Many of us go out running errands, commuting to work, shuttling kids to activities and otherwise driving around every day. Would it be a great stretch to pick up and drop off packages for people along the way?
Now the peer-to-peer economy offers a way to turn quick errands for people in your community and generate some extra cash — in a system similar to the ride-sharing services that have cropped up.
One of the newest package delivery services is called Roadie, which operates through a smartphone app.
“What Uber is for transporting passengers, Roadie is for transporting and delivering goods of any kind,” said Melina Decker, a driver for the new service, told WDRB.com in Louisville, Kentucky. “You have to scan your driver’s license, and you are an independent contractor that can drive for Roadie whenever it’s convenient.”
Roadie isn’t the only type of service for those that want to earn money delivering packages, but it’s quickly becoming one of the most buzzed-about.
How it works
Perhaps one reason is that the app makes sending packages so easy. Whether they’re going across town or across the country, packages don’t have to be wrapped in any special way as they do if sent via FedEx, UPS or the U.S. Postal Service. Basically, if you want a book delivered, you can hand the Roadie driver the book.
Senders get to that delivery step by signing in to the service at app.Roadie.com.
The sender enters the location where the driver should pick up the package, which can be anything from a book to a goldfish in a bowl to a bicycle or fine artwork. The sender states who will give the driver the package — which may be the sender or someone else such as a neighbor, office receptionist or spouse.
The app sets the price based on package size and distance traveled. If the sender agrees, the request is broadcast to Roadie drivers, who can accept or decline. The sender can choose the Roadie with whom they want to work. The driver then goes to the location, which could be the sender’s home, workplace or other spot such as a fast food restaurant, to get the package.
The sender lists where will the package be delivered, who, if anyone, will receive it and any special instructions for the transport.
The Roadie then makes the delivery by the agreed upon time and date, which can range from “tomorrow morning at 8 a.m.” to “whenever possible in the next month” and beyond.
The app prompts drivers to take a photo of the item both at pickup and destination, to record the condition of the item as well as confirm arrival at the destination. Then the sender is notified.
Drivers earn between $50 for local and up to $650 for longer trips, reports Paste magazine. The company does not disclose how much of the overall fee it keeps.
Roadie driver Xavier Dillard told Paste that the package delivery meshes well with his full-time job repairing computers for businesses.
“Some jobs are at a set time and need to get there at a certain time,” he told Paste. “Others might just say you can take all day. It’s very flexible.”
That was the goal of Marc Gorlin of Atlanta, who founded Roadie when he was renovating a bathroom and needed tiles that were available a few hours’ drive from his home. He didn’t have time to go get them, but he thought someone was probably already making that drive. That thought birthed Roadie.
Delivery services disrupting the shipping industry
Of course Roadie isn’t the only service that recruits drivers in a challenge to traditional package carriers. There are others, each with its own focus and parameters. If you’re interested in earning a little extra cash through package delivery, check out these options too:
- Dolly: Think of this service as providing local friends of friends who can help you move. Dolly drivers own box trucks, pickup trucks or cargo vans, and they haul loads to local destinations. According to the Dolly website, drivers earn on average $30 an hour. Like Roadie, Dolly takes an undisclosed percentage of the overall payment.
- Grabr: Ever regret that you failed to buy something when you were traveling abroad? Now you can earn some money by helping others in that same quandary — by getting the product and delivering it when you take your next international trip. The money earned for providing this Grabr service isn’t listed, but a look at typical “rewards” for such deliveries range from $400 for an Apple iPad delivered to Buenos Aires from Washington, D.C., to $5 to deliver a pair of Adidas soccer shoes to Buenos Aires from anywhere else in the world.
- Amazon Flex: Have some time during the day or evening? As Amazon expands its one-day delivery service, it is looking for drivers. Amazon notes payment is $18 to $25 an hour.
- Instacart: Those who want someone to do their grocery shopping and then have the items delivered (last-minute dinner party anyone?) can call on Instacart. Drivers meet with a personal shopper at a predetermined location to retrieve the items. One concern: The Wall Street Journal and others note the service has slashed driver payments $1.50 per drop off (it was previously $4) and 25 cents per item (it was previously 50 cents).
- Postmates: If you’re willing to swing by a local store or restaurant and deliver an item, Postmates may be for you. And you don’t even need a car. Postmates people make deliveries on foot, by scooter, bicycle or other transportation.
And even if one of these services isn’t right for you, you can still earn extra cash by turning to the traditional shipping companies during holiday package delivery season.
UPS and FedEx — which handle about 45 percent of package delivery in the U.S., according to The Wall Street Journal — are hiring.
CNN Money just reported that UPS has 95,000 seasonal job openings for the holiday, compared with 93,000 last year. FedEx hiring numbers were not available according to a report by Reuters, but spokesman Glen Brandow told the Wall Street Journal that automation would not slow holiday hiring.
How do you drum up extra cash for the holidays? Would you consider picking up work for Roadie or one of its competitors? Share with us in comments below or on our Facebook page.