30-Year-Old Delivery Driver Quits Uber Eats To Start His Own $5 Flat-Fee Delivery Business — ‘Demand Was Dead’

Most people would cringe at the idea of taking on an industry-leading company like Uber Eats. But 30-year-old delivery driver Tony Illes is not your average person.​​

For four years, Illes was a full-time delivery driver for several apps, including Uber Eats. Over that time, he earned a solid living in the growing gig economy, making roughly 10,000 deliveries by his estimation.

But then the bottom fell out.

Out of nowhere, he found himself without work. He was waiting hours on end for a single Uber Eats delivery request in his area.

“Demand was dead,” Illes told Fortune.

While he could have sat around and hoped for the best, Illes instead took action. Shortly after the slowdown, he changed directions and launched Tony Delivers.

In many ways, his startup is the same as industry-leading providers like Uber Eats. His job is simple: to take orders and make deliveries on his e-bike or e-scooter.

However, there’s one major difference. Illes only charges $5 for any order within a 1.5-mile diameter of his Beacon Hill neighborhood.

“I feel more capable than just sitting around waiting for some app to deliver you the goods. … I can go get it myself,” he said.

Running the show at Tony Delivers is now his full-time job. While he declined to share revenue figures with Fortune, he noted that the business is successful and growing by the day.

Following the implementation of a new minimum wage ordinance for delivery-app drivers in Seattle on Jan. 13, customers began experiencing longer wait times for orders.

While the ordinance aimed to improve the earnings of gig workers, it also led to increased service fees. As a result, companies like Uber Eats passed costs onto customers.

This resulted in a significant decrease in business, according to both company representatives and drivers such as Illes.

Steven Marchese, director of the Seattle Office of Labor Standards, viewed the law as progress. However, the necessity for delivery apps to introduce extra charges to cope with the higher expenses led to a decline in customer usage, impacting drivers’ income and forcing consumers to reconsider their spending habits.

Uber Eats drivers earn between $8 and $12 per hour when factoring in expenses such as gas and car maintenance.

A low rate, coupled with changing laws, may push more people to take the same path as Illes.

Are you interested in joining the gig economy or expanding your current business? Consulting a financial adviser could be in your best interest. A professional can offer personalized advice to help you make the best possible short- and long-term financial decisions.

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