So many apps grow out of a desire to address a simple problem, and Roadie is no different. Founder Marc Gorlin decided to create the app in 2015 after a shipment of tiles for his new Florida condo arrived shattered in pieces. When he tried to get the company to send a new batch, they told him it would take another week or two, which confused him considering the company was based in Birmingham, Alabama -- about a two hour drive from his condo.
Surely someone, he thought, must be making the short drive over and would be willing to bring the box of tiles to him.
The Roadie app grew directly from that thought and now connects more than 90,000 drivers in 50 cities with people who need things shipped by car. When it debuted in 2015, the app secured more than $10 million in funding from major backers like Google's Eric Schmidt, rapper Ludacris and shipping company UPS while benefiting from the growth of rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft.
Since starting out in a few southern states, the app has gained popularity as more and more drivers "stack" their apps, rotating between rideshare apps like Uber or Lyft and delivery services like Roadie.
"Roadie is a great side hustle to your side hustle," Roadie's content and communications manager Jamie Gottlieb said in an interview with Ladders Magazine.
"We are an on-the-way delivery service, so we connect people and businesses that have stuff to send with drivers already headed in the right direction. As a driver, you could be taking your daily commute to work, or heading back and forth from campus... if you have extra room in your vehicle, you could pick something up along the way and make money on a drive you're already taking," he added.
Over the last three years, Roadie has expanded to fill a number of different delivery gaps that have been exacerbated by a new generation of consumers used to Amazon's quick and simple delivery practices.
"It's essentially people already on the road heading in the right direction. There's 250 million cars on the road that's almost a natural resource of delivery, if you just give people a chance to use it," Gorlin told CNBC's "On the Money" in an interview last October.
They now are a major force with airlines like Delta and United, taking over for them when it comes to delivering bags that were either left behind or mistakenly put on the wrong flight. This used to be a major point of concern for airlines because people routinely complained about the long wait for their bags. But with Roadie, drivers can ostensibly drop riders off at the airport with Uber, Lyft or other rideshare services and on their way back take lost baggage to their rightful owner.
"If you're a driver, you could drive someone to the airport in an Uber, then take two or three bags back [with Roadie] into the city or back to wherever you came from and make $30, $40, $50 on that trip that you otherwise wouldn't have been making money off," Gottlieb said.
"Let's say you are a crowdsourced driver, you're looking for a flexible way to stack your money, stack your apps, and make driving as a service worth it. Generally, we pay more per trip than Uber or Lyft. Drivers make between $8-$60 for local deliveries, depending on a number of factors like size and distance. We pay up to $650 long haul gig. The cut varies, but we'll never take more than 20 percent."
In addition to their work with airlines, Roadie has partnered with Home Depot, Macy's and Krogers to deliver other goods to users through their app, which is "as easy as ordering a pizza," according to Gorlin. Users pay for the delivery through the app and only have to specify the size of the package before it can be delivered. Roadie takes about a 20 percent cut of all deliveries, but other than that there are few extra charges for both users and drivers.
In order to become a Roadie driver, you must have a license, a car, and be willing to undergo a background check.
"Drivers get the freedom to choose what they want to deliver, and when they want to deliver," Gottlieb told Ladders.
"We do local, same-day last-mile deliveries as well as long-haul deliveries that can help subsidize, you know, the cost of gas on a road trip."
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- The Roadie app allows rideshare drivers to also do deliveries, which can net them anywhere between $8-$60 for local deliveries and up to $650 for longer haul deliveries.
- The app was created in 2015 and is now backed by UPS, Google chairman Eric Schmidt and a bevy of airlines who pay the company to deliver lost baggage.
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