The instant gratification economy got a big shot in the arm this week, after Postmates scooped up a $16 million investment round. The company is based on cheaply rushing whatever you want at that moment to you via courier—but what about the people doing the cheap rushing?
The Register's Jack Clark looked at anonymous employee reports posted to Glassdoor, and just like the rest of the sharing economy, it looks like the people doing the actual labor are getting a raw deal—and certainly not any part of that $16 million. How'd you like to deliver Whole Foods salads to a bunch of startup kids for below minimum wage?
Here's one Postmates courier:
Below minimum wage compensation! A slick new scheme to extract the surplus value of your wages with NO workers' compensation safety net if you are hurt on the job!!!
Over-saturation of too many postdates couriers, thus on many days, you might not get much work.
Delivery fees charged client range from $6-$12 and Postmates takes a 25%-30% cut of that.
Hoity toity snobby white collar customers that are enticed to place orders with "free" delivery if they work for a "start-up." Have fun making $4 bucks riding across town with their grub.
They are scammers and cheaters. Its a bad scheme well-thought out by its cone artist of a founder. DON'T RIDE FOR THEM UNLESS YOU LIKE IT WHEN BEEN EXPLOITED. You will most certainly make much less than advertised and you my friend, you will be their own slave.
This one sounds a lot like our friends at Uber:
Employees are misclassified as independent contractors, meaning no minimum wage. You must schedule yourself in order to make a meager amount of money. You are not paid for time spent on shifts, only jobs completed. Management lowered the pay by 20% while I worked here, while simultaneously instituting requiring a scheduling protocol. One is extremely lucky if minimum wage is obtained. Many customers don't tip.
The 'ol independent contractor trick—scummy pay disguised as Be your own boss! But the shittiness of the contractor status is a frequent lament:
work as contractor, no benefits (maybe a bottle of water if you are lucky and that's on a really good day) terrible pay (exploitative. they say you can make up to 20/hr, but you are closer to min. wage) underappreciated. couriers are replaceable. high turnover management is clueless and has no knowledge of running a courier company or treating their workers. you get treated like scum (correction, scum gets treated better)
Management sounds fun:
The employees who work in the office have a major superiority complex regarding how they treat the couriers. This is both at emotional and functional level of the company. The co-founder Bastian Lehman constantly tries to instill fear and inferiority in couriers by regularly developing new rules such as: charging couriers money for any refunds they give customers.
Even TechCrunch's Ryan Lawler, when he tried working as a Postmates lackey for a day, had similar beef:
To be honest, $8.00 in tips isn't a lot for three hours of biking around town. But I got stiffed on my last delivery, it was pointed out… And I was told by Postmates HQ that couriers typically do multiple jobs simultaneously, which increase the amount they receive.
Now just imagine that as a job, not fodder for a blog post.