We’ve talked before about the value of diversifying your sources of on-demand income, so you already know that you should work with multiple companies to earn more, take advantage of special offers, and keep things interesting. You also know that it’s a good idea to pair ridesharing with other types of work such as delivery, but shipping provides another alternative that may be a good fit for some members of the on-demand workforce.
What is on-demand shipping? There are several different business models out there, but the most important one for on-demand workers to know about is the one used by Shipster, Dropoff, and Shyp. They pick up packages and then find the best way to ship them via FedEx, UPS, or DHL. As an on-demand shipping agent, you accept requests through your smartphone and go pick up packages. It’s not that different from on-demand deliver work.
Like any on-demand job, you need a smartphone to accept requests and keep track of where you’re going. You also need a vehicle of some kind: Shyp and Shipster allow bike couriers in addition to car couriers, while Dropoff requires you to have a vehicle.
The vehicle requirements aren’t as strict as they are for ridesharing, so this could be a good gig for people with older model or two-door cars
The only other requirement that is different from other types of on-demand work is the ability to perform a little bit of heavy lifting; Shyp specifically asks that its agents be able to lift up to 50 pounds.
It should also be noted that these companies are only in a small number of cities at the moment, but they could change quickly as on-demand companies are rapidly expanding into new markets.
Benefits of Shipping
Each company has its own claims about how much you can earn as an agent. Dropoff claims that you can consistently earn $15-$20 an hour, while Shipster claims that some agents are earning over $50 an hour.
Perhaps the biggest reason to try working for an on-demand shipping company is the fact that the work is less prone to surges and peak times, and is done during the day. Ridesharing and food delivery have peak times where they are much busier than they are the rest of the day, so if you need something that’s a little more consistent, you might want to try becoming a shipping agent.
Shipping could also be a good daytime gig for someone that wants to have their nights free or someone who does ridesharing at night.
Shipping, like delivery, doesn’t require you to have strangers in your car, so it may be more comfortable than ridesharing for some people.
Shyp is moving its drivers to employee status as of the beginning of 2016, which could be a good choice for someone that wants to make on-demand work their main source of income. Shipster and Dropoff classify their workers as independent contractors.
If you’ve tried shipping and want to share your experiences, please leave a comment.
Also published on Medium.