Roadie: The Answer to Your Shipping Prayers
By Elijah Rivera
Roadie is carpooling for cargo. This tagline sums up a new app that for some could prove to be a great money saver, it's also a great way to earn money for your travels. So far, the app's biggest challenge is getting more customers to download it so that there are more destinations and more people looking to move their stuff there. Creating a network of people sharing the same ride with passengers and cargo requires a lot of connected people.
Roadie launched their app-based shipping community in the Southeastern US in January of 2015 and launched nationally in March of 2015.
One Billion Square Feet
Roadie's founders estimate that there is over one billion square feet of excess capacity in passenger vehicles, the foundation of their service. In today’s uneasy economy, all of us-especially the young folk, are looking for an easy way to make money. You can sign up as a Roadie Driver and people will bid on using your vehicle to ship items to wherever you're heading.
What could be easier than being paid for doing something you were going to do anyway? Roadie connects those who need things delivered, whether across town or across the country, to those headed in their direction.
As a driver, you can sign up for “Gigs," which are basically appointments to pick things up and/or drop them off.
By self described “disruptive innovation”, Roadie is tapping into the nation’s $90 billion shipping industry. Most often their customers consist of of those looking to ship large, awkward or delicate objects. This only makes sense as their competitors--traditional shipping companies such as FedEx and the U.S Postal Service, charge a fortune for most things of the sort, especially oversize items.
What They Ship
On Roadie's blog, they include stories of shipping valuable antique rocking chairs, giant Bubbleballs used for fighting games, (see photo above) and many pets who have been transported sans cage in a comfy private car across many miles.
In addition to a greater level of convenience, representative Jackie Copp of Roadie says the application insures every package for $500, more than any traditional mailing service, and at no cost to the user. On especially busy times of the year for shipping such as holidays this is often a legitimate concern.
Pet Owners Use Roadie
Aside from those shipping oddly shaped, sized or constructed objects, Roadie customers consist of travelers, movers and pet owners. As a traveler you can request luggage delivered to you from location to location to avoid carrying to much weight on an adventure. As a pet owner you can avoid costly airplane fees for pet travel or the risk of stressing your animal in other forms of travel by providing a slightly more intimate form of travel for them.
As someone who is moving you can take advantage of this application in a number of cases. If you’re trying to make a move in a single trip, trying to avoid the cost of truck rentals and/or labor or simply don't have enough things to organize a more formal team of movers, Roadie is at your service.
Because the application is not the moving service itself, it is more accurate to describe the servers as the drivers, of which there are over 20 thousand nationwide. Drivers come in all shapes and sizes but serve the same purpose, to deliver what you’d like at an efficient cost and within a reasonable time frame.
Need More Users
Online reviews stay consistent with praise for Roadie and it’s promising concept. However, questions arise in its practicality. What is a well-intended app if it doesn’t have the user base to allow for growth and supplementation to it’s functionality?
Many suggested the format of the mobile application can be improved while others argue that the service itself should be further defined for users.
Complaints aside, “Feedback from drivers and senders alike has been overwhelmingly positive.” says a representative of the application. Every day senders benefit from the app, as in the case of senders S&S Fire Pits, who constantly ship large and heavy custom fire pits. They are able to save greatly on the cost of traditional shipping with the use of Roadie. Another, more unique example stems from a mother in Phoenix, Arizona who needed to transport her daughter’s belongings home from college in Michigan. What would have normally cost her $900 shrunk to nearly half of that with the use of Roadie.
Roadie often brings out the neighborliness in ourselves, as it allows for a form of more personal interaction between consumer and provider. Who better to deliver a gift to a loved one or a personal item left behind at a hotel or resort than someone within your community--or maybe even someone you know? Furthermore, your money doesn’t go into the pockets of large corporations with questionable profit sharing, but to your neighbor.
Try Roadie the next time you're trying to send a swingset to your little sister, or perhaps if you're heading to California from New York in a big minivan with some extra room. Why not make some money from those empty seats?