Uber revolutionized transportation by allowing a peer-to-peer network that greatly increases the efficiency of transporting people. Could something similar work for transporting things? Plenty of start-ups have arrived for on-demand delivery of individual and specialized items, but the space for general deliveries is less crowded. The Roadie app is attempting to fill this void.
How Does the Roadie App work?
Roadie matches up a shipment and delivery need (otherwise known as a "Gig") with a driver who happens to be going in that direction and has the available space for the item to be delivered. It is the ultimate in creating efficiency and, in some cases, could be the only practical way of handling a need.
The idea for Roadie came when its founder, Marc Gorlin, was dealing with a delivery of broken bathroom tiles that would cost him an extra three days’ work while replacements were scheduled. Realizing that there was almost a certainty that someone was already taking that same travel route and could easily pick up replacement tiles, Gorlin saw the opportunity to "Uberize" shipping. Roadie has now expanded to all 50 states.
Roadie is essentially an app that allows those in need to create gigs online. Gig creators start by describing the item, along with its size and other distinguishing characteristics. (There is even a special button for pets.) Based on the deliver-by date, price, and location, among other factors, drivers decide on which gigs to place bids. Gig creators accept their preferred bid, creating acceptance on both sides of the transaction (thus minimizing the chance of disputes).
Pricing is in accordance with traditional cost factors — the length of the trip, the required delivery time, and any other special logistical issues associated with the gig. Drivers can make anywhere from $10 to $1000 per Gig depending on factors including size and distance.
How about insurance coverage for your item? Roadie provides a baseline $500 protection on every gig, but greater protection can be purchased for up to $10,000. The app also contains a tracking function so you can monitor your shipment as it makes its way to its destination.
As the sender, you will need to take care of any protective packaging yourself. Pictures of the goods to be delivered are required, and any unique challenges should be highlighted on the initial posting to allow drivers a fair evaluation of the job on which they are bidding.
Roadie is really filling in a niche that FedEx or UPS cannot provide. You can pay for expedited shipping but you cannot increase efficiency at the same time. Realizing this, the investment arm of UPS has actually invested in Roadie, along with other high-dollar investors. Check the Roadie app to see if it meets your needs, either as a driver or customer.
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