In the news recently, there was some light shining on a movement that is incredibly important for drivers to know about which is the #declinenow movement. Which is, in a nutshell, a movement where all drivers on all platforms to be declining any and all orders under $7.
This is exciting for all drivers who drive for the gig economy and I am surprised it took this long for something to be said about it. Anyone who is turning a profit on Doordash, UberEats, and other food delivery platforms is most likely using similar guidelines.
Now this can mean a lot of things for drivers, customers and companies and in this article I want to go over quite a lot of details on what this could mean for the future of these companies, how it affects drivers and customers and what you should do about it.
But before any of that, My name is Joseph Mandracchia, I have been working full-time with the gig economy since 2018 and have completed over 8100 orders and deliveries across several different platforms and pay models, as well as other forms of income.
It is my hope to impart some of my knowledge and experience unto you to help you make the most money in your side hustle and help you on your journey to achieve financial independence so you can choose to live your life in anyway you would find valuable to you.
Disclaimer: I am not a financial, tax or legal advisor of any kind. I am not giving you financial, tax or legal advice. I am simply expressing what I have done to overcome in this area and hoping you can find a take away for yourself within this article.
What is the Decline Now Movement?
The decline now movement is based Facebook group where Doordash drivers specifically, decline any order they get under $7 without discrimination and make that a mandatory rule within the group.
This eventually became a huge deal among many apps and though this group seems to be getting the lime light for it, it is a very applicable strategy that many drivers should apply to themselves, having a standard of what you are willing to accept.
The members also are expected to have an older model android phone with a beta version of the app, while uninstalling the Google Play app so that way the phone doesn't update the app while you are using it.
This allows you to always see the full value of the orders you receive, not see up to a certain amount and saying the order can be higher, and with that you can gain more knowledge of the order itself and see if it is worth taking.
Now my challenge with this is that it is referred to as a movement, when in reality it is simply just good business strategy to accept orders that give you the best returns as you possibly can.
The reason I say this is a problem is that is that it makes a divide between companies customers, and drivers of any company much more emphasized than it already is, and then it becomes this war between every side and that is going to cause more harm than good.
Personally, I would love to make a group to where people can ask about how they can overcome some challenges and be more friendly about it than trying to start a rebellion of sorts. However I cannot argue with the results they have achieved at this point.
Benefits of the Decline Now Movement
There are a lot of benefits of the decline now movement that can seriously affect the amount of money you make per delivery as well as how many miles you end up driving.
The first is obvious, an overall boost in income, assuming you were going from accepting bad orders like $3 for 8 miles of driving, you will immediately find you are making more money.
Most drivers within this movement have shown $5/hr pay boost, simply because they choose to not conform to $3 orders, and only accept orders that are $7 or better.
You will also be able to see full values of orders as opposed to partials because you decided to use a beta app on a never updating Android phone.
The second is that you actually learn a lot of valuable tips and tricks that can help you become better at making money on these platforms which some would not see otherwise.
Third, you become part of a group that can has been getting some serious lime light, as a unified group who can change the narrative of how much drivers can make financially, which can ultimately lead to helping families pay off bills and save money.
Similar to what Wallstreetbets have been able to achieve with Gamestop and combatting the hedge funds, you can be a part of a unified group that has been rallying around this concept for a while now, and now are making real waves in the gig economy.
Disadvantages of the Decline Now Movement
With any advantage comes with disadvantages, some of these aren't really that bad but I feel need to be mentioned where some are serious and need to be considered before joining the movement.
First and probably most important, you put yourself in a vulnerable position with companies. Companies cannot choose to deactivate you for a low acceptance rating, that goes against the contract you put yourself on, but there can be some kind of challenges on your end.
This can include time lags through their central system, not being included in rewards programs and unsubstantiated deactivations in an uphill battle to get reactivated, but more on the specifics of that later.
Second, you will be limited to using an older Android phone with no play store, therefore limiting what you can do with all apps, not just with Doordash. So you would probably have to pay for a separate phone service plan just to keep this one active.
Not to mention that finding an old Android is such a hassle, unless you already have one it is probably not worth it.
Third, this can lead to a poor mindset when it comes to making money on any platform not just Doordash. When you live your life, you should always come from a position of abundance in order to create the best possible results in your life.
When you work in this way, you operate from a position of scarcity, lack, and codependency. Almost like you need Doordash specifically in order to make ends meet. This can take away your peace of mind, and to me the price of that is too high.
How does this Affect Companies such as Doordash?
So with this rather outward expression of the decline now movement being brought into the light, Dashers have either joined to movement or started to reevaluate their position and see if they are making the proper amount of money per order.
With the Doordash pay model, the base pay is based upon the approximate amount of time it takes to complete the order, the distance or amount of miles you would be driving to complete that order, and the desirability of the order, which is very elusive as a metric.
Although, the metric itself has proven to be useful for us as Dashers, because it has been proven that the more an order gets declined among Dashers, the higher the value of the order goes up.
This in turn can cost Doordash much more money per order in the event that a customer doesn't tip properly, and since Doordash does things on the more cost efficient side of business, this may cause some actions to be taken from them.
Whether that's to help Dashers make more money, entice customers to tip their drivers more effectively, or to reduce their expenses that they have something that needs to be considered is how can Doordash respond?
How can Companies Respond?
Now while the Decline Now Movement has only recently gotten some lime light, there have been actions that were taken to respond to Dashers in general declining low value orders and that can be seen in their latest developments.
Some of these are promoted, while some are kind of the dark side of Doordash and are rarely seen but vocally heard among the community, because once it happens there is at least a few thousand posts about it on social media.
Companies like Doordash have programs set up for drivers who have a high acceptance rating and choosing to follow this movement means you choose to lose access to them. Some programs include, but not limited to, Top Dasher Rewards and Mainstreet Rewards.
Top Dasher Rewards requires you to end each month with a 70% acceptance rating, which is not possible without accepting lowball orders.
Mainstreet Rewards usually is based on a high number of orders completed during the month, which most find impossible without accepting lowball orders.
Their logic is that the rewards you would get would make itself up in value for the amount you would normally lose, which on the surface is true. I don't think it makes up for the expense increase properly but that is my opinion.
Another thing they have been doing is promoting Dashers who have a lot of completed deliveries and dedicating an article about them in their newsletter.
However, the poor guy was ridiculed across many Facebook groups, including #declinenow, as someone who made no money and killed their car. Which I thought was just wrong on so many levels.
Another action they take is time lags that you encounter for repetitive declines, this is mostly theory but there seems to be a consensus across many drivers in many locations.
After you decline a lot of orders you almost don't get another order until about 5 minutes or so later and then it feels like a lot came in back to back until you accept one, in which case you complete the order itself and then get an order almost immediately after.
Normally this is done because Doordash wants to be sure that the order is actually going to be completed but because you aren't accepting orders they wouldn't really know, though this point is also unconfirmed.
Also, there have been times where companies just purge a bunch of accounts at the same time and some people who shouldn't be caught in the crossfire do, such as drivers with great ratings and those within the Top Dasher program.
Sometimes they come back without issue, sometimes they find something totally ridiculous and give you the hardest time on it. It amazes me how some companies will manipulate whatever they have to just to keep you down.
So the hassle then becomes a question of, is it really worth fighting so often for an account in which they declined, and that is a preference thing more than anything.
How does this Affect Customers of these Companies?
The main reason the decline now movement came into fruition is that there were a huge amount of customers who were complaining about getting ice cold food and they didn't have a clue to what was happening that they received food this way.
Customers are realizing now more than ever that drivers will not accept offers for no tip upon acceptance. While this can be very frustrating, there will have to be a change in how people look at ordering in food, which is a culture change overall.
In the 17th century, before any of these companies even existed, customers would tip after the service was provided or not at all. This applied to servants in private homes from overnight guests, coffeehouses and other commercial establishments.
This was a way of expressing thank you for a job well done, improved future services of recurring business and supplementing income to the server and most people were happy to accept and adopt this practice into their lifestyle.
With that said, providing a tip for a one time service to a driver who you may never see again not knowing if the service will be good or not is a huge culture change for some people and will not accept that into practice.
In fact, I know quite a few people who will argue that they will never provide a tip to a server or a driver of any kind for any reason. Which is why it is so important, in my opinion, to make a system where people are provided the gratuity first, and that is what Doordash does.
How can Customers Respond?
Ideally, they can simply respond by providing a solid tip, although that is not going to work across the board. So they can change platforms and try to achieve what I call a bait and switch.
The bait and switch, commonly found on the UberEats platform, is a concept where the customer provides a good tip and then, for no reason at all, lowers the tip to $0 just before arrival to make sure that you accept the order and deliver their food hot.
I don't know why UberEats allows this, but that is a risk you take driving for the platform. Although, this is really not a common thing and people who drive for this company haven't dealt with that unless something went wrong with the order itself.
The next thing that customers can do is that they can tip some on the card, minimum of $5, and some in cash upon arrival. This way the driver receives an order for $8, and still has the benefit of receiving a cash tip.
I had a few customers like this in New York, where they tip $5 on the card just to get the order accepted and delivered quickly and tip in cash to make sure they were tipped well, and I usually recommend this to other people I know as well if they aren't used to the change yet.
Then finally, and this is most people I find through the platform and that is... accepting what you get and trying to complain about it. Look, there are just some people out there who aren't going to do the right thing here and that is their choice.
Doordash now has a system in place against those types of people who rate poorly for no reason, so if this happens it doesn't actually affect you.
How does this Affect the Drivers for these Companies?
As someone who drives for these companies frequently, I can tell you first hand that I am excited to see how the reveal of this affects customers and the corresponding companies because that has a lot to do with how it affects us as drivers.
This can increase our tips from customers very well so people understand that if they do not tip, they may get their food ice cold.
The companies involved, such as Doordash, on the other hand can start to retaliate in their own way, like in deactivation purges or time lags. Which will lead to a whole lot of wasted time and energy for all parties involved.
This is an almost 0 chance of happening, but they can look at their pay model and change the base pay to a higher one so customers don't have to tip as well.
Although, I think that what will likely happen is that they will start to increase the amount of high number of orders completed promotions they are already doing.
Between Top Dasher and Main Street Rewards, as well as many other promos they can make, this seems like their go to approach to having Dashers do as many orders as possible.
How can Drivers Respond?
Simply put, set a standard of what you are willing to accept as an order. This is a practice any driver should have on any platform. That isn't a movement, it is just good business sense.
Make sure to include a bottom line dollarwise, mileage, and understand why you set it up this way.
As far as joining the movement goes, I don't know if it makes sense for you to get an older Android that can be hacked in this way, just to "game the system", and in the event that you get your account audited for any reason and you come up, you can be deactivated.
Will that happen though? Probably not, but I wouldn't recommend opening yourself up to that one in a million chance anyway.
You should also diversify your app portfolio so that way you can make as much money as possible and truly come from a position of abundance. This includes other food delivery companies, rideshare, grocery delivery, etc.
Oh you don't want to send me good orders? Okay, I'll just drive for another app until you stop giving me problems. You can let me know when you are ready to have a quality driver take some good orders.
And finally, save as much money as possible and develop other sources of income. Look, it really should go without saying, but Doordash is a great tool to make money while developing something for yourself.
Whether that is a degree, or a business, or whatever really this is something that can be really effective source of income for you. Just make sure it isn't the only source of income and don't put yourself into unnecessary risk.
While I agree with the goal of accepting quality orders over quantity orders from a business point of view, framing this as a movement is in my opinion, dividing.
Dividing customers from drivers and from corresponding companies, and I don't think it is meant to be that way.
As someone who drives frequently themselves, I want to be able to provide a quality service to customers as someone who represents the companies themselves, and I know not everyone is going to agree with me in that way, but that is how I feel.
Hopefully, for those reading this article, they can also set a standard and provide quality service to those who tip well, which in my opinion is the whole point of this movement to begin with.
With that said, thank you so much for taking the time to read this article! I hope you found some value in what you read here and will apply this information in your life and success in your side hustle!