Business owner struggles to hire drivers as unemployment surges

Posted at 4:00 PM, May 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-28 19:59:27-04

MT. JULIET, Tenn. (WTVF)  — The owner of a food delivery business said he’s struggling to hire drivers because some people would rather stay home and get unemployment.
While many businesses are struggling during this time, food delivery services are thriving. That’s why Jason Scott said he needs 30 additional drivers right now.
“When it’s more profitable for them to stay home than it is to come out and work, that makes our job even more difficult," Scott said.
Scott started We Deliver in Cookeville when his wife was pregnant and she wanted food delivered. Now, they’ve expanded to Wilson County, Clarksville, and other areas. “We’re tracking the amount of new customers that our service is acquiring every month and it’s hundreds and hundreds of new customers.”
He’s doing everything he can to convince people to come work. “We pay more per delivery than any other service in the state to my knowledge. We pay $4 a delivery plus 100% of their tips,” Scott said.
He said food delivery drivers make their own schedule, and on average they make $8 to $12 on each delivery.
“All of our drivers are 1099 and when the government opened that up where they could receive it, some of those people were receiving the $600 plus standard unemployment so you’re talking a little over $800 a week, where if they were still working for us, they could still make that kind of money"
Scott said he’s worried he will lose customers if they pull out of a community due to a driver shortage so on Thursday he diverted drivers from Cookeville to places like Wilson County.
“Unemployment is a benefit, it helps a lot of people, I don’t want you to think we’re bashing unemployment because we’re not, but it is hard for small businesses like myself and other small restaurants to compete with that,” Scott said.
He’s encouraging anyone who wants work to apply to be a driver with We Deliver on their website.
According to the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, as of May 23rd more than 558,000 Tennesseans had filed for unemployment