Previously we told you about some of the shakeups and controversy happening over at deliver-anything-to-your-doorstep ‘Postmates’, and their couriers, which many of us here in East Nashville have learned to rely on religiously, to snag anything from groceries, to dinner, to some emergency Plan B for the morning after, or even a bong delivered to East Nashville. After publishing some of their ‘behind the scenes’ tips we had from local couriers and remote customer service reps that work here in Nashville, we recently received a new tip – Couriers will soon be working without schedules!
As a bit of history, the remote customer service callers (that attempt to call in your food orders to the merchant) had their schedules removed back in November – now those
employees contractors may log on/off as they please for 1 minute or 10 hours, it doesn’t matter – they are paid per call they claim/complete, so the hope by Postmates was that the employees 1099-Inddependant Contractors would log themselves off if the calls were slow, and jump on to make more money if the system was busier than usual. Of course, this all stemmed from a lawsuit, which is still pending, that is creating havoc on the employee vs. 1099 relationship that everyone outside of the corporate office has with Postmates (and similarly, Uber & Lyft). The removal of the schedule as well as some strongly worded footer text on all communications reminds workers that they are not employees, do not have schedules, and can work anytime they want. So it was only to be a matter of time before this no-schedule culture spread to the couriers, as well.
Our tipster explains that over the remainder of this quarter, some markets will begin to test no schedules for couriers, and hopes to have it spread nationwide shortly thereafter. Currently there is a ‘schedule’ that you are to adhere to – and Postmates Job Support crew will call you if you are not logged on and waiting during the hours you picked for your ‘schedule’. On the flip-side, however, you can still work if you are not scheduled, however you are give a non-priority status currently, which means someone working their schedule shit will get a job offer for a pickup/delivery before the non-scheduled worker. This practice, especially the calling and threatening to be ‘written up’ if you are not logged on during a scheduled shift certainly calls into question the employee-employer relationship that it seems to create.
On the new non-schedule system, which is still in the beta stages, and as it was explained to us, Couriers will be able to see the ‘business’ of the market they are in and decide if they want to logon to be in the queue for a job. Obviously the idea is that during peak/busy times that more drivers would log on to work (possibly receiving PUSH/TEXT alerts during peak times to inform them), and that during non-busy times couriers would log off to help them better have a work/life balance, and also increase their jobs/hour percentage, as well as greatly inflate the $/per/hour figure that Postmates likes to spout to new couriers.
Speaking of new couriers – Postmates is hiring – and over hiring like crazy, is almost all cities to prepare for this new no schedule model. While it is creating great upset among many Postmates during this transition time, of which couriers have yet to be let in on what’s about to happen, as it’s creating more couriers working, but not as many jobs during this time of the year – leaving some couriers with 1-2 hours between jobs, decreasing their hourly wage and jobs per hour numbers.
From the information we have, it appears that under the ‘no schedule’ system, jobs will still be offered to online couriers in a stack ranked system – depending of course on courier’s proximity to the merchant/customer, but if there are multiple couriers to choose from, it would be a ranking based on the couriers Customer Satisfaction Rating, among other things. Interestingly, under the current plan (still in beta, and could change) a schedule would still ‘exist’ but only for incentive purposes – much like the Uber system. For instance a weekend incentive might be promoted that offered an extra dollar amount as an incentive/prize, but only if the courier signed up and worked a certain block of hours (for instance to cover a 10PM-2AM slot so there was guaranteed coverage for those late night deliveries on the weekends). While this would not be a required shift/schedule for a courier, it’s still unclear if Job Support would call couriers that were late or didn’t make the entire block – but we’re betting they would simply be disqualified from the incentive instead, which gets around the scheduling issue and the employee-employer relationship snafu that’s currently quite the mess for couriers nationwide.
During a recent Reddit thread, where Postmates couriers nationwide were going crazy over another change regarding how they are paid out for jobs, and can no longer see what they’re delivering – which at least solves the non-tippers database problem – Postmates investor turned Director of Operations, Russell Cook, stopped by the thread to give some insight, and alluded to the new no-schedule model, but didn’t give many specifics:
Here was the statement he responded to:
While Russell wouldn’t give actual confirmation, after publication we were sent this screencap from the Chicago Postmates group, where their Postmates Community Manager for Chicago (an actual employee), Daniel Corley, confirmed that schedules are, indeed, going away. Corley said “While it is true the schedule will be going away, it’s because there are SO many schedule abusers – people that take every shift, but never show up – hurting those that want priority.“ Of course, the corporate folks won’t let them say it’s to keep us from losing a lawsuit, so this excuse sounds as good as any. And we’re disappointed you’re not a fan, Daniel, but looks like we got this one right on the money.
Will no-schedules be a good or bad thing for Postmates? Will the couriers revolt as many have in markets with the new payout structure? Only time will tell – and only time will tell exactly what this new ‘no schedule’ schedule will look like once it comes out of beta testing and goes live nationwide.