Automotive

Food delivery driver: Shut the car off or leave it running each time?

  • Last Updated:
  • Nov 3rd, 2021 10:49 am
[OP]
Sr. Member
Sep 4, 2016
878 posts
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Food delivery driver: Shut the car off or leave it running each time?

Has anyone here done a food delivery job before? I just started a job as a driver for a very busy mom and pop diner in a small city. 95% of the deliveries are short (within 5km) and the longest delivery I get is 10km. 50% of my deliveries are 2km or less. So even on a busy night doing 20 deliveries I don't put on a lot of mileage - one reason why I accepted this job. I was wondering long term, which would put less wear and tear on the car. I am using my 2010 Honda Accord, 4 cylinder for this. Has 186k km.

A) shut the car off each time I do a drop off and again back to the diner or

B) leave the car running but then you have to worry about locking it each time.

If I go with A, should I expect to have to replace my battery, alternator and starter sooner than usual and more often? And anything else?

I can't remember where I read it but I read that 10 secs of idle is equal to one car start.

If I go with B, obviously it will use more gas in the long run but does it make it a huge difference? Especially come winter. Is it best to leave the car running? Starts are much harder in the winter. But gas is super expensive right now, costs me $85-90 to fill up from red.

I find it a pain to have to reach in my pocket for my compustar remote to lock when my hands are full carrying food.

I often see some drivers just park in the middle of the road with newer SUVs and hop out with the car still running. Anyone can just jump in and take off with your car.

I just plan on doing this as a short term job for 1-2 years.
Last edited by DiamondDallasPage on Aug 9th, 2021 11:38 pm, edited 9 times in total.
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Who pays for gas? What is payment mechanism?

Think about - sell Accord and buy a 2017 Focus Electric, or get store to buy it as delivery vehicle and get some advertising wrap..

Leave it running (a/c etc).

Lock by pressing back of hand against button on door. Keep key in pocket at all times.
[OP]
Sr. Member
Sep 4, 2016
878 posts
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Bevatron wrote: Who pays for gas? What is payment mechanism?

Think about - sell Accord and buy a 2017 Focus Electric, or get store to buy it as delivery vehicle and get some advertising wrap..

Leave it running (a/c etc).

Lock by pressing back of hand against button on door. Keep key in pocket at all times.
I pay for gas. Payment is $x.xx amount per delivery plus tips. Their client base tip on the higher end of the scale. Of course there are still the cheapskates but it balances out in the end. I wouldn't have taken this job if their customer base tipped as well as they do.

Owner won't pay for a delivery car, no way. Though I know they can afford it. I am one of two drivers and the other guy drives a 2019 Ford F350.

I will also mention that I also drive my car like a grandma while on the job so I can get max mileage and keep the gas costs down.
Last edited by DiamondDallasPage on Aug 9th, 2021 11:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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DiamondDallasPage wrote: Owner won't pay for a delivery car, no way. Though I know they can afford it. I am one of two drivers and the other guy drives a 2019 Ford F350.
Those must be some HUGE meals!!! 🤣🤣🤣

Obviously using an F350 as a food delivery vehicle tells you A LOT about the driver and their math skills.
Last edited by Rob_EV on Aug 9th, 2021 11:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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May 16, 2017
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I don't think a mom-and-pop diner is:
- paying the driver enough to finance another vehicle,
- paying enough for the driver to make minimum wage after additional vehicle expenses are figured in,
- going to buy another vehicle for the driver to use.

A huge proportion of delivery driver jobs are barely sustainable earnings.
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Rob_EV wrote: Those must be some HUGE meals!!! 🤣🤣🤣

Obviously using an F350 as a food delivery vehicle tells you A LOT about the driver and their math skills.
In GTA, there are tons of people driving Luxury car that requires premium octane and other Sports cars to do ubereat or other delivery chain.
Obviously the driver aren't hungry about money, but get a chance to go out and have a chance to drive their car with a "purpose". Face With Stuck-out Tongue And Tightly-closed Eyes

Therefore, not everyone doing delivers having to be cost-effective in gas.

However, probably anything that's not electric are not road worthy in your book. :facepalm:
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DiamondDallasPage wrote: I pay for gas. Payment is $x.xx amount per delivery plus tips. Their client base tip on the higher end of the scale. Of course there are still the cheapskates but it balances out in the end. I wouldn't have taken this job if their customer base tipped as well as they do.

Owner won't pay for a delivery car, no way. Though I know they can afford it. I am one of two drivers and the other guy drives a 2019 Ford F350.

I will also mention that I also drive my car like a grandma while on the job so I can get max mileage and keep the gas costs down.
Since you are not a contractor (like skip or doordash) but actually an employee, can't you also claim the CRA mileage at 0.59$/km?
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*. OP, according to https://carcosts.caa.ca/, your total ownership cost is low...around $0.35 per km. Changing to a newer vehicle of any kind will yield a higher operation.

Question to ask yourself. If someone stole your vehicle while it is running, how much is your deductible (assuming you have comprehensive coverage)? Is your employer going to pay you since you haven't delivered all the food? It is hard to tell the life of starter/alternator. I have seen it failed at 100k km. I have seen it failed at 300k km. I have seen some that hasn't failed even at +400k km.
Last edited by MrDisco on Aug 10th, 2021 1:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: thread cleanup
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DiamondDallasPage wrote: Has anyone here done a food delivery job before? I just started a job as a driver for a very busy mom and pop diner in a small city. 95% of the deliveries are short (within 5km) and the longest delivery I get is 10km. 50% of my deliveries are 2km or less. So even on a busy night doing 20 deliveries I don't put on a lot of mileage - one reason why I accepted this job. I was wondering long term, which would put less wear and tear on the car. I am using my 2010 Honda Accord, 4 cylinder for this. Has 186k km.

A) shut the car off each time I do a drop off and again back to the diner or

B) leave the car running but then you have to worry about locking it each time.

If I go with A, should I expect to have to replace my battery, alternator and starter sooner than usual and more often? And anything else?

I can't remember where I read it but I read that 10 secs of idle is equal to one car start.

If I go with B, obviously it will use more gas in the long run but does it make it a huge difference? Especially come winter. Is it best to leave the car running? Starts are much harder in the winter. But gas is super expensive right now, costs me $85-90 to fill up from red.

I find it a pain to have to reach in my pocket for my compustar remote to lock when my hands are full carrying food.

I often see some drivers just park in the middle of the road with newer SUVs and hop out with the car still running. Anyone can just jump in and take off with your car.

I just plan on doing this as a short term job for 1-2 years.
You have a reliable car. If you are doing regular oil changes (ideally with synthetic oil) and have a healthy batter you should be fine. It wouldn't hurt to charge your battery every other weekend to make sure the battery is topped up with the added start/stop cycles.
But if you're delivering to a house and parking in their driveway then it wouldn't hurt to let it run for a minute while you drop off the food.
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I would shut your vehicle off. Leaving it running invites crimes of opportunity. Harder to explain your missing car then replace a starter.
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MP3_SKY wrote: In GTA, there are tons of people driving Luxury car that requires premium octane and other Sports cars to do ubereat or other delivery chain.
Obviously the driver aren't hungry about money, but get a chance to go out and have a chance to drive their car with a "purpose". Face With Stuck-out Tongue And Tightly-closed Eyes

Therefore, not everyone doing delivers having to be cost-effective in gas.

However, probably anything that's not electric are not road worthy in your book. :facepalm:
Could be someone retired and looking for something to do while not being able to travel. Most people don’t have an F350 unless they are pulling something with it.
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I am going to guess the car uses 1.5L/hr idling. But if using AC think 2.5L/hr idling. You can buy a Bluetooth adapter then a phone app to check your vehicle for warm idling usage rate (or see if Dr Google can spit out the answer). Think $2.50-$4/hr for idling at todays rates

Turning it off then on will add wear to the starter and if you are doing so many short trips then you are draining the battery and may not be fully recharging it. This will lead to running out of juice and/or premature battery replacement.

You could consider doing both, turning off at the beginning and leaving running later in the shift.
But will you always remember to do this? Its not easy doing two different things on autopilot.

The leaving a running car unlocked is a big deal. If you have a fob and a spare key then lock it if left running. The spare key is a backup becasue when the fob runs out of battery your going to be screwed without it. I keep a spare key in my wallet.

So i am not sure which one to suggest, either one is not an ideal solution.


All that said the EV suggestion is the best solution but the upfront cost and your likely non long term of doing this probably does not make the numbers add up. I don't suppose an e-bike would work? Winking Face
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It's a no brainer. Shut off the car...you know the thing called climate change? Shocking you have to even consider it let alone ask.

But since so many don't care about our environment another reason why you should is insurance, if it gets stolen.
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This is one of the reasons I would definitely like to see 'micro' EVs offered for local delivery-based businesses.
While people may laugh at their lack of size, features, performance, etc, they are perfect substitute for delivery vehicles within the neighbourhood.
Make them run up to 60km/hr - delivery, come back and charge. repeat.
I read that Quebec used to have Renault Twizy available for rent at $99/month, which is extremely affordable for any businesses.

Sorry OP, didn't want to go off topic - back to your question, I'd suggest to shut it off everytime. Running it idle will do pretty much same level of impact on your car, and it definitely doesn't help sustainability.
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hierophant wrote: It's a no brainer. Shut off the car...you know the thing called climate change? Shocking you have to even consider it let alone ask.

But since so many don't care about our environment another reason why you should is insurance, if it gets stolen.
This is a good point.
The Op should just shut off the car and if they ever run out of battery they can toss a battery charger onto it at home once a week or whatever.
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Many municipalities have laws that prohibit idling. Besides putting wear on your engine, getting zero MPG, polluting... you're risking a ticket. Turn your car off.
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DiamondDallasPage wrote: Has anyone here done a food delivery job before? I just started a job as a driver for a very busy mom and pop diner in a small city. 95% of the deliveries are short (within 5km) and the longest delivery I get is 10km. 50% of my deliveries are 2km or less. So even on a busy night doing 20 deliveries I don't put on a lot of mileage - one reason why I accepted this job. I was wondering long term, which would put less wear and tear on the car. I am using my 2010 Honda Accord, 4 cylinder for this. Has 186k km.

A) shut the car off each time I do a drop off and again back to the diner or

B) leave the car running but then you have to worry about locking it each time.

If I go with A, should I expect to have to replace my battery, alternator and starter sooner than usual and more often? And anything else?

I can't remember where I read it but I read that 10 secs of idle is equal to one car start.

If I go with B, obviously it will use more gas in the long run but does it make it a huge difference? Especially come winter. Is it best to leave the car running? Starts are much harder in the winter. But gas is super expensive right now, costs me $85-90 to fill up from red.

I find it a pain to have to reach in my pocket for my compustar remote to lock when my hands are full carrying food.

I often see some drivers just park in the middle of the road with newer SUVs and hop out with the car still running. Anyone can just jump in and take off with your car.

I just plan on doing this as a short term job for 1-2 years.

If it was me I'd shut it off every time:
-- Idling like that wastes gas and spews emissions needlessly
-- Safer to turn off as a running vehicle is an invitation to theft, even in a small town as bored teenagers are everywhere
-- Many vehicles now come with automatic start/stop and they'll cycle off at stop lights, so it does make sense

If you don't already have one get an inexpensive battery charger/maintainer and use it when necessary overnight if the battery isn't fully recovering from the short trips. Plus, at the very least come winter, make sure you have a set of booster cables in the trunk just in case, or get a battery booster power pack so you can boost the battery to get it started solo and charge it up when you get home. Watch for sales at your local Canadian Tire.
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Quentin5 wrote: This is a good point.
The Op should just shut off the car and if they ever run out of battery they can toss a battery charger onto it at home once a week or whatever.
Are we thinking the 10 seconds of the engine not running while he goes to the door is going to have a detrimental effect on the battery?
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mxthor3 wrote: Are we thinking the 10 seconds of the engine not running while he goes to the door is going to have a detrimental effect on the battery?
The constant restarts do use up battery reserves. If there is not sufficient runtime between stops for full recharging the battery will slowly be drained.

I know someone who was being taught how to drive standard and kept stalling. She unintentionally drained the battery and the car needed to be boosted from so many stalls in a short time and the subsequent restarts. The runtime was not long enough to recharge the battery.

Think of it this way. Lets say starting the car uses 5% of the battery, but you only recharge 2% between many short stops. After 33 starts the battery will be dead. 3% net drain each time.
All these numbers are made up, i don't know the actual numbers for the OPs car.
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Quentin5 wrote: The constant restarts do use up battery reserves. If there is not sufficient runtime between stops for full recharging the battery will slowly be drained.

I know someone who was being taught how to drive standard and kept stalling. She unintentionally drained the battery and the car needed to be boosted from so many stalls in a short time and the subsequent restarts. The runtime was not long enough to recharge the battery.

Think of it this way. Lets say starting the car uses 5% of the battery, but you only recharge 2% between many short stops. After 33 starts the battery will be dead.
All these numbers are made up, i don't know the actual numbers for the OPs car.
He's definitely driving more then he's not. It's not something I'd worry much about. And if for some crazy reason his battery ends up dead, he let's his car idle while he makes his deliveries.

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