“A side hustle to someone’s side hustle.”
That’s the description of Roadie, a delivery service that relies on gig drivers to deliver anything from lost luggage to furniture to prescription drugs. The quote comes from Marc Gorlin, the founding CEO of Roadie.
Roadie might be the ultimate in multi-apping. It’s possible for a Roadie delivery driver to schedule a pickup and have that assignment active on the Roadie app while delivering food or transporting rideshare customers.
We will explain how in a minute, but here is what else you can look forward to:
- How does Roadie work?
- How much do Roadie delivery drivers earn?
- How to sign up as a Roadie driver.
- Roadie’s Gig Matching.
- Advice for Roadie drivers.
- Gridwise makes Roadie even more profitable.
How does Roadie work?
The origin story
Marc Gorlin, already a veteran of tech-related startups, conceived of Roadie in 2014 when an order of tile for his Florida condominium arrived at the contractor’s yard. The shipment was hopelessly damaged. A replacement order was available but stuck in an Alabama warehouse and would not arrive for several days.
Gorlin sat in his car on a freeway overpass contemplating the delay of his remodel while watching empty pickup trucks passing in both directions on the interstate. Gorlin knew some of them were probably traveling between where his tile was warehoused and his condominium, but there was no way he could get any of those drivers to agree to transport it. Gorlin later discovered the potential of those cars.
“That’s an unbelievable resource,” Gorlin told UGA Today, a publication of his alma mater, the University of Georgia, “250 million passenger vehicles hit the road daily with almost 4 billion cubic feet of excess capacity.”
Almost a decade later, Roadie has more than 200,000 drivers and serves about 90% of the US population. The firm claims it can deliver just about anything the same day, next day, and urgently to 20,000+ zip codes nationwide.
Roadie contracts with major airlines to deliver lost luggage. Retailers such as Best Buy, Home Depot, and Tractor Supply use Roadie to transport purchases. The pandemic brought a skyrocketing demand for deliveries to businesses and homebound consumers looking for that last-mile delivery. In September 2021, UPS acquired Roadie. According to the Atlanta Business Chronicle, the purchase price was north of $500 million.
Roadie in action
Retailers, airlines, and other entities needing items delivered post their requests on the Roadie app. Information includes the item being picked up, pickup location, where it’s going, size, weight, delivery deadline (if any), and what the gig pays. Roadie refers to each delivery as a “gig.” Drivers indicate through the app if they are interested in the delivery. Once the gig is assigned, they pick it up and make the delivery. Both pickup and delivery are confirmed through photos on the app.
How the Roadie driver app works with other apps
You’re a rideshare driver living in New Jersey near Newark Liberty International Airport, but your strategy is to hit the road at 4:00 am, when you’re likely to get a passenger heading to JFK International Airport, which pays a handsome fare. Before you turn on your rideshare app, you check the Roadie driver app. An airline in Newark needs a misrouted piece of luggage transported to JFK by 11:00 am. You pick up the luggage at the Newark airport, turn on your rideshare app, and head for JFK, predictably picking up a ride en route. You drop off the passenger, then go to the terminal for the lost luggage and make that delivery before 7:00 am.
You just got paid for two deliveries at once. Then you can look for another Roadie delivery or spend the rest of the day in New York City on the rideshare app. When it’s time to go home, you check the Roadie driver app for misrouted luggage that needs to get from JFK to Newark or any other delivery along your travel route.
How much do Roadie delivery drivers earn?
Roadie works best as part of a gig driving strategy
Roadie deliveries are best when used in a blend of gig driving activities, allowing drivers to earn more during what is otherwise considered downtime. A recent blog post on Sidehusl.com reports that Roadie deliveries average $13, with a range of $8 up to $100. Bulkier items often command a higher price tag and may require a truck or van.
There are other strategies. As reported in Pharmaceutical Commerce, Roadie expanded an agreement with ScriptDrop Inc, a healthcare technology company focused on prescription access, to deliver consumer prescriptions. Rain City Dreamer chronicles on YouTube how he often averages $30 an hour with Roadie delivering ScriptDrop prescriptions during weekday afternoons, downtime for his other gigs.
Here is a look at Roadie driver earnings according to numbers collected from drivers using the Gridwise app.
|Roadie*||Base earnings (median)||Tip earnings (median)||Total earnings (median)||Total trips (median)||Earnings per delivery(mean)||Hours worked (median)||Hourly rate (median)|
*Note that there is a discrepancy between the combination of base and tip earnings and what is stated in the gross earnings. This is due to a 5% variance in computing numbers for comparison.
In reviewing these numbers, consider that they represent earnings from all Roadie drivers for a quarter, including those who have done one or two deliveries and those that do dozens of deliveries. Nevertheless, Roadie pays among the highest of any gig driving job when broken down into hourly earnings.
But a review of Roadie numbers for the top-performing drivers (those in the 90th percentile) presents a more inviting picture.
|Roadie*||Base earnings (mean)||Tip earnings (mean)||Total earnings (mean)||Total trips (mean)||Earnings per delivery(mean)||Hours worked (mean)||Hourly rate (mean)|
*Note the discrepancy between the combination of base and tip earnings and what is stated in the gross earnings. This is due to a 5% variance in computing numbers for comparison.
Top-producing drivers are earning some of the best hourly wages of gig drivers.
According to its website, Roadie processes payments to gig drivers every Tuesday. Depending on the recipient bank, deposits appear in the driver’s bank account in one to three days. There is also an Instant Pay option.
How to sign up as a Roadie Driver
Where to start
To become a Roadie driver, sign up through the website.
Minimum qualifications include
- being 18 years old
- possessing a valid driver’s license
- having a Social Security number
- maintaining a minimum 4-star rating in the Roadie driver database, based on feedback from senders
Roadie does not have any requirements for the type of vehicle a driver can use; however, their terms and conditions note that senders can indicate which type of vehicle to use for a delivery, such as a truck for delivering large items.
Roadie driver reviews and ratings
Roadie drivers are reviewed by senders based on a five-star system. The firm is serious about reviews—drivers who fall under four stars risk suspension from the app.
Tips come from senders and are passed on to the drivers through the app. Tips for Roadie drivers average less than 10% of total earnings and often considerably less. This is most likely due to the high percentage of deliveries from corporate-owned retailers with managers working with limited budgets.
Roadie has yet to have a driver rewards or incentive program that Gridwise has been able to verify, nor has Roadie revealed plans to establish one.
Roadie’s Gig Matching
- Cargo Trailer
- Extra Equipped
- TSA Certification
The Roadie website lists how drivers can attain these levels.
More recently, the company has developed a system referred to as Gig Matching. When multiple Roadie drivers indicate an interest in a particular delivery, the Roadie algorithm rates the riders based on predetermined criteria. This criteria includes the listed certification levels as well as other factors, such as
- vehicle size
- driver ratings
- gigs the driver is already delivering
- proximity to pickup location
- the direction the driver is already headed
Roadie’s Gig Matching algorithm weighs these factors and others in selecting the driver for a particular gig. It will match drivers with multiple deliveries when they are all going in one general region and meet the qualifications.
As mentioned earlier, Roadie recently started delivering for ScriptDrop, a healthcare technology company connecting pharmacies to delivery partners. Drivers who qualify for ScriptDrop deliveries must use the app to take a photo of themselves when they pick up the prescription and another photo when they drop it off.
Advice for Roadie drivers
The Roadie website does an excellent job of educating Roadie drivers on the ins and outs of their job, complete with videos. Here are specific tips:
Make regular offers on Roadie gigs. You won’t get every gig you make an offer on, but when you see something that makes sense for where you’re going, put your name in.
Be on time. Arrive to pick up the item when you said you would get there, and ensure items are delivered by the hour indicated.
Avoid cancellations. Roadie does allow you to cancel a gig you have committed to, but abusing this will affect your rating, sometimes to the point of temporary suspension.
Take good gig photos. Roadie requires photos of most gigs, when you pick up items and when you deliver them.
Be a nice person. Even though you’re a contract worker and technically self-employed, you’re the face of Roadie to both senders and recipients. Roadie wants you to be your best self.
Prioritize your gigs. If you’re mixing a Roadie gig with another gig, such as driving a rideshare passenger to the airport and dropping off a piece of lost luggage, don’t ask the passenger to wait in the car while you deliver the luggage first. Plan your gigs so that they are independent of one another.
Keep a folding box for multiple gigs. Doing Roadie deliveries for ScriptDrop is an excellent example where you might get multiple deliveries. Keep them organized with a folding box in your car.
Experiment, experiment, experiment. Sometimes, you’ll want to turn off your other apps and work exclusively for Roadie, especially when making multiple deliveries. Constantly experiment to see what works.
Gridwise makes Roadie even more profitable
Roadie drivers use Gridwise’s mileage tracker to maximize their mileage deduction, and Gridwise’s earning tracker keeps everything organized in one place.
Gridwise also shows drivers the most profitable times and places to drive.