Once again, it’s been awhile since I did one of these. Last week while looking through employment sites and Craigslist I found Postmates. I had heard about it on Scott Pilgrim VS The World, at least I think that was it, and some other show and discovered it had finally arrived in Jacksonville.
I was eager to try it out as it seemed a bit more fun than Uber Eats and I could use my better gas mileage vehicle for it.
What it is:
Postmates (Use code:FL-RBKTW to get us both a bonus!) is a delivery app that allows you to deliver virtually anything to someone who orders it on the app.
I found a Craigslist ad which directed me to the Postmates site. All you have to do is answer a few questions about your license, agree to a background check, and download the app to your phone.
After initial sign up Postmates will send you a prepaid Visa card which you will use to purchase ordered items. You will have to receive it and activate it before you can get to work, but the whole process is relatively quick. I signed up on a Wednesday and was on the road the following Tuesday.
When I first signed onto the app I noticed it looked a lot like the older Uber app, complete with bonus areas highlighted. And just like Uber, once you actually arrive at the area, the bonuses mysteriously disappear.
Just like Uber or Lyft, the app dings when you get an order. You accept the order and navigate to the location. Be careful of the directions though. My first order was in the mall, and instead of taking me to the food court, the app sent me to the front entrance.
The pickup experience is a bit different than either delivery services I have done, Uber Eats and plain old pizza delivery. With both of those the order is already prepared (in theory) and all you have to do is pick it up and deliver it. With Postmates you have to go to the store and place the order yourself.
As you can see above, the orders can be simple, or they can be very specific. Accuracy is key.
Once you place your order, you take a picture of the receipt, receive the items, tap “Pickup Complete” and then you are directed to your drop off point. Navigate to the drop off and deliver the items, with a smile of course.
Once you drop it off, click “Drop off complete” and you’ll get a message about how much you made for that delivery. This notification isn’t always instant. I had one take ten minutes. And from what I understand the tips don’t always show up for a few days.
Orders took about 30 minutes to complete. The quickest was a drive thru, but since I had to drive a distance to get there (without being paid) the speed of the pick up didn’t really matter.
How Much Money Are We Talking Here?
Well… I will be honest here. On a Tuesday night, during “Prime” hours, I worked 2.5 hrs, drove a total of 31.2 miles and made a whopping $10.91. After calculating for gas, I estimated my wages to be $2.50/hour. That’s pretty abysmal.
Maybe with tips and working weekends it would improve? I kinda doubt that. Postmates is new in town, so people may not know about it yet. And with a ton of other services out there, it’s not likely that they will be jumping on that bandwagon anytime soon.
Just like all the other apps, if someone tells you they are going to tip in the app, that’s code for “don’t expect a tip.”
Know your area. I had been out of town for six months and as a result I was a bit hazy on the locations of some things, like places in the mall.
Be prepared to travel all over town. Unlike Uber or Lyft, there is no function to travel to a particular location. So you just kinda wander wherever the orders come. For me, this meant turning down an order in the opposite direction that popped up right as I was ready to head home.
Maybe as an add on to both Uber and Lyft (though three apps at once gets cumbersome) Postmates would be a profitable venture. And maybe in a bigger city where people know about it. And a place where people tip. But around here, Postmates is just not profitable as far as I can tell.
I will give it another go and see what happens, when I am not unemployed and in need of real money.
Perhaps I will be pleasantly surprised.
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