Technology has created an app based economy where side hustles are readily available. These side hustles have become big business and can lead to investment ideas.
Good investing starts with pounding the pavement. You can’t be a good investor sitting in an office behind a desk. I’ve broached this subject in another article. Read it here.
One of the most important aspects of a good business is revenue generation. Revenue growth generally isn’t something that remains hidden. Growing businesses tend to have a lot of activity. It could be lines at the location, or lots of people using or owning the products. These are things that you can see.
I’ve been following Uber (UBER) since it went public. I was interested in their approach to solving the very old stagnant business model of taxis. Taxis, in my opinion, represent the generic of paid for transportation. Taxis have always been stark. Uber was out to change this.
Uber provided the rider with easy options, and in most instances drivers that cared. The experience was more pleasurable. Also, it was nice to have privacy and no “taxi” branding.
Uber has gone through changes. It’s taken on a new mission. The new direction spiked my interest, yet I still had concerns.
Uber Side Hustle
Knowing a few folks that side hustle delivered, I questioned them. I realized in order to understand the opportunity better I needed greater information. I downloaded the UberEats app and signed up to side hustle deliver some food.
The experience has been eye opening. UberEats delivery puts drivers in front of many different types of retailers and real estate. UberEATS delivery is used by Apple (AAPL), Walmart, flower shops, grocery, and many different retailers to support their business.
This process of side hustle delivery has a pulse on the economy. When the news reports were terrible people were still ordering from UberEats. UberEats is pricey.
When delivery gets busy it means lots of orders or not enough drivers. When delivery gets slow it means low orders or there’s too many drivers. This side hustle can be indicative of the economy and available jobs and the unemployed.
I’ve seen side hustle drivers of all different types. Housewives to laid off executives. There’s been people delivering in brand new Teslas, Mercedes, and BMWs. In NYC you mostly see delivery folks on bicycles and scooters.
As I did side hustle deliveries I found it provided a great amount of information. For example, I found that deliveries took me to McDonald’s (MCD), and every McDonald’s that I went to was busy. The employees were filling orders, and the drive-thru lines were busy.
McDonalds upped their technology within the stores and via an app. I noticed that my 13-year-old had taken a liking to the McDonald’s app. The app offered freebies and other ways of getting customers back to the stores.
The same type of information became apparent with Walmart (WMT). Walmart has its own delivery app called Spark. Uber eats was filling order overflow for Walmart deliveries. These deliveries were constant and throughout the day. There was no shortage of people buying goods from Walmart.
Another insight gained from the delivery side hustle was exposure to the restaurant industry, and the integration of technology and data into this business. Many restaurants survive on online orders.
With all the different delivery companies available to restaurants, this creates a new problem for restaurants. Many smaller restaurants have multiple devices on their countertops to handle the different order and delivery services. This is where firms like Toast (TOST) come into play. Toast takes a restaurant’s front, middle, and back operations and consolidates them into one platform and one device on a subscription basis.
Another technological topic that arose was with all the data that is being sourced to multiple locations at the same time. It would be very difficult for the data to be stored in one place with so many users accessing the data at the same time. It causes a data traffic jam.
When an order is placed on the UberEATS app, the purchaser, Uber, the restaurant, the delivery drivers, and maps are all sources that have to interrelate or be tracked in order to have the process run efficiently. New companies like Confluent (CFLT) solve this problem by building software and providing multiple buckets for the data to be stored, so the data can move quickly and efficiently.
Firms are using technology as an advantage for their businesses. Starbucks (SBUX) and other restaurants provide the ability for app users to order directly on the phone, and then show up to pick up the food. The users don’t have to wait in line. Toast’s technology provides this for restaurants, and many restaurants from McDonalds to Urban Plates use their own apps.
Firms like UberEATS, DoorDash (DASH), and GrubHub compete against each other, yet there are subtle differences between each of the services. Amazon (AMZN) has recently taken a stake in GrubHub, so this could mean changes to the business.
Walmart has its delivery app called Spark. UPS (UPS) has its Roadie app. There’s a lot of different types of app delivery services today. Crowdsourcing seems to be a good tool for businesses that can benefit from it.
New and upcoming firms are developing new technologies and ways to deliver with systems that may further enhance this technological evolution. Self driving vehicles, trucking, and delivery pods are already being tested. Firms such as Luminar Technologies (LAZR), TuSimple (TSP), Uber, Tesla (TSLA), Waymo, and others are all vying for a piece of this space.
Disclosure: I/we have positions in some of the stocks mentioned. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it. I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.