing about 50km mileage, it cost about S$20 to refuel on March 12 alone.

Therefore, a very conservative estimate was that the delivery rider spent about S$400 on fuel in the entire month.

But given that the rider was likely stacking orders quite frequently, the overall distance travelled might be substantially shorter, but by how much, is not known.

On the other hand, it could also be the case that the rider had to clock way more mileage then guesstimated, due to the fact that the rider was making orders as quickly as possible by being on the move constantly without stopping and by rearranging the order of the deliveries as listed by the apps.

It could also be possible the rider was ferrying a pillion rider during certain hours of the day to complete orders, as this effectively cuts out walking time and the time taken to find parking.

How many hours of work a day?

These days, one can earn about S$15 to S$20 an hour delivering food using one platform -- on good days.

By utilising three apps, the per hour rate might go up to S$20 to S$25 on good days with multiple stacked orders.

Even if by using all three apps at once to make S$30 an hour, the rider would still have to work up to 15 hours on March 12, the busiest day, to make S$443.79.

Other details would provide better insights

Other details the rider could have provided that would make the S$8,511.64 figure more enlightening include the cancellation and acceptance rates for jobs on each platform.

This would allow other riders to understand the strategy better, such as, for example, always rejecting McDonald's deliveries on the GrabFood platform during peak hours because waiting times are always quite long, or simply never rejecting any order by picking up all the food and then working out the fastest route for stacked orders.

Revealing the geographical location the rider primarily operates in and during which times of the day would also provide a better understanding of the strategies employed.

Other details worth mentioning include the times of day the rider operates and whether the rider concentrates on operating in the Bukit Merah and downtown zones, and also, if the rider uses two thermal bags instead of one.

No CPF, no leave

Commenters who were filled with admiration praised the rider's tenacity, but also wondered how sustainable is such a lifestyle.

The possibility of gassing out or injuring oneself is always there once a person does a blue collar job more than 50 hours a week with minimal rest.

There are also no stipulated leave or rest days and no Central Provident Fund contributions from this freelance gig.

Forum responses

The Hardwarezone forum provided a range of snarky and wholesome reactions.

They include rationalising never to tip food delivery personnel again, as well as commenting that delivering food beats an office job that pays S$3,000 a month.

Some also complained that they now understand why their deliveries can take so long to arrive some times, and it is likely due to the rider utilising more than one platform at a time -- with a call for platforms to clamp down on such practices of using more than one app at one time.

However, other commenters were also quick to call out such snarky comments, saying that food delivery riders undergo tremendous amounts of physical and mental stress -- besides being exposed to the elements -- especially during peak hours and having to deal with unruly customers.

Many commenters were also quick to add that this rider deserved the money as long as it was earned by putting in the hard work.

Top photo via Hardwarezone & Unsplash

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