Life is a great teacher, they say. For K. Shiva, the lesson was about the dignity of labour, which he did not learn in engineering classes. Having completed his B.Tech degree about two years ago, the 25-year-old now zooms around the city on his two-wheeler every day for about eight to nine hours, delivering food to hungry customers.
“I would earlier order food online and I never thought that I would one day work as a food delivery boy. The work is not tough, but other than traffic, it is all about time management. And, of course, the money I earn is a lot more than what I would have been earning if I worked elsewhere," says Shiva, one of the hundreds of delivery persons working for online food delivery app Swiggy in Hyderabad.
Shiva, who hails from Nalgonda district, decided to work for Swiggy about a year ago, since he was not able to find himself a well-paying job like some of his batch mates. “Many of us studied engineering to earn money, but the industry is not doing great. So, I decided to work as a delivery boy. While it is not what I thought I would be doing, my income is good," he adds.
So, what is a typical work day for someone who delivers food for a living? “I clock in my time at about 11am, and we start a lot of orders post noon. The peak hours are from noon till 3pm and from 7pm till 10.30pm or 11pm. I usually spend eight hours on an average every day and make close to ₹25,000 a month, but there are others who put in even 12 hours and earn a lot more. Work hours are completely flexible and how long you work is up to you," explains Shiva.
How do delivery persons earn money?
In Shiva’s case, at least, there is no fixed monthly income, but he receives incentives on the orders he delivers, which also depend on the area in which an employee is operating. For example, delivering food in the upmarket areas of Banjara Hills and Jubilee Hills (delivery persons usually operate within a 4km radius) gives Swiggy delivery persons an incentive of ₹400 on food worth ₹1,000. The same comes to ₹200 for food worth ₹600 that is delivered in the areas surrounding Toli Chowki, which has a large food court in the area comprising close to half a dozen restaurants.
“That is why a lot of my friends have also started working as food delivery boys, because you can even earn ₹1,000 a day. But of course, not everybody is happy about doing this kind of a job."
This, says Shiva, is because some of the people working as delivery persons had better profiles in their earlier jobs, but had to quit due to low pay.
“You will see some of the delivery boys are not wearing company T-shirts, because they don’t want people to know where they work. As for me, I need to earn and also fulfil my responsibilities," he adds.
While Shiva plans to study further, he is now contemplating putting a few more hours into his work so that he can earn more. “This might not be the best job in the world, but it pays my bills and takes care of my house."