I have been delivering with DoorDash to my local community in Mandurah, WA for many years now. As a single mother and carer for my disabled adult son, and a caregiver for my baby grandchild between two to four nights each week, I choose to work part-time as a Dasher to earn additional income during hours that work for me.

That can look like me delivering meals while my grandchild and his mother are resting, or while my son is with other friends and family members. It helps to know that I can nip out for an hour or two when I have the free time, and knowing I can come right back whenever I am needed is also a big plus.

A recent survey by DoorDash showed that the ability to achieve or maintain work-life balance is a key motivator among the delivery community, with 61% of Dashers saying that the inherent flexibility to choose the hours they work influences their choice to dash.

In 2021, I made the decision to sign up to be a delivery driver to work around my son’s needs, and this work continued when my grandson was born earlier this year. I knew my help would be needed around the house, as the baby’s father — my son — is disabled and often requires my support. My income has helped to provide the money to buy everything my grandson needs.

Knowing that I would be needed when my son and daughter-in-law are raising the baby, I wanted to look for work that I could do flexibly and during my own hours. That is where DoorDash came into the picture. I just love that DoorDash allowed me to start working quickly and simply.

Just recently, I was awarded as one of DoorDash’s top dashers. The Top Dasher program is designed to recognise and reward the best Dashers, and we receive special benefits to recognise our drive to go above and beyond. This made me feel very special, and I was honoured to be recognised for my hard work. Working as a Dasher brings me so much joy.

The reason I choose to drive part time is because I find the gig economy is the convenient, flexible option where you can get right into earning money without having a bunch of hoops to jump through.

Beyond flexibility, other reasons for dashing include the fewer barriers to entry which makes it easy for people like me to start dashing when they can. Those surveyed also chose dashing because signing up was easy and quick (34%), enjoying this work over other paying opportunities (26%) and that the work did not require a specific qualification or specialist training (25%).

Not only that, but it feels like the rising cost of living has led to a boom in the demand for people wanting second jobs and side hustles. Many of the people I talk to are turning to working several jobs to keep afloat and, personally, I needed to secure a consistent stream of income with prices rising.

As a carer who spends a large portion of my day at home, completing deliveries enables me to stay connected as part of the local community. I’ve been told that 60% of Dashers have started to get to know the regular customers of the businesses they deliver for. I actually have a few customers I visit often who sometimes need a bit of help – with that constant connection, you really do get to be quite fond of your regulars.

One of my regulars is an older lady who orders groceries on DoorDash every week. I always like to take the time to bring her groceries inside for her and she’ll often invite me to stay for a chat. I can tell she really appreciates the company.

DoorDash has also helped me to get to know the businesses I deliver for. So much so, that these local business owners are starting to turn into some of my good friends. But most of all, I love how I can drive from the beach, to the river, and to the city, and see the sunset in a single “shift”. You can’t beat your work day consisting of all of this while listening to your favourite songs and getting to meet and hear the stories of so many interesting people. It never gets old.

Larissa Kent is a part-time delivery driver with DoorDash.