Crowdsourced delivery service Roadie is the latest app to enter the side-hustle market. Founded in 2015, it now has 80,000 drivers nationwide using their own cars and vans to deliver in 11,000 cities, making it surprisingly easy for the average consumer to sent a chandelier (or a pet) long-distance, a bakery owner to send cupcakes across town, or major companies like Delta to quickly handle lost luggage and The Home Depot to tackle last-mile deliveries.
Roadie was founded by Marc Gorlin, a serial entrepreneur whose previous business was Kabbage, which provides fast capital for small and medium-sized businesses in the form of a line of credit.
Atlanta-based Roadie has serious backers: UPS and Google’s Eric Schmidt’s TommorrowlandVentures are investors, and Atlanta-based rapper Ludacris is a partner. Roadie uses UPS Capital for their insurance coverage, up to $10k.
Drivers often “stack their apps” by spreading their work over multiple gig apps at once (Uber, Lyft, or food-delivery services), during different parts of the day, in order to maximize their cash or cobble together as much work as they need.
Ladders spoke with Jamie Gottlieb, Roadie’s content and communications manager, about how Roadie worked.
Why is it desirable as a driver to drive for Roadie?
“Roadie is a great side hustle to your side hustle. We are an on-the-way delivery service, so we connect people and businesses that have stuff to send with drivers already headed in the right direction. As a driver, you could be taking your daily commute to work, or heading back and forth from campus… if you have extra room in your vehicle, you could pick something up along the way and make money on a drive you’re already taking. Drivers get the freedom to choose what they want to deliver, and when they want to deliver. We do local, same-day last-mile deliveries as well as long-haul deliveries that can help subsidize, you know, the cost of gas on a road trip.”
“Let’s say you are a crowdsourced driver, you’re looking for a flexible way to stack your money, stack your apps, and make driving as a service worth it. Generally, we pay more per trip than Uber or Lyft. Drivers make between $8-60 for local deliveries, depending on a number of factors like size and distance. We pay up to $650 long haul gig. The cut varies, but we’ll never take more than 20%.”
How much does the average driver drive, and is there enough work available to be dropping off multiple packages along the way?
“You want to have enough supply to keep drivers happy. And you want to have enough drivers in the system to make sure things get delivered. We work with Delta and reunite delayed baggage with Delta passengers. If you’re a driver, you could drive someone to the airport in an Uber, then take two or three bags back [with Roadie] into the city or back to wherever you came from and make $30, $40, $50 on that trip that you otherwise wouldn’t have been making money off.”
Is there an average on how much an average driver drives for you?
“I think that really depends on the driver and the market. I would say it’s a side hustle. The vast majority are not driving for only Roadie full time. Basically, we see anyone who drives full time for ride-share companies, they do stack their apps. They pick up a really good sense of when there’s high volume for some applications, and when there’s high volume for others.”
What other companies you worked with and also why they would choose Roadie over, say, UPS.
“Delta Airlines, The Home Depot, plus there are some other big-name enterprises that we can’t share publicly yet. I think the very reasons why [big companies] use Roadie is everyone’s trying to figure out same-day last-mile delivery. Customer expectation for delivery has changed, thanks to Amazon.
Traditional carriers are great, they’re huge and they do a fantastic job. But they struggle to do same-day. But if someone is headed in the right direction, they can have it across town in an hour or less. Sending a UPS truck to do that takes a little longer.”