Home / Pizza Delivery Is A Dangerous, Expensive Business That Doesn’t Pay Well

Pizza Delivery Is A Dangerous, Expensive Business That Doesn’t Pay Well

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Picture this: You take your wife and four kids to a nice restaurant. At the end of your meal, the waitress presents you with a tab of, oh, say $60. She’s been nice, joked around with the kids, and given you good service. For serving six, she deserves a tip of say conservatively 9 to 15 bucks, or more. The next night, the wife doesn’t feel like cooking; there’s a game on TV, and the kids are chanting Pizza! Pizza! Pizza!.

Do you realize that people will tip a waitress 10-20 bucks to bring your food 20-30 feet from a kitchen to your table, but only give a pizza driver a dollar for the same thing after he’s driven a few miles through rain or snow, cussed at traffic jams, and has been dealing with surly customers all day who complained about how long it took!

Having been a pizza driver for a few major chains, on and off, part and full time, to make ends meet, I’ve seen the pizza business as a customer and a driver.

There are a few things I’d like to point out.

That delivery charge.
Even if he did get all of it, (which he doesn’t) is $1.75 really a fair tip?
Let’s look at the facts.
Usually the driver only gets a dollar of it — if that, depending on the chain he works for. This covers:
A. Gas at nearly, or above, three bucks a gallon.
B. Insurance. His rates go through the roof the moment his provider finds out he’s delivering pizza.
C. Wear, tear, tires, oil changes and maintenance on a car that averaging about 100-125 miles a day (that’s on average about 500 to 750 a week).

He’s paid a lot less than you think he is.
Most places pay pizza drivers at, and sometimes below, minimum wage! Why? They consider them the same as waitresses, and can get away with it. Pizza drivers are expected to make up the difference with their tips – which they have to report at checkout at the end of the day, and pay taxes on.

Drivers do have ways of getting revenge that have nothing to do with tampering with your food.
Think about it. You’ve just loaded three deliveries into your car, and have approximately 20 minutes to get all three of them there. This entails juggling around three or more 2-liters of pop, a couple salads, two or three subs, and three heavy fully-loaded pizza bags that immediately steam up your windows.

In order of the times they were phoned in:
Customer A is two miles away and, because they live so close, they usually get their food within about 10 minutes, always complain, never leave the porch light on, and use the delivery charge as an excuse not to tip. They usually claim they have a multi-dollar-off coupon on the phone, but can’t ever seem to find it at the door. “Well, sorry you can’t deduct it, we were going to use it as your tip!
Customer B is nine miles away, has five kids, and a dog, who always greets you at the door cheering you like a superhero; and though they’re on a tight budget, they always tip about $3.
Customer C is 11 miles away, lives alone in an eldercare facility. You suspect he orders because he’s an older fellow who never gets any visitors. He usually tips $5 and the coin change for your driving all that way out there to make brief, but smiling conversation about the weather or the local sports team.

Tell me, what order would YOU take them in, despite the order they were phoned in. Personally I’d go B-C-A. Others would go C-B-A, but I’ll tell you something: none of them would take customer A first. In my years of experience at this, I’ve tried taking A first and made a big deal about how fast it got there, I joked and smiled a lot, but if they’ve gotten away with not tipping for a while, they’ll never change.

After some recent business reversals, I took to delivering full time. I’ve been disabled since November 2004, because I only had $51 on me during an armed robbery, and three guys didn’t believe that’s all I had, so they beat me over the head with the butt of a .45 automatic. Result: nine staples in my scalp and they broke two ribs. By stomping on me while I was on the ground to keep me from moving, they broke my foot (an implant was needed to replace an irreparable bone), crushed my ankle (couldn’t be repaired and is now fused into one inflexible piece), and fractured my left leg above and below my knee. Eventually, I will require an artificial knee. Total: nine surgeries and one to go, surviving on workman’s comp, and I’ve been declared permanently disabled by Social Security.
Pizza drivers face this danger every day, and in locations you’d think would be the safest place in the world, (in my case 200 yards from the front door of the shop).

Despite all this, you’re going to give that driver only a dollar or less?

Now don’t get me wrong; if the driver has a bad attitude or gives you lousy service, by all means don’t tip. But at the bare minimum he deserves 15 percent.

But that’s only my opinion.

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About Jet Gardner

I like collecting books, music, movies, chess sets and friends
  • jmr

    I delivered for Domino’s for a year, making $4 a hour plus maybe $10 an hour in tips. During this time I was shot at, attacked physically, required to drive in life-threatening weather, and on top of that my insurance rates doubled and I had to get thousands in repairs to my brakes and engine. I had to work 60 hours a week to break even with my rent and bills. NO ONE should delivery drive for anything less than $15 an hour (before tips) and use of a company car so you don’t have to destroy your own. Don’t let the owners sit back and rake in 6-figures a year while you labor at a dangerous job for peanuts. Find a new career.

    • I hear you brother… I hear you. The problem is to give better wages, they raise the prices, to be able to afford it, we need better wages, to give better wages they have to raise prices…….

  • sk

    as a driver my self not only is the areas we deliver to dangerous some times but the traffic you drive through is even more dangerous.

    • Bob Ranch

      Deliver for a good neighborhood then drive an electric or hybrid to off set gas prices. Then life should be peachy.
      (Back to story) r u delivering in a small town with a large radius? Cause in cities you shouldnt have to drive 11miles cause there would be another chain closer to him. I guess your u could be a small chain too…

  • Chris

    I work for an independent that doesn’t pay me any hourly; i’m completely reliant on what the customer tips…there’s a 2.00 surcharge that again; the customer pays on top of what the customer tips; if the delivery is beyond 5 miles one-way then that surcharge goes up to 3.00 boo-fuckin-who…I feel like I’m trapped and would like to get out of this biz badly. And as for the place I work…well; I don’t think they give two fucking shits weather I’m paid in tip or not.

  • Robert

    I agree with you 110%. I actually still deliver part time and just started a different full time job doing technical support. I honestly believe that here in the US we should stop tipping except for exceptional service and, instead, the owners of restaurants should both raise their prices a bit and lower their profit margins a bit to pay their employees a living, professional wage. Not only is it the moral and ethical thing to do, it will benefit the employer because more of their employees will act as professionals.

    • Those who make tips for a living would disagree with you, considering how little greedy pizza companies would raise wages

  • 15% was presented as a minimum tip-not the recommended one. Most don’t tip at all under the excuse that they think the delivery charge goes to the driver.

  • Pizza Man AZ

    I’m sorry to hear about what happened to you, and 15% is not acceptable if your order exactly $10 worth of food thats a little more than a dollar which doesn’t help. Thats why I don’t tip by percentages always tip good $5 or more is a good tip to all driver’s unless your total is $100+ then percentages is okay to use makes sence since $10 would kill us lets say I took 20 deliveries in a day all $10 I’d prob leave with $30 which with 20 deliveries thats so not acceptable and the delivery charge doesn’t count period! If we close we also have to get dinner and gas after midnight usually so the delivery charge goes to that. Just have a heart and give your delivery driver a great tip!

  • It’s my fault Emily- thanks for your thoughts. When you first start delivering you’re always in the back of your mind worried about thar boogieman that’s going to jump out of the shadows and rob you… or worse.

    After days… then weeks… then months… then years you stop worrying and eventually let your guard down.

    I saw my attackers as three young men who needed directions in a confusing apartment complex. After being scared so many times before I started ignoring “the little boy who cried ‘wolf!'” in my head even though I saw every warning sign.

    …and paid the price.

  • Emily T

    I was originally planning on doing pizza delivery to pay for my paramedic school. But if I had to endure what you did that one night, I think I would have lost all hope in humanity! Maybe I’ll look for employment elsewhere..

    Sorry for your agony. Life tends to happen more to some of us than to others huh?

  • At the shop where I worked we took debit/credit cards and the customers would put the tips on the cards forcing the driver to claim our tips in order to get them

  • Amy

    Oh and FYI – Tips are not claimed in my business. The drivers will get paid just over minimum wage(sorry, town of 900 people, can’t afford more then that)and any tips they make is up to them to claim or not. That’s how I was always paid and I intent to keep it that way.

  • Amy

    Thank you for writing this! I was a pizza delivery girl for years and a shift supervisor and assistant manager. Years later I am now in a position to open my own pizza shop. I personally loved my job and yes you get some real asses out there who think that they don’t need to tip anyone. Par for the course. However, now that I am in the owner’s chair, I look forward to treating my employees how I feel they should be treated. You are correct on how we have to put up with beating our cars up, the amount of gas, the horrible customers (at times) and one thing you forgot…..the dog!!! I always enjoyed having your great dane try to give me a hug at the door while I am holding 5 large pizzas and 2 2-liters. LOL!!

  • Rob

    Thanks for your reply. I really appreciate you being so helpful.

    I think about all you’ve been through, & I can’t help being infuriated about how little these companies really care for their employees. A coworker of mine fell while working about 4 years ago & still has problems which the company could care less about.

    I and other employees have been searching for laws regarding the employer making us where the sign on our personal vehicle/without compensation.

    So far we haven’t had any luck, would be nice if the internet searches where more cut and dry when they used return more accurate hits.

    Not sure if I should call DOT, Highway patrol, or some other state agency, to get answers.

    Thanks Jet I hope you the best

  • Kswiss, most of delivery driver’s money comes out of “Mileage” allowances, which aren’t paid if the driver uses a company-owned vehicle.

    Companies would never go “tipless” as it is an excuse to use them as wages, which allowes them to adjust each pay down to minimum wage.

    In some states, the driver has to report how many deliveries he/she took and the state charges income tax on an estimated-average tip… whether the driver got one or not.

  • Kswiss

    How about they just get rid of tips all together? The pizza company can own one or two cars or delivery scooters, then hire people and pay them a fair wage to deliver the pizzas since it is dangerous.

    Did I just say fare wage? Yeah, it probably will never happen, pizza companies here are way too cheap.

  • Rob

    It’s terrible those people did what they did to you & for nothing really.

    If the company you worked for, is anything like the company I work for, they probably done as little as possible for you.

    In the area I live in, since 1987 I know of only 3 times when a pizza driver was attacked, worst injury was a broken arm(over a small order of bread sticks).

    I would think that isn’t to bad, since there’s been far more gas station robberies in that amount of time in this area.

    It would be nice if at least the franchise or corp, would give you life time 1/2 price or something like that, for what happened to you.

  • Rob, you don’t know the half of it, 8 years later I’m still being operated on to repair the physical damage, and I’m still attending Ohio State for severe depression and PTSD.

  • Rob

    I hope I never have to go though what you went through.

    As much as this company has micro managed the care out of their employees, I would no longer be concerned about the financial loss of the employer.

    I would be inclined to make promises to my attackers I would intend to keep, because all the years of putting up with the bull would not be worth a disabling injury.

    I’ve been in some pretty scary situations that turned out okay, but just the stress of a situation can get to you.

  • All of my cars have been convertibles, so I never had that particular problem, in fact just the opposite. We’d get an extra 25 cents per delivery if we agreed to have a car top sign on the car.

    I got around it by creating headrest slip covers with the company logo on it, in the summer months.

    Times change-Corporate america wants the most profits by cutting quality of ingredients and labor costs in the name of their bank accounts.

    I feel for you brother… I feel for you

  • Rob

    I work for at a franchise of national pizza chain.

    The last several years it seems our employer stiffs us any chance they get.

    Now they are requiring us to put a sign on our vehicles, to me the sign symbolizes the commutation of all the bull we’ve put up with from the company. I despise the sign & what it represents to me.

    My attitude toward the company has followed suite with others. I no longer give a hoot what I can do for the company. Now I milk the clock, become wasteful as much as possible.

    Certain upper management personals are morons they don’t realize how much their penny pinching policies cost the company.

  • All I can say BW is considering how long ago I wrote this article-the times and situations haven’t changed. Sometimes delivering pizza is the only job you can find.

    As for how long the waitress is sealing with a customer, consider the time a driver spends getting to and from an address through traffic.

  • BerWilson

    After having read this I would like to say that this sounds intense and like a very unfortunate ordeal. I’m also one to play a devil advocate in these kind of things. (However, I would like to start out by saying that I tip within the 15% to delivery drivers and restaurant waiters/waitress – regardless). As devil’s advocate I’d like to say that there are many issues I feel should be looked at. A person getting involved in any job should learn all of the risks, including the risk of emanate danger. Secondly, drivers have the right to work for minimum wage – if you think it’s unfair – get a job that thinks so as well. I know how hard it is but making excuses for it only provides a crutch to lean on. Another thing is, it is very different to have to be a waiter to a family of 6 for an extended period of time verses the minutes it takes to deliver a pizza at the door way. You aren’t waiting on the kids or the parents for an hour or so, they aren’t causing you problems for hours on end. Plus, that may not be your only stop of the night but it is less work than having to clean up behind those 6 people while still working on the other tables in your section. It’s their job to do those things, just like it is your job to deliver the food to each location and as on time as possible (regardless of weather). Also, I think it would be up to the person that delivers on how much money they tip. If money is as hard up as you make it seem for the delivery member, it could be just as hard up for the person ordering. Maybe that was the last dollar they had and they gave it to you for a tip. I would say in a way a person could find it ungrateful and refuse to order anything further causing the business to lose more money then the amount you lost in a tip that you believe you should have had a right to receive. Okay, I’m done playing the advocate and I’m really not a person here to be mean. As I already said, I make sure to tip properly and even regardless of the way someone treats me, how late, or how messed up my order. Thanks for letting me speak my peace,

  • Reid

    I typically tip 10% online, and keep an extra few dollars to raise it to 20% if the pizza gets there on time, and the driver is curious.

    I once had a driver that came to my front door yelling that I had only given him a 10% tip, so after explaining to him how I had some extra money to tip people for good service his face went completely blank. I never saw him again after reporting his egregious behavior to the manager…

  • Jerry

    As a delivery boy, I know the shit that others have to put up with. That’s why I make sure I give the kid a nice tip, no matter what I order.

  • I can see where that would make you justifiably “furious”

  • Furious Wife

    Although old, this article speaks the truth. My husband is very under-paid in tips. If he does not get tipped he won’t make anything. He does not get breaks, he works his ass off, every day, 12 hour shifts (before going back to his education) and the tips are most often horrible. I’ve always said the same thing how can you tip a waitress who walks five feet to your table, 10 dollars and tip your delivery guy .50 cents for a 15 minute drive, bad weather and more for your expensive Sushi meal. It’ sickening. What is the matter with people?????

  • Glenn, every pizza guy should have a little statue of you on their dashboards… 🙂

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Jet –

    Great article – and one that a lot of us can really relate to. I did my tour of pizza delivery as a second job while I was on shore duty in Hawaii – and it’s as you said. That’s why I always tip well to them.

    In the Philippines, if you dial 911-11, you get Pizza Hut delivery (their “911” is 119). They deliver, rain, shine, traffic, or monsoon, and every time I’ve ordered out (including KFC which also delivers there), I tip them a minimum of about 100 pesos – about $2.20 USD…and every single time they’re shocked, thinking I’ve tipped them too much even though that’s at or just below the 10 percent margin (their pizzas cost as much as ours do (carry out)).

    And my reply to them when they say it’s too much? “You don’t want the money?” I say it with a sincere smile, and of course they take it and are grateful…because that’s half a day’s pay (or more) for some of them.

    For my fellow Westerners, when you go to third-world countries, make very sure you tip well, more than what they’re expecting (tip by Western standards if you can). They’ll be grateful and they’ll give you better service as a result.

  • Thanks Dr. D-backatcha

  • I’m glad I wasn’t there, I’d have bitchslapped the whore and threw her out of line

  • Speaking of ungrateful assholes, a lady yesterday standing in line for free pancakes from a church charity event for the homeless had the nerve to call the health department on her cellphone to complain that the volunteer kids doing the serving weren’t wearing hairnets.

    The health department told them today that they had to stop, so a ton of people called in to donate hairnets to the church.

    Jeasuss Hosanna Christ!

  • Heavens to Mergatroid!

  • Harun just made my evening. Classic comment.

    Merry Xmas, Jet, if you see this.



  • I’m almost afraid to ask what you laughing at Areil

  • ariel


  • ariel


  • salty

    I thought delivering pizza was the best job ever. I made lots of money, always had something in my wallet, and had a lot of freedom while working. However after two years of the good times I got in a stupid accident and found out about all the insurance bullshit. I got covered but I had to fight with my insurance for two months to get my car repaired. Suddenly it became depressing to deliver. Every stiff felt worse, my feeling of humanity became depleted and i have recently decided that I just won’t do it anymore. I don’t know who you people are making this $20 average an hour. For me $13 average with tips, $5 an hour and 30 cents a mile. I worked for a dominoes, which has a large low income housing area right across the street and a navy base with so many young people that don’t know what a tip is. even with the rest of the area being middle income and higher I rarely got a tip over $5.

    I don’t know what I ever did to receive such bad tips. Everything I tried never got me anything. I mean like picking the newspaper off the driveway to hand the customer at their door never even scored me an extra buck. There were some nights that I would get stiffed 3-4 times in a row. Sometimes having to take free pizza to people because the cook forgot not to put onions on it or something, and i didn’t even deliver the bad one!

    I got screwed multiple ways, I was there for two years and i have a good list.

    1. When I was hired they said I had to quit my other job at a small deli because they sold pizza and were somehow considered a competitor. I was promised 4 days a week so I thought it would be ok. well I quit my other job, got 4 days a week, but three of the days i would only be on for 2 and a half hours.

    2. a few months later i decide to pick up some cook shifts to get more hours. Somehow all the cooks quit and I got a 65 hour week. I went on vacation and spent money like I thought I could since I expected a big check when I got back. I came back and amazingly enough my check is only for $150 for a 65 hour week. It took a month for the store owner to pay me in full for all my work.

    3.A new manager gets put in charge and denies me my 15 cents a mile until I get a base pass since i had been there for a year and not gotten one yet. Even though it wasn’t my fault because I had handed in the application multiple times and the pass office always lost it.

    4.Getting the base pass increases my mileage pay yet reduces my average hourly pay because of all the bad tippers and the shortage of base drivers to deliver these crap orders.

    5. my car gets shot by a pellet gun and the owner doesn’t help pay my deductible to get it fixed even though I filled out a police report and it happened after midnight when i was working.

    6. I got in my accident and the store manager says good luck with that, then all of a sudden everyone knows all about this commercial policy bull that I had never known was a problem.

    7. The manager sucks so bad he gets ‘demoted’ to driver and gets all my closing shifts, cutting my weekly gross pay by at least a third.

    If you are wondering why I was there for two years it is because the hours fit my schedual and I enjoyed the freedom.

    anyways don’t cry about only getting $1.2o of the $1.25 delivery fee, and i don’t want to hear about you getting one stiff a night. Have a night where you take 29 runs and only go home with $58 including mileage then you can cry about it.

    thank god i can survive on a small amount of money a week. cooking is so much more relaxing.

  • David

    Though the article is 5 years old, this is really depressing, I am considering getting a job delivering.

  • Oh… well in that case, may his pizzas only be luke warm with a bug in them.

  • Jet! Have some respect for the feted author of Being an Asshole for Dummies!

  • May all your pizzas be cold… you deserve it and more. Personaly when I knew I was delivering to a guaranteed no tip, I’d eat a few pieces of topping off of them.

    I’d never spit or alter the food, they’d just get a couple less pieces of sausage or peperoni than they might have.

    …on the other hand every regular tipper got their deliveries first-people like you can wait

  • James printer

    I would never tip a delivery driver.

  • I was beaten and robbed 200 yards from the front door of our shop. Never assume you’re safe.

    A lot of people think pizza’s a great job, but what you make in tips and puny percent of the delivery fees goes toward monthly oil changes, $50 every other day for gas and insurance and upkeep on the car that you’re beating the hell out of.

    Go with your gut. I delivered pizza between school and careers for twenty years before this happened to me.

  • Oliver O.

    Jet, You’re experience has scared me! I was seriously thinking of taking a job as a driver but now I’m not so sure. I always thought it would be a pretty decent job… at least compared to my job at a Wal-Mart gas station. Now I don’t know what to do!

  • As for the first part of your comment, you’re very, very rare. As to the 2nd part, I can’t think of a thing to add. The measley share of the delivery charge that the driver does get, barely makes up for the vehicle upkeep, gas and monthly oil changes.

  • Shadow

    “There’s no such thing as a pizza driver with a spotless driving record.”

    Yea, I have to call that one out as a lie. I have been delivering for 5 years now and my record is clean as a whistle. I have had many close calls (due to other idiots on the road), but never been pulled over or in any wrecks.

    I found during that time, that speeding is just a pointless waste of gas. You shave maybe a minute or two if that off a delivery, yet can cut your mileage by an easy 20-30%.

    I love this job, as it’s easy work, and still brings in around $600/wk for a measly 24hrs of work. And that’s being in a pretty rural area.

    I do however detest the way most owners act. They’re generally cheap bastards that will never give anyone a raise, have no sympathy for the damage the job does on your vehicle, and expect you to lie to your insurance, and won’t help you at all after a not-at-fault accident.

    Currently, gas here is at $4.15/gal, and my boss still refuses to add any kind of delivery charge to orders. We have free delivery, so if we get stiffed, we make nothing on the order aside from a pathetic 6% commission. That’s totally worth it on a $8 order you have to drive a total of 20 miles for…

  • Yes, the odds are against you when you’re on the road more often than not that you’re going to get a ticket from some enthusiastic rookie cop who sees you all the time in a hurry and wants to “teach you a lesson”.

    There’s no such thing as a pizza driver with a spotless driving record.

    People also hear that you’er “raking in” $80-100 a day and don’t factor in that you use/buy a wallet-emptying full tank of gas every day and a half, and 3000 mile oil changes are once a month, plus the wear and tear on driving a car 8 hours a day and its repair bills.

    Thanks for your comment

  • RBrown

    Great post. I actually can relate to all that hes talking about. My boss hired me under the table and under min. wage (slightly) and kept the whole delivery fee. I got little deliveries and shitty days. I still made 60-100 dollars a night but would refuel for the next day. I was desperate. Now im going to all the hole in the wall delivery places and just asking for shifts certain nights. Its hard with a driving record which isnt perfect but i like it better then retail.

  • You’re welcome. I’m continuously amazed at how many readers adsense says I still get all these years after I’ve written it!


  • A pizza delivery driver

    Thank you for writing this!

  • Saph, I would’ve reported the incident to the manager in detail and demanded the amount he didn’t deserve back.

    it was inexcusable. A driver that demands a tip doesn’t deserve one, and one that won’t confirm the amount or won’t give a receipt should be fired.

    The manager probably would’ve refunded your money and let you keep the pizza. Even if he disputed the theft and wouldn’t refund that part, you’d still have gotten your order for about a third of what you would’ve gotten it for, got the bastard in trouble/written up, and have your satisfaction and the pizzas.

    I’d also have asked the manager to have it put in your file that you never want that specific driver to deliver to you again… and threaten to take your business elsewhere if he does.

    Managers hate to here-“I’ll take my business elsewhere”

    Drivers hate to here “What is your name?”

  • Saph

    opps the amount should have read $39.40. I even missed that proofreading it twice

  • Saph

    Strangley last night after reading some online comments about a pizza place we regularily order from (about twice per month). I saw some pretty negative cmments about the delivery. the food itself got 5/5 stars and delivery only got 1/5

    Anyways, I knew the cost was supposed to be $39.60, and I put $45 in my usual spot by the door so whoever it was easiest for could answer the door.

    As usual the guy spam rings the doorbell Which is really not needed… I’ve even told him that before, but he barks impolitely to me that he is in a hurry; seems like a bad excuse to ring the doorbell 20 times in the 15 seconds it takes one of us to get to the door…

    Anyways, my 17 year old son answers the door and attempts to confirm the amount.
    (after giving him only $40 with the other $5 in his hand).
    The driver starts freaking out on him. “Wheres the rest” “wheres my tip.” “it’s raining outside” My son WAS going to give him the other $5 after he confirmed the amount, but wow… I heard the enitire conversation.

    My son was actually quite pissed off the driver took the 0.60 because after that he didn’t really deserve a tip. It took nearly an hour to settle him down (yes I know my son has issues, and that has nothing to do with the driver)

    Even though they have great pizza, after tonight like many of the other reviews I read I may not be ordering from them again. I do have about a dozen other options.

    My question is; is it actually theft when a driver walks off with an amount such as 0.60? I know it is assumed that they get a tip, but, legally in BC Canada we do not HAVE to give tips. (Like I said normally its not a problem.) Someone else had also said that the driver refused to give $5 in change for the same pizza place in the reviews.

  • I had a cop lose control of his cruiser and plow into me (I was sitting still waiting out a red light) while he was on a persuit call and the city wouldn’t pay using “eminent domain” for the damage to a customized Cobra Thunderbird I’d just bought for business trips. (I was a professional artist and delivered pizza during slow periods)

    Insurance companies, lawyers and body shops regularly cruise police reports for wrecks to send out junk mail, and mine saw the employer listed on the police report. (I wasn’t even working there at the time)

    I’d never cost them a dime, but they dumped me, even after I lied and told them I was in management… the fuckers.

    I told another insurance company the truth and my premiums jumped from $72 per six months to $689. They let me pay 6 months of that just to milk me and then dumped me anyway.

    That’s why pizza drivers have no choice but to lie.

  • G

    I also think I remember the application saying I had to tell my insurance company. It was probably a universal application used for all branches but I will know for sure when it comes time for interview/hiring process.
    Would Papa Johns cover me in case of accident?
    Would any pizza place? I just found this article.

  • G

    Ok I had just applied to Pizza Hut and the manager wanted to hire me but they found somebody else who had previous experience. I am still on hold. I went to apply to Papa Johns and it asked for my Insurance company and policy expiration date on the application. I am already strapped on money so I need a job and I thought this would be a decent way to make money while I’m young. I don’t want to get dropped from my parent’s insurance plan if they find out. I’d be willing to tell my insurance company if it weren’t such a drastic increase but I don’t know how much it would be. How did they find out you were delivering pizza? Did you ever get a quote for delivering pizza from your insurance company?
    Thanks for such quick responses.

  • G, I wish it weren’t true… or even necessary, but 99% of all pizza drivers don’t tell their insurance companies that they deliver pizzas.

    I personally was dropped by two of them the moment they found out I delivered, before giving up and lying to Allstate and telling them I drove 10-25 miles a day.

    Pizza drivers are some of the most experienced at getting out of and avoiding accidents, suicidal pedestrians, and retarded drivers, but try to convince your insurance carrier of that.

    All pizza shops insist that you show proof of insurance, but nearly none of them actually check to see if you’ve got extra for delivery.

    thanks for your comment

  • G

    Do you have any idea on Papa John’s policies with delivering etc? What would it do to an 18 year old’s insurance? No previous accidents or points on record. I’d be driving my used Ford explorer 2001 with 99k miles. Thanks

  • If someone is considerate enough to express their opinion, I’m happy to acknowledge them.

    Happy holidays

  • Anthony

    Still answering comments on this page after 4 years… wow… props to you bro.

  • Didn’t make much of a difference in the suburbs. I followed all the rules and was still jumped less than 200 yards from our front door.

  • sarge

    btw jet, did you happen to get better tips when osu wins and a lot of stiffs when they lose? we all got stiffed when wisonsin won and huge tips when we beat michigan at our store

  • sarge

    also, jet hope things are working better physically now that the surgery is done

  • sarge

    on a related note, i was a former army ranger and green beret, gave most of the other drivers at my store a class on anti-theft safety, ill highlight some of the better points: 1 be alert, check bushes, corners, nearby parked cars with people in them; 2 carry a good led pocket flashlight, can be used to see house numbers, tickets (when no porch light) or as a weapon (blinding and as an imrovised brass knuckle;)3 carry yourself with an air of authority, look suspiscious people in the eye without fear, (most crooks arent willing to get a murder case for the 20 bucks you have on you, want an easy target and will leave you alone if you look like trouble, if you look like a target, you’ll be one, if you look/carry yourself like an undercover cop, people will think twice;)4 dont know about other chains, but ours puts new customer at the top of receipts with no previous orders, be extra alert on those run; 5 never go inside anywhere thats not a retirement home (several drivers in my store were robbed that way) call the customer and have them meet you outside, if you explain it you usually still get the pity tip for having a dangerous job, and if you dont at least youre safe; 6 take the 2 minutes to drop/lockup your cash between runs, if someone sees a wad of cash youre a target, if they only see 2 5’s and a few ones, usually not worth it; 7 dont let anyone who is not the customer youre delivering to approach you for any reason, look over your shoulder constantly; 8 find a method of intimidation, (loud death metal works for me, people think im nuts, leave me alone and still tip) or obvious self defense, ie large knife taser or gun, while you may not be able to bring them in the store, you can hide the empty holster/sheath under your jacket (or if youre lucky like me all they care about is that its not in the store) and arm yourself when you get to your car, making the device visible while on the run; 10 last but not least, be alert and use common sense, same as #1 but that important, if its a new customer in a bad area, wont answer their phone, all the lights are out, and theres a parked car with the engine running and 3 guys in hoodies sitting in it, dont get out of your car, its a set up, most managers will understand if you didnt feel safe making that run and will let you wait till the customer calls back (if they ever do) to make a second attempt

  • I was robbed and almost beaten to death at the Tamarack Circle Donatos 11/6/2004-I’m still on workman’s comp. Last operation to fix all of the damage was Nov 4th of this year… six years later

  • sarge

    currently a donatos driver for columbus, few things to add, depending on your area, shift helps/hurts with tips, downtown lunch is better (businesses with big orders and tips) suburbs (my store is bexley/whitehall) dinner/closing is where you make your money. 2 learn to do basic work on cars yourself, saves $$$$, get a hanes manual for any car you own, do your own oil changes, tune ups and brakes, only have to pay for parts, not labor, still have to pay for major repairs and tires, 3 there is an area in most delivery tickets for special instructions, our store drivers use that to communicate good and bad tippers with an asterisk, plus or minus sign around the directions, if customer sees receipt, none the wiser; 4 if someone is scarfing (we call it sandbagging at our store)and you can prove it by order# and checkout times, bring it up to a manager, we fired one we caught doing it repetitively

  • It gets even worse shawn when a company requires you to drive a company vehicle once a week, in which case you get NONE of the delivery charge at all, but they still think it’s a tip.

    What little you keep of that delivery charge goes right into the gas tank every other day for diving between 80-110 miles A DAY, not to mention oil changes, tires and maintanance.

  • shawn

    driver dosn’t get any of the d charge ur mistaken josh before the d charge we got .80cents per run and now we get 1.20 so the d charge is 1.99 and i get 40 cents more .. not a dollar more the per run monies could even be .20 per mile or something it is required by law to be given to driver the d charge is not called a tip charge and dosnt go to driver it in fact disrupt the tip by confusing customer and new employees and often they say we get part of it but atlas misunderstanding that the big pizza chains have yet to resolve now dominions is getting sued and papa js is wise and putting ! of it on box’s and receipt . cause we dont get any of it we still need the tip the government says we need 17% i get paid under min wage
    via tip credit look it up …
    please sue the d charge robbs the driver of monies i mean where do you think that extra 1.99 comes from the driver pockets thats where. i mean its not being paid for actual pizza like lets say .25 more fore each pizza ….. why not just do that

  • Granted, but what’s the sense if you have to blow your profits on a new junker every six months?

  • Canker

    Well I used to deliver for Domino’s 25 years ago in Leesburg Va. It was the first pizza delivery place in the town. I was 19 at the time. I made $15-$20 an hour back then. I drove cheap $500 or less toyotas or Nissans until they blew up they usually lasted 6 months to a year. Gas was cheap can’t remember for sure but under $1.50.
    Anyway it just goes to show how bad our economy has been and has become when 25 years can pass and people are still making the same wage.

  • jones

    if pizza wasnt so expensive then maybe people would tip more but 20+ dollars on average for most pizza places for one pizza isnt going to get anyone a big tip

  • The only way to make that much is by scarfing up good runs off of everyone else out of order and leaving the garbage for everyone else-which by your attitude probably describes you to a tee, and you probably leave with 5-6 deliveries at a time and with 6 minutes as a fantasy delivery time, the last one you deliver got there a minimum of 36 minutes later than it needed to-which means you don’t give a damn about your customers.

    Don’t try to convince me that you’re getting $5 tips per run or that you deliver exclusively to hotels… that’s bullshit.

  • I don’t know where the hell you worked, but it obviously wasn’t in the real world and you’re probably a franchisee or a manager or something.

    No one makes all the delivery charge and I was in the pizza industry as both a driver manager and supervisor for Domino’s for years.

  • Josh

    “And in these times-people actually do think that the driver gets all of that delivery charge WHICH HE DOESN’T and use it as an excuse not to tip at all.

    If that’s your attitude you deserve cold pizzas for the rest of your life.”

    Have any of you people ever actually worked as a driver? At the Dominos I work at, the delivery charge is $1.20 and the driver keeps $1.00 of it. My nephew works at Pizza Hut and they keep 100% of the delivery charge.

    Drivers generally LIE and tell customers that they don’t get the delivery charge in order to get bigger tips.

    Personally I love the job and I love making $21-$22 per hour to drive around listening to music.

  • He was probably one of those non-tipping bastards Jordan… and those must’ve been one hell of a good pizzas

  • Jordan Richardson

    I used to deliver pizza for a small independent shop and that job tore the living hell out of my car. I went through countless starters on my poor vehicle.

    At least in those days gas prices were somewhat decent, all things considered, but, like Jet points out, the oil changes and other crap pile up. It practically becomes a job you pay to do, amazingly enough.

    And yes, I do know of more than a handful of pizza shops and other delivery outlets that pay less than minimum wage. I know of one in particular that paid drivers only in free pizza and “graciously” let them keep their tips. How the bastard had any drivers at all was beyond me.

  • Thanks Jordan. In some states Josh, it is indeed legal to pay pizza drives less than minimum wage. In fact most states actually guestimate what you get in tips and tax you for it whether you get them or not.

    Also when you factor in a monthly oil change for driving 3000 miles per, new tires every six months and the wear and tear on the car that’s just barely holding together, pizza drivers are getting less than minimus wage.

    And in these times-people actually do think that the driver gets all of that delivery charge WHICH HE DOESN’T and use it as an excuse not to tip at all.

    If that’s your attitude you deserve cold pizzas for the rest of your life.

  • Jordan Richardson

    People seem to have no problem with the irony that they’re paying a food server way more than they make themselves in their white collar job

    Absolute bullshit. What kid dreams of growing up to become a waiter because he/she can pocket so much more bank than a “white collar” job?”

    Fact is that serving food is a pissy job where you deal with pissy customers and MAYBE receive decent tips every now and then. It’s a generally thankless job and waiters are, by and large, the first in the line of fire if anything in the overall service of the establishment is out of sync with the precious customer.

  • Josh

    This is relatively BS. I’ve worked pizza delivery several times, and they do not ever pay less than minimum wage, at least at major franchises like Domino’s, Papa John’s, etc.

    I agree that tips for drivers look low (even though you easily average $21-$22 an hour including your tips and mileage reimbursement, so it’s nothing to complain about) if you compare them to waiters.

    But the fact of the matter is that waiters are overtipped, rather than drivers being undertipped. People seem to have no problem with the irony that they’re paying a food server way more than they make themselves in their white collar job, when you consider that waiter is probably getting the same tip from at least 3 other tables in the same hour. $15×4+base pay, per hour.

  • Par for the course. I was a driver, manager and supervisor there. Comrades in arms.

  • Seb

    I delivered pizza for dominos, i loved the job and my boss was really cool, but i felt like i could of been payed alot more. 6 an hour+1 dollar a delivery+tips. I would make an average of 14-17 an hour, but thats excluding gas. (on fridays/sat around 18-21). I worked there for a year and never got a raise, had a bunch of mechanical problems on my car which i fixed myself so i just payed for parts. But in the end, I think I was a bit underpayed.

  • Mike

    Im a pizza delivery driver, and I totally understand the s**t you have just been explaining. It’s even worse in the UK, $7.38 per gallon! Lucky to get 70 cents for a tip, one time, a person actually waited for the change for a £9.90 order after giving me a £10 note. Shocking. It’s the last time i will try to get to her address quickly, she can go last from now on. Even if she’s the closest person on the deliveries and has been waiting the longest. Good luck with your surgery and things, does it affect your driving, clutch foot?

  • Sorry for the rambling on Roger, I hope that helped?

  • Mine too Roger. I was an assistant area supervisor here in Columbus for a while before I got several businesses of my own going on the west coast.

    Mr. Monaghan [sic] invited me to his office in Ann Arbor Michigan once. He had leather walls-I’m not kidding, and a real herd of buffalo in the back of the property as a publicity stunt promoting his buffalo wings, and yet he is so catholic that he was building a catholic’s-only city in Florida with his profits that would adhere to his strict law. Drug stores couldn’t sell birth control and Doctors had to be cleared through him.

    His board of directors took control when he wanted to build an office building that looks a “leaning tower of Pizza” that was supposedly designed by Frank Lloyd Wright-his hero.

    Their headquartes is on FLW drive.

    He sold out to some holding company, but I have no idea who owns it now.


    Most Domino’s are owned by an area franchisee and as long as they adhere to strict company guidelines, they can pretty much do as they think they can get away with regarding the way they treat their people.

    All pizza companies are pretty much the same way.

    You want to pick one that gives generous allowances for deliveries. I had one who consiered 30 hours full time so he never had to pay overtime, vacations or offer benefits, so pick and choose carefully.

    Of course in this economy beggars can’t be choosers.

    Good luck

  • roger

    Thanks Jet for you info and return comment.
    No I really didn’t want the job in the first place, just thought I did. All I want
    from this “person” was a valid reason. Sorry for my anger but guy really ticked mr off!!

  • roger

    Domino’s Pizza practices discrimanation when hiring and because it is North Carolina,there is nothing you can do about it. They claim to no.1 in the world and it is only because of the way they treat thier employees. If it were in my power the —–
    company would be bankrupt.

  • Roger, in some states they don’t even have to list a reason for firing you. However, there is a federal law against age discrimination. If you’re bound and determined to work there, threaten their district manager with a lawsuit, and if he folds under pressure ask for a job at one of the other locations. Or at least contact your local labor-relastions board and ask them to give you the particulars in your state.

  • roger

    In North Carolina if the person doing the hiring does not like your “vibe” he will tell you that the won’t be hiring you and they are not even required to give you a reason. I am a 63 year old 20+ year US Navy retired vet and have been with the US Postal Service for 20+ years. I applied at Domino’s as a driver. Had to increase the liability on my vehicle and pay for driving report. After all this , I was told over the telephone that they would not be hiring me and would not give me a reason and then hung up on me. I think thatr after having read the comments on this subject, thge guy probably did me a favour.

  • franz chong

    I am Australian and find the whole job demeaning I am only in it for the money and the ability to have Christmas Off every year away from having to face the family and the hours other than that I owuld get out If I could for something better

  • Brian

    there is no law that lets any city vehicle get by with causing property damage of any kind without being held accountable,that is just false,my city has paid out million dollar lawsuits in some cases

  • Michael Sanders

    I’ve delivered for Domino’s, Pizza Hut, Pizza Inn, some independent pizza restaurants, and for regular restaurants. What I’ve noticed is that you are better off dispatching then driving. No job is worth getting shot for a pizza that maybe costs $10 on average. I’d rather be safe and make less money than die for an extra $20 per nite, in tips, if you’re lucky. Most of the time, nobody tips. My girlfriend delivered pizza for a couple years, and she’s georgious. Yet, men only flirted with her and asked her out, but seldom tipped. A few played grab-@#$ with her, and it was all she could do to keep from getting raped. The women she encountered were rude and cheap. One female customer was high, answered the door naked, and punched my girlfriend in the face, then tried to kiss her (psycho). But, neverminding the freaks, you’ll never escape the danger. My one good experience with food delivery was as a bell captain at a nice hotel in Burbank, CA. Almost every customer tipped. Most people who stay at fancy hotels are from out of town, or having affairs (good for tips). Still, if you really want to make money, start your own restaurant delivery business like I did. And, permit your drivers to carry weapons, if they have a permit. My local police dept. knows all about it. None of my drivers have gotten robbed, because every one of our drivers are equipped with two-way radios, cell phones, stun guns/tazers, batons, and signs on their GPS-equpped vehicles. Our insurance carrier offers an affordable policy for delivery drivers. As long as we’re not transporting people or dangerous goods, the rates are inexpensive. We only hire drivers with clean driving records and no criminal history. Plus, we only deliver to confirmed addresses. The restaurants we deliver for are each aware of our policy. The scum bags who rob/beat delivery drivers represent maybe 2% of the population, yet commit 98% of the serious crimes. We never deliver to an area known for crime. We never deliver to an unknown address, parking lot, rural areas, or unlit locations at night, either. If you live out of town, we will meet you at a very public place. And, we only deal with plastic. And, the name on the card has to match caller ID. We stay busy. But, more importantly, we stay safe because we know what we’re doing. When customers call in their order, we record the phone call. If nothing bad happens, the call is erased that night. Also, when our drivers are talking to a customer, we know their exact position, as each driver has GPS on their car. Plus, they wear a blue-tooth headset, and are required to call in, so that we can record and monitor the transaction. We tell the customers about this when they call. If they don’t like it, we don’t want their business. And, yes, we charge $5 per delivery on top of the food order. Half goes to the driver. Almost every customer complains. But, we remind them that they chose to call us. We are the only service of our kind in the area. But, even competition wouldn’t phase us. We’re doing great. Good luck to all of you still at it.

  • Ryan

    I deliver pizza in Canada in a fairly large town. The job is not to dangerous in my area but I always expect the worst. On a buzy weekend (friday and saturday) I would work closing hours from 5pm – 3 am and make $200.00 Canadian. I walked away after 20 hrs of work on the weekend with around $400 canadian cash. I work for pizza pizza and not only do we deliver we are constantly working behind the counter doing food prep. We never have a chance to rest. We get paid $7/h + tips.

  • Anon

    In my one year as a pizza boy, I made over $60,000. I got paid $4 an hour untaxed, the rest was tips.

  • Joe

    I know this thread is kind of old, but it is still relevant. I am about to start Graduate School, and with all of the pitfalls that Pizza Delivery gives, it is still hour for hour the best part time job you can get. Especially if you are in college/grad school and regular hours are just not reasonable. Look at it this way, I have a Bachelor’s degree already, so I can make $350-$500 a week (depending on the week and time of year, I’ve made more during the Christmas season). This is at a job that averages about 3-5 hours per shift. If you are in college or need a second job, here are the facts laid out by a six year veteran of the pizza delivery industry (South Scottsdale, near Arizona State University, a very busy area):

    Advantages of delivering pizza:

    1. Unlike waiting tables, you are paid up front. Once you drop everything off, you are done with that customer.

    2. As someone who used to wait tables, I found that delivering pizza had a much quicker turn-around during the rush. If I could average two double runs per hour, that’s a pretty solid $20 an hour after tips, wages, and mileage. On New Year’s Eve on year, I made $90 in less than 3 hours because people were drunk and happy.

    3. It’s absolutely brainless work. If you can drive a car, you can do this job.

    4. Instead of standing on your feet all day with no place to escape from customers, you can get in your car, turn up the tunes, and chill out after a tough delivery.

    5. It’s a very easy job to get. One of the few that cares little about your background. If you are in a bind for money and jobless, they are almost always hiring somewhere.

    The Cons:

    1. You will destroy your car. If you have access to a reliable but disposable vehicle (and few people on this income do), then use it. If you have a nice car, it won’t stay nice long. I wore out two cars doing this job. Mainly clutch/transmission problems. If you do this 5 days a week like I did and still go to school/commute, you will buy new tires every 6-8 months and average an oil change every 3-4 weeks.

    2. There is danger involved with this job. I never have been robbed, but my philosophy is that the worst thing they can do if they find my Tazer or Colt in the car is fire me. I have a C&C permit so the worst thing that happens is that I get fired and live to find another job. These companies care far more about their image than your safety. In all honesty though, most drivers don’t get robbed anymore. Your biggest danger comes from the next item on my list:

    3. …traffic danger. You are far more likely to get killed or injured in a wreck. The thing you will notice is that the more you drive, the stupider other drivers become. My years of driving has made me one of the safest people on the road, but I am more aware of how many idiots are out there. Compound this job with any kind of rough weather, and you’re in for a real treat.

    4. Your insurance company will rape you if they find out. If you get in an accident on the clock, you had better hope that your vehicle catches fire, because fire is the only way to completely destroy evidence that you were driving on the clock. You could always get commercial insurance, but if you are a college student, you probably can’t afford that.

    Overall, I liked the job. It was quick, easy, mindless work and I was able to set my own schedule. With school, working 3 hours a night beat working 8 hours for less money.

  • Eric

    I have been brought up on tipping. I tip many waiters, waitresses, pizza guys, and new LABite.com guys. I always tip them well over 15% because they are bringing me food from LA Food Show or Cheesecake Factory. The other days a lady working hot dog stand at dodger stadium got a two-dollar tip for a 6 dollar shake because in the middle of food rush-hour at Dodger Stadium she was kind enough to take my shake order, leave her register to go to the other side, and witness hand make it with whipped cream and caramel sauce. She deserved a lot more than two dollars but thats all I had

  • Chris, click on my URL and scroll down to the chapter marked Nov. 6, 2004… and thanks for leaving a comment

  • I was a pizza delivery driver for 2 years and used to work at several different pizza places around Seattle area. I can say that it really depends on what the location of the pizza restaurant is. The difference in the tip varies a lot. The average tip in the first pizza I worked at Romio’s pizza on Lake City Way in Seattle was about $3 per delivery.

    Then I moved to a different place on the Capitol Hill and the tip there was about $4. The name of the pizza I worked was Padrino’s Pizza and Pasta and it was a local pizza. What I noticed at that time is that you make a lot more money if you work for the small individual pizza places and not for the big pizza chain companies.

  • Andrew, I worked at the Ohio State Campus in my off season for my art business for a long time. Delivering to the short north up on north fourth and East 8th… you know how dangerous that is.

    I got tired of being scared all the time and took a job at Donatos on Tamarack Circle thinking it was safer up near 161 & Cleveland Ave.

    If you want to see what happened, click my URL and scroll down to Nov. 6-a pizza delivery nightmare…

  • Good blog. I sorta found this on a search, looking for which pizza shop pays best for delivering. I currently work for a Papa John’s on the Northeast side of Columbus. I specifically chose that store, although it’s about 10 miles from my house, because it’s in an affluent part of town – which, in my head anyway, increased the chance of higher tips and decreased the chance of getting robbed. So far, the tips have been ‘eh’ but I havn’t been robbed yet. Knock on wood.
    You would think this being Memorial weekend and all, that folks would be buying pizzas by the buschel… but sales were a little flat.
    I deliver part time in the evenings simply to have extra cash on hand for bills and whatnot. The recent rise in gas prices is hurting though. It seems like I can average $40-50 a night in take home, but at least $10 of that has to go back into the tank. Sooner or later I will have to replace my brakes and tires as well. I drive a Mazda 3 so we’re looking at probably over $800.00 for that.
    I’m almost tempted to drop $1000 on a beater car and garage my Mazda, just to save money, as well as wear and tear.
    What really irks me though is the fact that places like Papa Johns will charge customers a $1.85 to deliver their pizza, yet kick only $1.00 back to the drivers. They should just raise the delivery fee to $2.00 and give all of that to the driver. After all, most of the public thinks that we are pocketing all of that deleviry fee.
    Still, it’s a fun job and most of the people I deliver to and work with are pretty nice.

  • Mark, there are many cases where you wouldn’t have to pay taxes on your tips. Some states allow for full time students to not pay taxes on them.

    I always claimed about 10 percent of my actual tips at check-out time. The IRS gets a report from your employer and just assumes you claimed all of them.

    Of course I’m not a lawyer…

  • Mark

    hey jet. Read a good portion of the comments here, and also read your article. Ive been working for papa johns for a few months now and have gotten quite curious about tax writeoffs excetera. Im 19 years old, and havent really dealt with taxes before. I know that my papa johns records every night, how many delivers I had, and approximately how many miles I went. It only records credit card tips, because those are the only ones that we report, nobody in my store reports the cash or check tips. Say I work for 6 months. making 800-1000 dollars a month and then quit. How much do you think my tax return could be I I filed the 1040 EZ? Sorry for the long message, but yeah i’ve been looking ALL over for this. Thanks mate.

  • Was that a comment or a commercial?

    What you make does differ from company to company, just as it differs between neighborhoods.

    Just remember this: the more you make, the more you brag about making, the more likely you’ll get robbed.

    I worked in the imfamous short north area of Columbus for nearly 10 years constantly afraid of being robbed or becoming a victim of “the short north posse”.

    Finally I changed jobs to what was generally considered a safer area and was robbed and nearly beaten to death.

    It’s how careful you are, and how much you let your guard down because you think you’re safe my friend. Never forget that.

  • Derek

    I just started working at Papa Johns about 2 months ago as a delivery driver. I previously worked at Dominos as a driver and there is a huge difference. Papa Johns has a higher quality pizza and serve what seems to be an entirely different demographic than Dominos. You wont ever see a special for a large pepp at Papa Johns for $5.99. In fact, the cheapest special we have right now for a single pizza is a large italian meats pizza for $11.99. Thus, we tend to serve customers that are middle and upper-middle class who tip much more frequently (and better) than I remember the Dominos customers ever doing. There is a HUGE difference in so many ways. I deliver to a lot fewer trailers and shady areas at Papa Johns than I did at Dominos. The last 3 days I worked around 20 hours and came home with $172 in gas and tips. That averages out to be about $14/hr when you include min. wage. Basically what I’m saying is the pizza place where you work factors into how much you make just as much as the area you work in.

  • Keri

    Sam #79,
    Pontiac’s are terrible cars. I had a 99 Grand Am for two years (04-06) and the breaks went out, along with other things, with less than 150,000 miles on it. I suggest a different car. The Sunfire will be sure to break again after fixing it this time. As far as I know, Honda’s and Toyota’s are most reliable, they last forever so buying used it perfect and you wont need another car for a very long time.

  • andrew

    I deliver pizza for dominos and in my area i usually only get less than a dollar once a week. i get stiffed maybe once a month. they pay 6.15 and hour plus 1.15 a house plus tips..i average around 18-19 dollars and hour. i worked as a waitor at friendlys for about a year and i make more money in tips delivering than i did serving, with a whole let less stress.

  • Sam, I hope the car’s being diagnosed by someone reliable. My experience with my transmission was that the shop said I needed a new one, so I took it to a different place and they said it was the linkage, which saved me hundreds of dollars.

    $1000 is a good deal on the car but don’t forget the amount of hell you’re about to put it through. If it costs you a ton just for upkeep, it’s not worth it, and do some research.

    I bought a ’96 sebring convertible for the fun of it, and one of the sparkplugs went bad on it, and they said it’d cost around $500 to replace it because the side-mounted engine was wedged in so tightly that the top of the engine would have to be disassembled to get to it behind the firewall. That’s why they have 100,000 mile spark plugs.

    My ’04 Sebring was engineered differntly so I don’t have that problem but you’d be shocked at the hidden costs you’d never think of. If my new car ever blows a headlight it’ll cost $75-why? the entire front facia has to be romoved just to get to the bulb!

    Good luck.


  • Bliffle

    Well I’m delivering my own pizza to the table in 10 minutes. Safeway pizza, $3.50 and it’s square! Thin crust, too, the way god intended.

  • Sam Ellenbogen

    To Jet :

    You’re absolutely right.. I did forget to mention that the car is a 3 speed automatic. Its got 148,000 miles on it. Everything in the car works great, (except the horn doesn’t work)

    I’m having a diagnostic on it this coming thursday, I feel that its important that I find out what is wrong with it before I go and buy another car. Although, I did find an offer for a 94 chrysler lebaron convertible for 1,000 with 112,000 miles on it. Pretty good deal there.

  • Bliffle, are you trying to goad me into telling tales about some of the guys I’ve gotten delivering pizza?


  • Unfortunately Dave, with people fo that income level, it’s cheaper to fix the tranny than to buy another car, even though it’d make more sense to replace it.


  • Bliffle

    OK Jet, maybe you don’t get the pay and they stiff you on the tips and you wear out your own car. But I happen to know, based on my own extensive research into the many fine Anthropological films of one “Christy Canyon” that the Pizza Guy always Gets The Babes! Oh, wait a minute…you’re gay! You don’t WANT The Babes!

    Never mind.

  • Let’s hope it’s the clutch, because replacing the transmission in a car that cheap and that old isn’t worth the cost.


  • Sam, You didn’t mention whether it was an automatic or a manual.

    If it’s a manual, you may have blown your clutch or your throw-out bearing.

    However if it’s an automatic, I’d suspect that you’ve damaged the linkage between the shift and the transmission, which would explain why you only have reverse and neutral.

    In any case the best thing to do if you can’t drive it, is to put it up on jack stands and drain the tranny. Get a good flashlight and a magnet if you can find one. if the fluid has metal particles in it, it’s the transmisttion, if not it’s the linkage or the clutch.

    Lots of pizza guys remember to change the oil every 3000 but forget the transmission fluid, it could be something a simple as being low, or the fluid is fried. However the loud noise leads me to believe it’s the linkage.

    Hope this helps.

  • Sam Ellenbogen

    I’ve been doing pizza delivery for dominos over the past year, and I’ve got a question for all the other drivers out there. I believe my transmission may have went the other night, my car only has reverse now. On a run, it suddenly made a loud rumbling noise underneath the hood and began revving up like it was in neutral while I gave it gas, but it was actually in drive. What do you guys think, is it worth it to fix it? It could cost me 500-1000 dollars to fix, and my car is a 98 pontiac sunfire. I bought the car from another guy at work for 1500 about 6 months ago. I’m trying to decide if I should get a different vehicle or fix this one.

  • Kelly, you didn’t mention it, but I assume you went to the hospital. Since you were injured on the job, they should’ve covered the bill.

    If they didn’t you could sue. If they did, thet means they owe you a percentage of your pay (usually 80%) which is next to nothing unless you’ve been claiming all of your tips. If you have been claiming your tips, they owe you thouse too, as they’re part of your taxable income.

    They’re counting on you being flacid about this. Fight for your rights.

    Trust me, I feel for you.


  • Kelly

    Worked for Dominos for approx 2 weeks, VERY good area, always top tips. Store employee took an order and processed it w/ wrong suite number.(I was not aware of this) It was approx 9:30 pm when creepy guy answered door and was eating pizza already. Said my pizza order was not his. I headed back to the car I had to go down 3 flights of stairs. I missed judged and skipped the last step prior to the landing and fell full body weight on my fully twisted ankle. I now have a broken foot. I am in a cast to my knee. I have a 20 month old daughter I care for everyday and I am hobbling on crutches. She wants to play but I cant chase her. How is dominos with workers comp insurance? I have never had a work related injury before this. I took the crappy job to help pay some minor bills and now I am totaly unable to pick up my daughter. I have no one to help me. Do I need an attorney? I have shooting pain up my leg from my foot. This is awful. Think twice about this type of work. Any psycho could have grabbed me and killed me at any time. My tips were always high because I am a nice friendly person, but I will say also an attractive blond. I am just unsure of what to do at this point. All I know is my foot really hurts!

  • skunk3gr3, welcome to the converstation. I have but one suggestion, I worked for Dominoes for 10 years and sooner or later they will catch up to you putting coupons in and pocketing the money.

    I’ve worked in management and as a driver, so take my word and ease out of it as fast as you can the computer generates percentage of coupons reports and if your’s is higher that most others you’ll be watched, if you aren’t being already.

    I used to take my car top sign home with me too and it does indeed get you out of speeding and parking tickets.

    We gave the cops free pizza and they’d follow us around to the bad neighborhoods.

    Another thing, rookie cops will get to know your car and resent their more experienced partners not ticketing you, then watch for when you don’t have a sign on your car.

    Be careful, as I’ve said, I nearly got beaten to death a block or so from our front door.


  • skunk3gr33n1

    I have to add this link as for me its all true.


  • skunk3gr33n1

    I have worked for Dominos in COlumbia, MO for 7 years, and this is the most relevent discussion I have ever heard ( err. Read .) I want to say that I average 20-50 a night, more on weekends. This is a College town with Mizzou and all, and I get to see lots of gorgeous ladies, thats cool. I had a stellar night tonight, and didnt get stiffed once. Ethnics here don’t tip, but they only order twice a month, and the tippers usually order 1 a week, the good far outweighs the bad. I have a lot of regulars, that I like and they consequently get their order first, and usually within 15 to 20 mins, where the hood down the street gets theirs last. I have worked as a truck driver, and packer for a moving company, and also for a factory, and this is the only job where I have money all week, and never need to pinch pennies later in the week, if I need more money I go to work for a few hours. This is also the only job I’ve had that gets me money come april 15th. In all the other jobs I ended up owing money, but with delivery, I go to H&R block, and get 300-400 back, after they count up the miles, and fuel receipts and cell phone bills. Keep your receipts, and a running log of your miles each night. Here are some of our stiffing clues:

    1) Order a “Sprite Soda”
    2) Ask for “Grape Drink”
    3) change in hand at door

    Race doesn’t seem to play a factor here, I have good black customers, and bad white customers, but it only takes me one stiff to remember them, and then next time deliver their order appropriatly.

    I dont know if I can tell you this, but to make money I work day shift, and take phone orders, but charge full price then when they hang up put in coupon codes to get an extra 3-15 bucks.

    Also I always have a car topper in my car, so when I go to the bar, I can put it on and park in alleyways, and when im feeling good at the end of the night, it keeps me form getting pulled over, because cops expect me to be driving slow and swerving looking for addresses. Cops will rarly pull over a delivery driver, unless he’s really fucking up.

  • Well Paul Z. #72 if I saved one person from a fate like mine, I’m glad…


  • Paul Z.

    After reading the above comments, it’s pretty certain that I will not become a pizza deliveryman.

    July, 31, 2006

  • ArchBingBat asked if the only thing I write about has to do with sexual orientation, Hmmmmmmmm?

  • I think what bugs me the most is that people on welfare can buy a pizza at about 2-3 times the price of one they could buy at a grocery store, and bake themselves, but they won’t tip the driver for making the same trip that they’re too lazy to make themselves.

  • Dear Chris #68 I agree that Delivery Charges suck, but they have two good reasons.

    1. Domino’s Pizza in particular when they had the “30 minute guarantee” began getting sued for millions every time a driver got into an accident, because scammers out for a quick buck blamed it on the driver being reckless because he was pressured to get it there on time (whether that was the cause or not). Because of this, the company’s insurance against lawsuits went through the roof; as it did for all the others. Don’t be fooled ALL pizza companies have delivery charges, it’s just that some hide it in the price, even though they advertise “free” delivery… Those that have this policy have to charge carry out the same price in order to say it’s “free”.
    The honest ones charge less for a pick up order, but everyone has a delivery charge.

    2. Because of the nature of the business and the inherent dangers, it became nearly impossible to keep drivers for very long, simply because of the lousy tips. Nice people like you who do tip well can’t grasp the concept that about half don’t tip at all, and of those that do, usually it’s only the coin change that’s left over. That’s why most prices have a low change price like $10.14 so that the driver’d get .84, where if it ended in .99 the driver’d only get a penny.

    The companies were all but forced to tack a manditory delivery charge on, so the driver would at least get something-anything (usually about 40% of the del charge) to cover his gas. Otherwise the driver wouldn’t make any money, because of his out of pocket expenses for upkeep on his car. Even worse is when the driver shows up in a company truck/car, because there’s a delivery charge-but the driver doesn’t get it. Yes you read that right. The company keeps the entire charge to cover insuring the truck and its upkeep. If the driver gets stiffed, he literally walks away empty handed.

    I was dropped by two insurance companies, just because they found out I delivered pizzas as a sideline during slow periods of my custome art business, and for no other reason, as I had a spotless driving record.

    Most drivers are forced to lie about what they do, just to be able to have affordable insurance.
    Their insurance is high because since they’re on the road constantly, so there’s more of a chance of them getting into an accident, but the insurance companies won’t take into account that being on the road as much as they are, they’ve become more expert at avoiding accidents.

  • Bar tips are normally the change, so if I buy drinks for anything over say 16$, I’m going to drop a twenty.

    Other tips, in restaurants or to delivery folk should be at the very least be 10%, maybe up to 20% if the food and/or the service was particularly outstanding. But delivery charges suck!

  • Jackie #65, That’s the thing that’s ruining it for a lot of people. They just assume the tip’s already included in the delivery charge, which gives them an excuse to stiff the driver. Like $1.50 is actually a decent tip for a 20-30 dollar order.

  • Nancy, you’re good and decent and now Generous? What were you a girl scout???

    Thanks sweetie!

  • Jet – Um, I was in NJ when you delivered pizza in Columbus.

    Nancy – I’m in an urban area of NJ where all kinds of restaurants deliver – the norm being pizza, Chinese and barbeque places. There’s even an online site for around here called deliverynow.com where we can order from various more upperscale restaurants. With that site, the tip and delivery fee are built into the charges. But, you can specify how you want the order cooked and all to the chef,too! See… despite its reputation, NJ being the most densely populated state has some good going on — shopping malls and food deliveries!

  • Nancy

    First off Jet, you’re probably en route by now, but my deepest sympathies anyway on your dad.

    Second off – Jackie, where do you live that Chinese delivers! My stars, I wish a good Chinese restaurant (or Thai or anything BUT pizza) in my area would deliver!!!!! I’d be embarrassed to death to order delivered without having sufficient to tip the driver. I think I’d rather go hungry & wait til I had decent tip money.

  • Jackie, where were you in the Short North of Columbus when I was delivering pizza?

    Thanks for your contribution to the discussion

  • Yikes! I don’t eat pizza (never liked it), but do order delivered Chinese food now and then. I guess I’m just naive or something, but I always thought a tip was standard. I generally tip 3-5 bucks on a 15-20 dollar order. No wonder the delivery man always smiles so much and seems so happy to see me.

    Being in an urban area, I’m aware that the food delivery folks (whether pizza, Chinese, etc.) are often a target of thieves. Where I live there are neighborhoods where places won’t deliver at all due to danger, false calls and more. Me? I’ll keep on tipping the guy – he works hard for his money.

  • Clyde #59:

    You know that reminded me of a Black Pizza Hut driver that rode down in an elevator with me. He looked me right in the face and asked “Do niggah’s tip you; ’cause I’m not gettin’ nothing!”

    I nearly fainted, and told him he wasn’t the only one with that problem and to get used to it.

    Delivering in the “hood” I began to suspect that urban kids were taught to ask “Where mah free Pissa?” before they were taught to say Momma or Dadda.

    On the other hand, some of my very best tippers were black.

    I had a fat middleaged woman I had to deliver to on a regular basis, who didn’t seem to take a bath more than once a month. I’d have to hold my breath after she opened the door, and suffer while she counted out the exact change!

    Unfortunately, Domino’s had a policy where if we were out of pennies, we had to give the customer a nickle, so I was never out of pennies.

    thanks for your contribution

  • Aaman, thank you, that means a lot to me. The funeral’s Friday, so I’m on for a little while to respond to as many as I can, and to clear my head.

    Again, thanks

  • Clyde 21

    Memoir of a former pizza boy:
    I usually carried $20 in change. 2-5’s 9-1’s and four quarters (for the douche bags). Total is $15.30. I slowly count out the four singles. Their hand is still waiting. I hesitently give them two quarters. Their hand is still waiting. I then explain that you don’t have any dimes so you have to give them another quarter. They say “oh that’s okay”. I hope they meant that it is okay and I can keep the twenty cents. No, they mean that’s okay, I’ll take another quarter.

    I remember delivering to the nursing homes. God forbid you ask them how they are doing. That is a 30 minute conversation about aches, pains and bowel movements you do not want to get into.

    Middle aged single men and fat women are the best tippers. Black people rarely tip, when they do it is usually shitty.

  • Deepest condolences, Jet, fare thee well

  • My friends, my sister just called me to tell me my father passed away at 6:30 this evening, so I’ll leave you to fight this out on your own for about a week.

    More when I can

  • Bliffle #55: The reason so many people are “Niggardly” as you put it, is because they resent the “delivery” charge, thinking the driver gets it, which he doesn’t. If he does, he gets at most, half of it.

    But people still use it as an excuse not to tip

  • Bliffle

    Very interesting. I’ll improve my pizza tips: I think I’ve been a little niggardly with pizza, tho usually I’m generous with tips. Not going to effect the economy very much: I order about 2 pizzas a year. Bad for the arteries, you know.

  • Jewels 53, in the business that’s called “Scarfing” where a driver sees a run, he knows is a good tip, so he waits an extra few minutes for it to come out of the oven, hoping the guy it should’ve fallen to, doesn’t notice.
    That’s why you get the same driver every time-he’s watching for you, and watching out for you.

    Then, since he knows you always treat him good, you’ll get yours hot and first every time (it’s the C-B-A example mentioned above.) letting everyone else wait.

    And why not, you earned it…

  • As a former bartender and waitress, I tip 20 percent to the pizzaman ALWAYS – just like in a restaurant…. The guy who I use is usually Under the alotted time est. and the pizza is always smokin’ hot. (And I always get the same guy – he knows who butters that bread ;))

  • Victor, I have two sisters that live in Oregon.
    One just south of Portland, and one within the Willamette National Forest.

    I was shocked the first time I went out there and didn’t pay sales tax. In Ohio, depending what county and city has tacked something on, the average sales tax is between 6-7.5 percent.

    I fly out every so often and stay at the Holiday inn Crown Plaza on the Pacific Coast Highway at Agate beach, with the searchlight and the seagulls.

  • Baronius, Here’s one for you…At Ohio State, they have a thing called the “Buckeye D” card, which is a combination ID card and a debit card through the University.

    They’re parents put money in, they take it out. So they pay the exact amount at the dorms on their cards, claiming they don’t know how to tip on it.

    ha ha

  • Matt #47… You’re all heart

  • Victor#46 Try delivering on a college campus where the large peps are only 5.99!

  • Baronius

    Heh. Victor, that sounds familiar. For us, it was $8.40 versus $9.10. You knew that you’d get a 90 cent tip on the $9.10 pizza, no matter what. The $8.40 delivery was riskier. You might get exact change; you might get a ten dollar bill. And if the customer gave you a ten, you had to play it with the right amount of hesitation.

    Nobody (outside of college) pays for a $9.10 pizza with exact change.

  • Every time I don’t tip someone, I’m doing my small part to voice my demand for an absolute minimum wage for all service employees to be the same as everyone else.

    Just doing my part to fight for equality.

  • Back when I drove pizza, a large pepperoni was $9.95. In Oregon we have no sales tax, so that was the exact price the customer needed to pay. I lost count of the number of times I was handed a $10 bill and told I could keep the change.

    Perhaps that’s why I completely agree with you, Jet. Delivery people deserve better than that.

  • All I was trying to stress is that the pizza man deserves more than the coin change from $18.49.

    The fact is some people won’t, and seem to take sarcastic pride in the fact that they don’t.

  • Every job could pay well. The fact they don’t doesn’t prove they can’t.

  • Roger, ah what a fine adversary you seem to be turning out to be.

    You obviously have never lived delivering pizzas before.

    As for your last paragraph, I refer you back ot comment 14…

  • RogerMDillon

    “Do you realize that people will tip a waitress 10-20 bucks to bring your food 20-30 feet from a kitchen to your table,”

    You obviously never waited tables because you aren’t just paying for the meal to be delivered. A shift usually shares their tips and that includes the busboys. Does the delivery guy refill their water glasses? If you need cheese and red pepper, does the delivery guy go back and get it when he forgets it? You drop the pizza off and your gone where the waitress works the through the meal, not sitting in her car listening to music.

    Sorry about how tough it is to be a pizza delivery guy, but every job can’t pay well. It encourages you to move up in the world. Also, see an accountant because if you use your car in your job, you should get some tax breaks.

  • Ho ho ho, no comeback MCH?

  • You got that wrong, MCH. That’s ‘killed and fed TO a stray dog’, just like we do with Travellers.


  • Ah now MCH, let’s leave his family out of this

  • Dave I refer you to #8, still a good suggestion worth trying

  • MCH

    “…Of course, where I live no one even delivers pizza…”
    – Dave Nalle

    Who’d wanna try and deliver a pizza past the gates of Nalle’s fenced compound, knowing at any moment you could be mistakenly killed for a stray dog…?

  • Sorry, I missed that comment alltogether. Since the only pizza man around here is me, she can have all the pizza man affairs she likes.


  • Mark 31, I’m still wondering why Dave Nalle hasn’t answered the remark about his wife having an affair with the pizza man?

  • Lumpy #30, if it’s entertaining and it’d get a tip, that works.

  • Scott #29, thanks, I wish there were more of you when I was working. I’d get exact change from the low incomes, nothing from the Hotels a lot because we weren’t allowed up to their room by the hotel so they were pissed, or the students at Ohio State would let us keep the pennie from the 5.99 specials.

  • Chinese guy 28, Thanks for contributing, I enjoyed it. I was talking a minimum for the waitress. I’ve never delivered chinese, and I worked downdown Columbus mostly so it was either the hotels, or the urban slums. Oddly enough a lot of times I’d get stiffed at the hotels, and the urbans would tip well because they appreciated that we were the only ones willing to deliver in their neighborhoods.

  • so that’s why dave doesn’t like pizza!


  • Lumpy

    When I was in college we had a pizza delivery guy who would run headfirst into a steel fire door for tips. Good fun in the dorm.

  • I always try to tip 20% but I never get the same delivery guy/girl at my door. It always arrives fairly quickly though.

  • Chinese delivery guy

    I enjoyed the article and I also would have done B C A. Like clockwork twice a month my towns to housing projects order delivery and they rarely tip. I have delivered Pizza before but I have been delivering Chineses for 12 years. Although I get paid 3 dollars per hour and pay taxes at 9 dollars per hour the folks in my town are very generous. you know you’re going to get stiffed when A. they send a little kid to the door B. They say “the tips included right?” no thats a delivery charge. C. or “You get the delivery charge right?” D. you see coins in there hand, that means exact change. I kind of disagree about tipping the delivery driver the same as a waitress. Sometimes I am amazed that someone will tip $10 or $12 bucks for bringing him $25 worth of food but when I go out to breakfast with my kids and they need more water, more napkins, crumbs on the floor and at 20% she”s looking at $5. How is that fair she just busted her butt for 45 minutes and all I did was drive 5-10 minutes and ring a bell. When I was delivering both pizza and chinese at the same time (different jobs) one day I would deliver a $20 worth of pizza and get $2 and then on another day deliver $20 worth of chinese to the same customer and he would tip me $4-$5 bucks, same amount of work. I don’t understand why Chinese gets more tips, I’m not complaining, just wondering. I usually tip 20-25% for delivery and 35-40% for restaraunt service and nothing for Dunkin Donuts. They start those girls at $8.00 per hour around here.

  • Let me think about that one for a sec…

  • Better to post a clever comment on the wrong article, than an inane comment on the right one.

  • I also feel foolishly senile, because I just posted the above comment on the wrong one of my blogs…

  • Well folks, I feel like a complete fool. Now I see why I’d been asked if I’d seen this week’s. Real Time with Bill Maher.

    George Bush couldn’t possibly have leaked top secret information to the press for one obvious reason. Cheney has made it clear that W’s not allowed to see any top secret information!

    I feel so silly and kind of foolish for not realizing that sooner!

  • Damn. Shades of Snow Crash here. Welcome to the libertarian paradise, I guess.

  • Victor, it’s not advertised, but yes. the one I was working for at the time was asking drivers to deliver in 29 minutes in one-upmanship. In peak periods it’d go up to around 45.

    they call it a “promise” time, and usually offer apologies, and if the customer gives you a hard time, they’ll get a replacement pizza, or a credit toward their next order.

    Legally they all had to stop guaranteeing the deliveries because of the lawsuits aleging reckless driving on the parts of the drivers to meet an arbitrary deadline.

    It became a “wink wink” “promise” to the customer, but a competition amoung companies beyond the public’s scrutiny. After all if a place consistantly gets it to you faster, who will you order from?

    Thanks Victor

  • My pizza driver experience was also nearly two decades ago now. Are any pizza places still doing the stupid 30 minute guarantee nonsense? For some reason I thought they’d all abandoned that dangerous practice as an unacceptable liability risk.

  • What can I say Baronius, times change, especially over two decades.
    I remember the good times too, mostly customers that treated me like visiting family, and I’d always make sure they got the impression that I was hoping all day I’d get to see them.

    As for A-B-C, yeah, that’s how it’s supposed to be, but after getting “stiffed” a bunch of times by the same people, you grow an attitude.

    If you’ve got 30 minutes from the time they order, and someone nicer can get their pizza first, but you can still get A there, even if it’s barely under the limit, why not.

    You learn to break your balls for the people who appreciate you before the ones that don’t

    thanks for chiming in my friend.

  • Baronius

    Odd. I had a great experience delivering pizzas. Although now that I think about it, it was a couple of decades ago, and it was a summer job. But I remember the paycheck going straight into the bank, and always having a pocketful of spending money as you note in comment #16, thanks to the tips.

    Our routes were assigned; we would have delivered A-B-C. We all drove cars that were about to explode, so there really wasn’t any depreciation. Good times. (I wonder if they really were good times. I remember them that way, but I’m not thinking about how hot the oven room got in the summer.)

  • That’s absolutely true about removing the signs and keeping street clothes in the car to change into, Victor. I know that from personal experience in several companies.

    Unfortunately that didn’t work in my case.

    I was broadsided back a few years ago by a car, that glanced off mine, and head-on colided with the car behind me. The car that caused it fled the scene, and none of us were in any shape to chase him down.

    It was a police car that hit me, while trying to avoid a car that’d crossed in front of him illegally and he lost control.

    The cop/driver used to come into our shop all the time, I was driving a used Thunderbird, and only had Liability insurance, and I got stuck holding the bag under a law called Eminent Domain, whereby citizens can’t sue the city for damage caused by a city vehicle, under the technicality that the People, can’t sue the People.

    My apartment building manager lost the driverside of his car to a fire engine once, with the same results.

    Thanks for your contribution to our conversation.

  • If delivery drivers follow the advice I was given, back when I worked this gig, most are effectively driving without insurance. My boss told me not to inform my insurance company I was working in pizza delivery. This was to avoid the sky-high charges for commercial insurance and the need for a commercial driver’s license with a more expensive state fee.

    My instructions if I ever got into an accident were to immediately take the pizza company’s sign off the top of my car, and then claim on any police reports or accident reports that I was on my way to or from work. At all costs, I was told, never admit I had ever used my own vehicle to actually deliver a pizza.

    Of course, such “precautions” would never stand up in court if I’d ever had a serious accident involving injury to someone, so I’m lucky that never happened to me. I never had to face the choice of whether to falsify an accident report on my boss’s advice.

    To this day, whenever I’m in any group and they decide to order up a pizza delivery, I make sure the tip is at least 20%. I know the risks drivers are taking to hold that job, even if they don’t.

  • SteveS 15-Most companies don’t own their own cars, especially “mom & pop” operations, and don’t be fooled if you see a car with a sign on it, the sign belongs to the company, the car belongs to the driver.

    The car only belongs to the company if their logo is painted all over it.

    If you need money, the pizza delivery business is the place to go. You may walk into the place with an empty pocket, but even on a lousy day, you could walk back out with $20 if you’ve made 20 deliveries. If you have a halfway decent night in tips you could go home with $40-50.

    The trick is to put enough away that when the car breaks down, or the tires need changing, you’ve got enough saved back for it.

    It’s especially attractive for man with a family, if he’s stretched between paychecks, he can come home with enough at least to buy a few day’s groceries.

    Most people work it part-time, so they have cash in tips for groceries or gas that they can take home a few nights a week to make it between paychecks.

  • Jet, everybody has a different opinion on it, but I can’t fathom using my own car, and dealing with the wear and tear on it, for someone else’s business.

    When the tires wear down, I have to pay for it, when the brakes go, I have to pay for it.

    That, to me, is the equivalent of taking money out of my own pocket to pay for a corporations phone bill or computers, or fake plants in the conference room. I can’t rationalize it to myself.

  • Dear Matt #13, while that works in theory, most use the basic tax form with no deductions at all, either because they don’t make enough to justify it, or they’re afraid of using a bunch of deductions to get maybe an extra 20 or so back, and risk being audited.

    Thanks for you input though

  • You should claim 48.5 cents per mile you drive with your own car.

  • Steve #11
    The companies that make you use their company cars instead of your own, won’t pay you the dollar per delivery. So if you don’t get tipped you walk away completly empty handed (to quote Dave Nalle “The wretches”)

    For that reason, most drivers pick a company that they can use their own car, so they at least get a buck to put back in their gas tank and towards tires, or a pop at the local SevenEleven.

    Also, despite the talk to the contrary, pizza drivers don’t make enough for it to be worth going with various deductions, and just use 1040 EZ, and pray they don’t get audited.

  • a tip should be at least the same across the board, whether the service is in the restaurant or delivered to your door, I agree.

    The delivery drivers I see around here use company cars and also the gas should be provided by the company, it should not come out of your tip. If you use your own car, you should at least be able to write off the wear and tear on it, and claim the car as a business expense.

    Personally, I can’t fathom paying 16 dollars for some dough and tomato sauce, so the only pizza we eat is homemade. But I agree with you on the tip.

  • Nancy, I actually hate pizza, which makes it doubly irksome that I have to pick it up for a somewhat ungrateful clientele and then figure out something else for myself to eat.


  • By the way, Dave, sorry I couldn’t tie this in to Bill Clinton somehow, so you’d have to look at his face when you clicked on this, but apparently Hillary hasn’t written about baking or ordering Pizza.

    “It takes a village pizza?”

    I’ll work on it

  • Dave #4-Try wearing a pizza uniform, and make up a fantasy with your wife about having an affair with the pizza guy.

    I’ll bet she tips you then!

  • Dear Margaret,
    The area had a lot of imported Samolians, who can’t speak english, and can’t find a job, so they’ve resorted to robbing people, and they have a tendency to beat people when they don’t get their way.

    It happened at 8:30PM, November 4, 2004 it was dark, and I couldn’t identify them if they were standing right next to me.

    I’m in therapy for that, to this day, because I become unreasonably scared when a strange young black kid comes too close, because I fear they might recognize me, and follow me home because they thought I recognized them.

    By the time the cops got around to trying to get fingerprints off my car, it’d been handled by too many people and it’d rained a couple of nights.

  • Nancy

    LOL, but Dave, maybe you take it out in trade…? Just out of curiousity, do your kids make you eat the leftover crusts they leave (or do you do it from a sense of ‘waste’)? I always thought that was part of a father’s job description: dad always finished up whatever got left so there wouldn’t be leftovers. But your wife’s cooking is probably a LOT better than my unlamented mom’s!

  • Dear Nancy,
    Actually I was speaking out at and about people who don’t tip at all, using the delivery charge as an excuse, which believe it or not is the majority.
    I knew without you telling me that you tipped. You just seem like that kind of person.


  • I think this is a reasonable argument for tipping the delivery driver more than 15% when compared with what you tip a restaurant waiter or waitress. Of course, where I live no one even delivers pizza, and when I pick it up for the family they never tip me, the ungrateful wretches.


  • Indeed, 15% is the bare minimum. But 20% is better, especially when you order pizzas regularly and get to know the people who bring them.

    I do hope that the police have caught those thugs who assaulted you. People like that need to be behind bars (via due process, of course) so that they cannot hurt anyone else.

  • Nancy

    15% is what I’ve always figured for a delivery tip. It never occurred to me to tip less. If it’s a really big order & they’re super fast, they get more. Why not. Pizza/food delivery sounds like a wretched job.

  • I’m Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack!