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70% of Washington DoorDash drivers would quit if flexibility removed, survey reveals

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(The Center Square) – As local governments such as Seattle impose ordinances regulating driver apps, a recent survey of Washington DoorDash drivers revealed that roughly 70% of them would quit altogether if certain benefits of the gig were undermined.

There are an estimated 160,000 active DoorDash drivers in Washington, though that figure fluctuates as new drivers sign up or deactivate their accounts.

The survey conducted by Quadrant Strategies of 1,233 DoorDash drivers, including 272 in Seattle, found that 98% believe the position offers the flexibility they need. In particular, 89% of them preferred to independently contract with DoorDash for that very reason, and 70% said they would quit if that flexibility was lost.

Cheryl Young, DoorDash’s head of policy research, told The Center Square that their drivers stress flexibility due to holding full- or part-time work elsewhere, or they’re stay-at-home parents or caregivers.

“You can’t have that if you have to do a certain number of hours or certain shifts, or have to report to somebody,” she said.

Of those surveyed, 76% of those who said they were stay-at-home parents and/or caregivers said being available for their children and/or those under their care as needed was the top reason a flexible schedule was necessary.

“It drives home how unique an earning opportunity it is,” Young said. Without that flexibility, “they would just not have extra income. They probably wouldn’t be able to replicate that. What alternatives do they have? Probably not many.”

She added that DoorDash allows drivers to take time off and then return to the platform when they’re available again.

The survey also found that 90% of drivers used DoorDash to meet personal financial goals, while 64% used the app to make up for reduced work hours and/or income.

In addition to a newly-enacted ordinance regulating the process to deactivate driver-based apps, the city of Seattle is considering $.05-$.15 per delivery fee to cover the costs of the new deactivation legislation.

In a statement, Young wrote that “as we see local policies arise that impact flexibility for app-based contractors, it’s critically important that lawmakers and local leaders understand that Dashers and other app-based workers value their ability to choose family over an office job and daily commute, and to earn extra money when they need it or to simply improve their financial situation.”

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