A couple weeks ago, I was feeling lazy and thinking about ordering in a food delivery. When I went to their site, I noticed their logo is a little dude on a bike, and I got distracted wondering whether it was possible to run orders for Postmates given that San Diego isn’t as dense as bigger cities are. I couldn’t find indication on community posts, so I went ahead and submitted an application to just test it out myself.
A few days later, my application was approved, and I was mailed out their starter kit, which was basically a hot-and-cold insulated branded tote bag, a debit card to pay for active deliveries that aren’t prepaid by the customer, and a small print out of basic tips/guidelines. I installed their Postmates Fleet app for couriers, which is surprisingly simple in function. It’s a just an activity map with an offline-online switch in the top right corner and a shortcut to a *very* simple settings menu. When online, it starts feeding your location and awaits offers to come through for you to accept on the same map screen.
One thing I had been wondering/worried about was whether the app would indicate what I’m picking up and where I’m taking it to—I didn’t want to find myself having to deal with a cargo incompatible with my rear bike rack with a built-in bungee cord for transport and a far distance to travel, but I also know that apps of this nature such as Lyft and Uber don’t give drivers full details until the job has been accepted to prevent discrimination. When the first order offer came in, I was relieved to find it was showing me the pickup and dropoff points, along with the contents of the order. I don’t know if it does this because my vehicle type is set as “bicycle” or of it does this in general, but that’s not something I care to test myself. I skipped that first order, and all of the unexpected multiple ones that followed, because I quickly realized my existing gear setup wasn’t going to cut it. A lot of the orders had beverages included, and even with the x-crossed bungee cord on my rack and the delivery tote I was sent, personal experience has shown me plenty that drinks and the pressure of the bungee cord do not a good combination make.
I did some shopping on Amazon for a crate to attach to my rack, but I wasn’t too keen on all their options that were hardware mounted to the rack itself; I wanted something I could quickly and easily remove. Another quick internet search pointed me to my local Target store, which reportedly had a removable basket that mounts on the handlebars in stock. I made a late-night bike ride down to store to find they only had them in stock in a hideous bright baby blue. Not wanting to leave the store emptyhanded after making the trip, I browsed around and found a plastic storage crate that fit nicely against the bike racks they had for sale in the store. Looking at their hardware offerings, I found some Gear Ties—thick rubber bendable & reusable cords—and cobbled together a solution that met my desired criteria and cost me all of $10.
I didn’t get to test out my new setup until Monday after work. I got home and decided to try the Postmates by bike thing in lieu of going on a 5 mile run. My first was a desert from an eatery around the corner from home. The customer was a nice girl not too far away down on Alabama St. near Pecs. During my test run, I realized that I could use a cargo net to stretch across the top of the crate to prevent stuff from bouncing out on dips/bumps. As I was getting ready to call it, I got another order that was a short distance away, so I did that one before ending Postmates Day 1.
I did another couple deliveries yesterday after spending most of the day cleaning the apartment. So far, I’ve had a 50% tip rate. It’s only a four-order sample yet so far, but seems like females do better at the tipping thing than males do. Still, it’s a fun way to make some money while riding my bike around like I would be during my personal time, and the small personal interactions with strangers are nice.