What inspired you to apply for Level? Why did you decide to apply in the first place?
Actually, oh my god, I'm very grateful. I learned about you right when I tested positive for coronavirus. It was just one of my critical days, so when I heard about the program, it just felt like a life saving situation and I couldn't believe it.
I, myself, work really hard with Dolly, but, as an independent contractor, you don’t get the benefits of a typical job. So, I couldn’t believe I could use my reputation as a Dolly helper, working with the app for so long to apply. As I talked with you guys, the idea of the whole program looked great and I really felt compensated. I felt someone out there was really thinking about us, gig workers and trying to reach out in such a financial way where what we do gives us credibility to get a loan.
After testing positive for COVID, getting financing just helped give me the peace of mind. And, everything is working great, I still can’t believe this exists, I couldn't believe someone out there was thinking of all these gig workers in the gig economy and trying to reach out to them. And it just felt great, It felt very good.
Do you think you could tell me just a little bit about your business and how you got started in the first place, even before Level?
I left my regular job two weeks before the start of the pandemic. Before that, I’d been doing deliveries on weekends for more than 40 years. But, I started driving, delivery, and moving on my own two weeks before COVID. This is my first trial as a business owner - having something on my own.
So, I’m learning along the way and it hasn't been easy with everything going on. But I decided to do it on my own, because it just felt right and I felt I had enough knowledge. I needed to go in that direction, because what I was doing before felt very boring. I didn't feel excited or that I could go anywhere. So, I decided to do this job, because I felt it was my only opportunity to grow.
Dolly has been great with me; I've been with them for a long time. But it's been a long journey. Being on my own, I needed to buy more equipment, I needed to grow, I needed to upkeep my tools. So, I am figuring things out along the way. But in the end, I'm happy.
Regarding the financing: What did you apply for? What did you end up using it for? How easy was it to go through the process?
Essentially, Connor is the man. I applied in the morning and I sent all the documents online. It was pretty easy - I had everything available and sent it. He approved me immediately - he was able to tell me the amount and deposit the funds to me quickly. And how it works: the percentage, the payment - everything was pretty clear.
I used the money to keep me going during a hard moment in the pandemic, when I tested positive. It just allowed me to spend two weeks recovering. At that time, I was in bad financial shape, so it definitely just helped me to keep it going and the funds allowed me to fix everything I needed to fix.
Did you ever try any other forms of consumer credit or financing mechanisms? Was there a reason they didn't work?
I did. I tried going through a typical bank. However, often, being independent contractors, working with apps, doesn't qualify us as having a regular job. It’s harder for a bank to lend us money, so I got rejected.I just wanted to buy a new truck, but I had to wait more time, needed more proof - it was just way too time consuming.
I also tried another place, but it was just way more money. The interest was so crazy. With other financing mechanisms, it's hard to show how I make my money and prove my reputation. So, Level was just perfect.
In your option, what makes Level unique?
I think it’s a brilliant idea - Everyone of us is working out of our phones and combining these independent contractor jobs with a financial product is just great. And, for this gig economy, that is huge - real growth. It’s such a cool, innovative product for gig workers - that our work is backing you. Like I make this much money, so I’m qualified for this amount. I honestly think it’s part of the future, because more people are working independently, it's a good market and product. I’m just glad I could qualify!