SEATTLE — A new survey of Uber, Lyft, DoorDash and Instacart drivers and delivery workers in Washington state found that over three-quarters (77%) of those polled preferred to remain independent contractors, compared to only 23% who prefer to become a company employee.
The survey, released today by the Washington Coalition for Independent Work (WCIW), also found that app-based rideshare and delivery drivers overwhelmingly value flexibility, with 81% strongly agreeing that “any changes to app-based rideshare and delivery regulations should protect the flexibility of drivers’ schedules.”
In addition, 92% of drivers and delivery workers said they would not be able to continue driving or delivering if the work did not offer a flexible schedule.
In Washington state, tens of thousands of independent, app-based drivers and delivery people currently depend on the flexible income earning opportunities available through app-based work in order to balance family, careers, education and other responsibilities.
Eddie Esguerra, a Tacoma-based delivery driver with DoorDash, says the flexibility of app-based work fits his full-time work schedule while also helping him support his young family.
“My wife and I have a new baby and we both work full-time. This is something I can do in my free time, when I wake up early, or we can do together, after work on weekends,” said Esguerra. “The supplemental income I earn helps us cover daily expenses or extras for our family, and still have additional money to save for going back to school.”
“Everyone talks about the American dream and being your own boss is a pillar of the American dream,” said Babs Kanteh, a Seattle-area driver with Lyft. “Rideshare driving gives me that independence. As a full-time student, I can go out on the road when I want, without conditions, and make enough money to pay my bills. That is so important, especially at this time in my life.”
The survey of Washington app-based workers was conducted by EMC Research, an independent opinion research company, using randomized lists of drivers and delivery workers who have worked on at least one of the four major app-based platforms (Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, and Instacart) in the past six months.
App-based rideshare and delivery drivers currently operate as independent contractors, with flexibility to control when, where and how long they work. The survey found that 95% of app-based rideshare and delivery drivers in Washington would support a proposal to protect their legal right to continue to work as independent contractors, “with the flexibility to control when, where and how long they work, and the ability to work with multiple companies at the same time.”
Additional findings from the poll include information about driving frequency, finding that more than three-fourths of drivers (76%) do this work on the side, driving either part-time or occasionally. More than two-thirds of respondents (69%) report driving 20 hours per week or less.
The 446 survey respondents in Washington state opted-in to participate in the online survey between Dec. 15 – 21, 2021. The survey was offered in English, Spanish, Simplified Chinese, Somali, and Amharic. The survey had a margin of error of ±4.6% and was introduced as “about local issues in Washington state” that would “guide important public policy decisions,” and respondents did not know any more about the topic from the invitation.
About EMC Research, Inc.
EMC Research is a national full-service opinion research firm serving an extensive and diverse range of public and private sector clients since 1989. We are known for crafting insightful research tools, collecting highly accurate data and providing analysis that answers the key strategic questions and challenges our clients face. EMC is proud to be a certified women-owned business. Our expertise includes branding and positioning; data analytics; political polling; customer satisfaction; ad testing; and social and behavioral studies.
The Washington Coalition for Independent Work (WCIW) is a growing coalition of independent, app-based workers and their families, community groups, and business organizations across the state who support clear, uniform, and workable statewide policies to protect the flexibility and independence of app-based workers while advancing access to expanded benefits and protections for app-based workers.