No one is paying that much (58.5 cents per mile)

name one other profession where workers are required to use thier own vehicles. And, in using their own vehicles they must take on the expenses that comes with that. What expenses are we talking about? Gas, oil changes, tires, air and fuel filters, tune ups, automotive repair, insurance (yes everyone has to have insurance but drivers should have business insurance). I’m sorry, but most drivers are NOT reimbursed enough for these expenses. Someone mentioned the average delivery distance is 2 miles… ha! try 8 to 10 and that is just one way. Lets not forget that delivery drivers occupy a profession which is in the top 5 most dangerous professions in this country. Someone also mention that the delivery driver’s job is easy… it’s not that easy. To be a good driver you have to be good with people, you have to be able to communicate effectively, you have to have a good memory and know your area and be able to read a map. Most delivery drivers do more than drive. They have other side duties and they are also required to help everyone else in the store when they can. These duties can range from doing dough, washing dishes, cleaning, helping cook and cut pizzas and helping wait staff if applicable. Drivers do make decent money if they are lucky enough to be paid min wage or above but more and more places are paying drivers like servers get paid which is below min wage. As for proper and fair compensation… it rarely happens. If all of you think you know how it is for a driver and you haven’t spent a few months at minimum doing their job full time then you DON’T know. Walk a mile in a man’s shoes… would seem to apply here.

Here is my whole take on the matter…

I was a delivery driver for one of the big 3 for nearly 4 years, I now own my own store and have done so for 12 years. I have walked in the delivery drivers shoes and in the owners shoes. I think it is very important to give your drivers a decent reimbursement for the use of their cars. I provide the cars for my drivers (which they abuse), they are all paid well above min wage and easily make $15 - $20 per hour. I can never imagine letting drivers use their own cars ever again, as a business owner I need to have total control of every aspect of my business. And of course, we all need to make sure that we are in compliance with the law.

BUT with that being said - all of this is moot. The drivers simply do not want the “fair” reimbursement for maintenance on their cars, they want it as a WAGE. I have never seen in my 16 years of being in the pizza business a driver who takes his mileage, fills up his car and puts the rest away for oil changes, repairs, insurance and so forth. I never did when I was a driver, I blew mine as fast as I got it or used it to pay my electric bill or credit card bill. And when my car broke down I cried to the manager that I just don’t have enough money to get it fixed. Once I finally saved up some cash I bought the biggest piece of crap car I could find and never put a single penny into it. It wasn’t fit to be on the road. I know how it works because I was there.

Someone mentioned the average delivery distance is 2 miles… ha! try 8 to 10 and that is just one way.

With a 6 mile delivery radius - 2 miles is exactly my average delivery, I track it on a regular basis. When my drivers used to use their own cars I paid them $1.25 per delivery, which works out to be .625 cents a mile. And this still wasn’t enough to make them happy. They complained all the time. I finally made the choice to purchase and maintain my own fleet of cars (which actually is much cheaper for my situation) I thought the drivers would be happy… wrong, they were furious. They were depending on that mileage as a WAGE and when they no longer got any mileage, they saw it as their wage being reduced.

So with all being said - I think as a business owner it is important to make sure you are in compliance with the law, treat your drivers fairly (each market is different), let the free market system work, but aside from that - NEVER let your employees dictate to you how you will run your business.

thepizza you are the rairity in this business. very rare indeed. you sound like you got it all together. however, your situation might represent at best 2 percent of delivery drivers out there.

drivers do want fair reimbursement, and contrary to your statement some people know how to budget their money. some people can put back money and save it for maintenance on their cars, but when you aren’t being compensated fairly it is hard to do when you have other looming expenses and bills. If every pizza shop operated like yours… then this topic would be moot. Since most don’t is is relevant. I am currently working as a delivery driver, and I don’t own a big piece of crap car. I own a newer vehicle which is reliable, because if it isn’t reliable and won’t start every time I turn the key I don’t work. If I don’t work… I don’t pay bills.

I worked for years as a driver, now I operate my own store. Sure, everyone is underpaid. I wish I could sell pizzas without any coupons, I wish my house was valued more that it is. The point is if anyone was underpaying drivers or not reimbursing them enough, you probably wouldn’t have any drivers. I’m in a town where there is a lot of competiton, If I was not paying enough, I would know. Its called a free market or capitalism. Let’s be honest, there is very little skill level in being a driver that’s why theit delivery drivers, not pilots. Therefore they are paid what the market says they should be paid.

Roger. Please. We have really hashed this all out at least twice. I will look up and give you the links to those threads. All of the arguments are there that Gregster has made. There is NO NEW INFORMATION or insight coming through this thread. The initiator of this thread has established his values and beliefs, and has not proven to be interested in debate or discussion. This thread is about something altogether other.

If you have concerns about your current compensation policies and practices, contact competent legal and accounting advice. We don’t have one of those currently on the forum.

I have quoted the thing about tips so often because people still seem to think that since we are tipped employees, that tips are a valid reason to under-compensate us on mileage reimbursement. Posts made by others in this very thread confirm that misconception.

From: http://www.dol.gov/esa/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs16.pdf

Requirements
Uniforms: The FLSA does not require that employees wear uniforms. However, if the wearing of a uniform is required by some other law, the nature of a business, or by an employer, the cost and maintenance of the uniform is considered to be a business expense of the employer. If the employer requires the employee to bear the cost, it may not reduce the employee’s wage below the minimum wage of $6.55 per hour effective July 24, 2008 and $7.25 per hour effective July 24, 2009. Nor may that cost cut into overtime compensation required by the Act.

Other Items: Employers at times require employees to pay or reimburse the employer for other items. The cost of any items which are considered primarily for the benefit or convenience of the employer would have the same restrictions as apply to reimbursement for uniforms. In other words, no deduction may be made from an employee’s wages which would reduce the employee’s earnings below the required minimum wage or overtime compensation.

It is not just uniforms, it is ANY item or cost which is primarily for the benefit of the employer. That includes use of a drivers car to deliver your product.

Whether or not I have filed a complaint has no bearing on the information I have posted. It stands on its own merit unchallenged. Other than simply disagreeing with it, no one has posted any legal references that refute the facts I have posted.

As for Occam’s razor, the simplest answer is that the vast majority of delivery drivers have no idea what protection the DOL gives them as far as the minimum wage and further they have no idea what their actual out of pocket costs are when delivering pizza. In the past, most drivers were paid MORE than minimum wage which was also much lower at the time, as was gasoline. But, as minimum wage goes up (it goes up again this year on July 24th to $7.25) and drivers wages stagnate or even go lower, it has caused many thousands more drivers to be in a situation where their out of pocket expenses for delivery are now causing minimum wage violations to occur. Most drivers were likely never in this situation ten years ago. Almost none of them realize what is going on, so none are even complaining about it. I am working to bring these issues to light, and show drivers and owners what the law says, how to determine if drivers are being compensated fairly, and how to file complaints if they find they are not.

The current administration is pro business. The next administration is pro labor. Obama has stated that he’d like to raise the minimum wage to over $9 an hour. I don’t think that will happen, but I do think the next administration will have little tolerance for violations of existing minimum wage laws. It is my belief that the tide will soon turn in favor of drivers on this issue.

Have any of you consulted with an attorney on this issue yet?

I have posted FACTS about what the law says on this issue and no one has posted anything but their opinion to refute it. I have done my best to answer those who disagree and further explain what they may have missed or misunderstood about what the law says.

The new information is that obviously people who post here seem to think that tips are allowed to be used as reimbursement for vehicle expenses. The general thought is “Drivers make a lot of money, including tips, and that’s good enough”. Well, the law says otherwise where minimum wage is concerned. Except where ‘tip-credit’ is allowed, tips are the sole property of the employee. Even where tip-credit is allowed and used, it may not be allowed to be used to offset business expenses.

Please take Nicks advice and consult competent legal opinion on this issue. Please print out the quotes I have provided from the DOL and ask your counsel their professional opinion on the matter. I’d hate to see anyone in legal trouble over what in many cases is as little as 25 to 50 cents more per delivery. CPA’s may give excellent tax advice, but this is a legal labor issue they may not be qualified to give an opinion on. Please share with us all what your attorney says.

Why did you not answer whether or not you have filed a complaint or sued your employer? If so, what was the result? I’m very curious about that.

Also, you did a nice job of taking a quote of bodegahwy’s completely out of context and posting it on tipthepizzaguy. “Minimum wage is so far in the rearview mirror…” is something along the lines of what he said. You posted that at TTPG and made it look like he didn’t care about minimum wage.

In fact, if you read the quote in context, he was saying that his employees make so much above minimum wage that increases have no effect on him. Do you think it’s right to take his quote out of context and mislead people with it? I don’t.

Look, I believe drivers should be fairly compensated for the use of their vehicle. My drivers are all at $7.25/hr (minimum wage is $6.55 here), get $2.00 per order (not run) and average about $4.50 per tip. Do you think any of them really care if some nights the $2.00 doesn’t completely cover their vehicle expense? Really?

I honestly think the best thing for the entire industry is to get rid of delivery. It’s stressful, expensive and, according to TTPG, extremely dangerous. I think we’d all be better off without it, at least independents.

You guys like to talk about how the delivery charge is only used to pad the pockets of owners. Do you know it costs me over $3.70 to deliver a pizza? I have a $2.50 delivery charge and the driver gets $2.00 of it. I’m out $3.20 versus a pickup. If all indies stopped delivering today we’d all be much better off.

By the way, I drove for one of the “Big 3” for for years while in college; I see the driver’s side of things. I was almost embarassed by how much money I made for such a simple job.

Gregster,

I have a driver that drives a Ferrari F430. His cost per mile (including maintenance) is approximately $4.73.

How does this apply? Do I have to pay him the lower of the 2 (actual cost vs. 58.5 cents) or the higher?

what needs to be mentioned here is that most of the delivery drivers on TTPG work for the big 3. gregster works for one of the big 3. And at the big 3 the delivery charge is used to increase the overall sales volume of the shops. Also, the delivery driver in most cases at the big three doesn’t get even half of the delivery charge. Indies may be a different story, it varies from shop to shop. Piper, if all drivers got paid like you pay your drivers then most would be pretty happy with that. I know I would be extremely happy making over 7 dollars an hour plus 2 dollars per delivery plus tips.

is getting rid of delivery the answer? no it isn’t, because that is what customers want. they like the convienience of having hot delicious (except in the case of dominos) food at their door. What is the answer then? reform. everyone should pay what you pay Piper. But they don’t.

why should you or anyone else be embarrased for making the money delivery drivers make? after all we perform a service of convienience for people, and that is a valuable thing to some people.

AMEN! - I don’t offer it at my second location and would love to get rid of it at my primary store. If I ever open another store it will be strictly dine-in and carryout only.

Funny thing is that if all the independents banded together and stopped delivery killing jobs - we would be painted as evil capitalist pigs (and probably would be breaking some kind of law), but when employees band together to form unions, and in the process kill jobs - they are hailed as heroes freeing the oppressed.

Nick,

I have no concerns. My employees are paid for their mileage. I agree with you this topic has been beaten to death. I’ve read all of gregster’s posts and have not responded since it is a waste of time that can be used on much more productive things. I thought it was all played out as well until I seen him bring up the same topic all over again. I probably could have not read it but it’s kind of like and accident. You don’t want to look but you do anyways. lol. I guess I kind of got frustrated at seeing him bring up the same argument over and over and over and over. It’s just weird how some one comes on this forum and right out of the gate they start falsely accusing all of us owners of breaking laws. He pretty much is trolling trying to get everyone riled up. This is a great forum where everyone gets along and we all help each other out when we can.

What part of my posts didn’t you understand? My drivers are paid $7.15 an hour which is minimum wage in my state. They are also paid $2 per delivery. They drive no more than 6 miles round trip on the farthest deliveries (the city limits are 3 miles each direction from the shop). The average delivery is probably about 3 miles round trip.

Gregster, the whole point of my post was to say that pizza delivering is a great job! I deliver 3 nights a week myself because I enjoy it and the money is good. If you think that you are getting such a raw deal then why do you stay at your delivery job??? Every one of my drivers loves their job and wouldn’t give it up for anything. My wife is a teacher and only makes $27,000 a year. Some of my drivers make more a year than her. Do you want to talk about fair? She had to go to college to get her job while my drivers are still in high school making more than her!

The greatest part about this whole argument is that Gregster came on to this forum and came up with the question. He then started answering his own question all the while arguing with everyone and accusing them of breaking wage laws. Brilliant job of trolling Gregster! My hats off to you. This will be my last post.

I don’t know the answer to that one. If I was an owner, knowing what I know, I wouldn’t hire someone who drives a Ferrari. Since his costs are obviously putting him below minimum wage, you may be at risk. Employees cannot give up the right to be paid minimum wage, even if they sign an agreement to that effect. By law, it must be paid.

It IS a great job, and that is part of why I keep doing it. More on that later.

If your average delivery round trip distance is 3 miles, at the current IRS rate of 55 cents per mile your delivery reimbursement should be at least $0.55 x 3 miles or $1.65. Good for you for paying more that the required minimums. The vast majority of pizza delivery operations do not pay that well. If those figures are accurate, I have no issues with you.

At 55 cents per mile, if your average delivery distance is more than 3.6 miles and/or you reimburse less than two dollars per delivery, you could be in jeopardy.

As to why I continue working under what I consider inadequate and unlawful pay conditions, I have answered that many times before both here and at www.http://TipThePizzaGuy.com. I am retired from the Navy and the money I make from delivering is not crucial to my household, but it is helpful. I could get by without it. It really bothers me that it has become the norm to pay less than minimum wage and less than full reimbursement for vehicle mileage for drivers. I see many dozens of ‘kids’ (teenagers and young adults really) come and work for pizza shops and get ripped off every day because they have no clue what the law requires, or what their actual expenses are. I talk to people all over the country who are in the same situation. I am trying to pass the word on what the law says and educate all involved. It has become apparent to me that the minimum wage law is widely violated mostly due to ignorance, and somewhat due to intent.

I am not accusing anyone here of violating the law. I am simply trying to educate anyone interested and answer any of their questions. I prefer resolving employee differences with management with informed discussion. Involving outside agencies should only be used when all other methods fail. That is the current position I am in. I prefer and support ‘Mom & Pop’ or independent shops over ‘big business’ whenever I can. Small businesses take much better care of me as a customer than any big business ever can. That said. I support that business both big and small comply with minimum wage laws. Nothing less is acceptable to me. No matter how else the work conditions are considered to be 'great".

Despite all of this, Dewar’s Pizza Bakery wrote: “No one is paying that much to drivers”, AND NOT A SINGLE OWNER HAS CALLED HIM OUT FOR THIS. I am the one who is on the defense here, not him.

What does that say about this board and the people who post here?

Gregster,

I would think this point is critical to your position. You’ve stated that you must be paid 58.5 cents per mile OR actual costs. Which one is it? If actual costs are HIGHER than 58.5 cents per mile, and you were only being paid 58.5 cents per mile, wouldn’t that put you being paid under minimum wage according to you?

While the Ferrari example might be a little disingenuous, how about a couple of recent real world examples?

  1. A driver the other night picked up some debris in his tire and needed a replacement tire. Cost:$125. Definately put him at more than 58.5 cents actual cost per mile.

  2. A driver needed a water pump replaced. Cost: About $300. Definately put him at more than 58.5 cents actual cost per mile.

All of this “actual maintenance cost per mile” leads to another question - OVER WHAT PERIOD OF TIME?

I’m just looking for one (seemingly simple) answer (at this point) - which one is is - the LESSER of 58.5 cents per mile or actual costs or the GREATER? Seems to me, that if you are correct in your entire position, that it would be the GREATER.

Gregster,

I’m not sure if you are purposley neglecting some things to try to continue your argument because you need to feel imporatnt (everyone does) or if you really are just misunderstanding the whole minimum wage/reimbursement requirements. There is NO MINIMUM car reimbursement that employers HAVE to pay. If you didn’t. you probably wouldn’t have any drivers. Between tips and hourly wage, an employee has to make minimum wage. Mileage reimbursemnet CAN NOT be counted as part of minimum wage.

Papajoe,

I jsut want to clarify one thing. Gregster is not saying there is a minimum car reimbursement that you must pay.

I think many here are missing part of his point (right or wrong). His point has to due with minimum wage - not compensation. NOW, and here is the main issue Gregster is talking about - if the expenses you incurr as part of doing your job are NOT REIMBURSED to totally cover them - AND - the difference you are out of pocket when subtract from your wages causes you to fall under minimum wage - then you are not paying minimum wage.

I’m not saying he is right or wrong - I’m just trying to clarify what he is saying.

My drivers will not be tipped employees and will use my vehicles. Problem solved.

I have not met another owner that said, “Gregster, how many miles did you put on that hoopty of yours tonight? Because based of the exceptional condition you keep your late model car in, I pay the IRS allowed deduction of 58 cents a mile to compensate you for depreciation, the oil changes you religiously follow, and the full coverage insurance you maintain. You deserve it!”

No, the norm for pizza drivers is to drive some heap that is well beyond the year it was fully depreciated, perform as little maintenance as possible to keep it on the road, and get the cheapest insurance required by law.

Again, my problem is that you live in some fairyland of privileged delivery drivers who use the law to maximize their income despite common sense and employment market conditions. This is exactly why I am getting my own wrapped vehicles. My drivers will not be the prima donnas found in the other delivery locations. If I cannot find regular employees who consider delivering just another position that they may be asked to perform, then I will not deliver. It is not worth the destructive effect these hired guns have on the rest of the store culture and operations… and the headaches they cause owners.