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When it was founded in 2014, Roadie intended for drivers to deliver items that were headed the same way they were. Now the company is a sprawling national enterprise that serves 95% of the country. That means driving for Roadie is accessible to nearly everyone.
The app brings unique features, transparency and ease of use to the table, and the company continues to experiment with ways for drivers to earn.
But will it put you on the road to riches or should you steer clear? This Roadie review will help you decide.
What Is Roadie?
Roadie is a UPS-owned platform that connects businesses and individuals with local drivers for same-day and next-day deliveries. It operates in all 50 states, with more than 200,000 drivers.
As an independent contractor on Roadie, you have a lot of flexibility:
You use your own vehicle for deliveries, making this a type of gig economy job.
You can pick up single or multi-stop deliveries whenever they are available, ranging from medication to furniture.
You get all the delivery details upfront — including pay, dimensions and distance — so you can decide if you want to accept the assignment.
There is no minimum number of deliveries you have to make.
With that said, it’s important to note that you can’t simply claim each delivery. Instead, you have to wait for Roadie’s algorithm to decide if you’re the best driver for each assignment you request.
According to the company, this algorithm takes hundreds of factors into consideration. So even if you’re standing at the pickup location, you may not get chosen for a job.
Recently, the platform began rolling out an alternative to making offers on deliveries called Blocks, which enables drivers to pick up scheduled shifts with particular vendors for guaranteed pay. For example, you might make deliveries exclusively for Walmart on a four-hour shift for $65.
In either case, once you’ve started making deliveries, you have to maintain a four-star rating to continue.
Roadie doesn’t have vehicle restrictions. However, you must meet these requirements to drive:
Be at least 18 years old.
Have a valid driver’s license.
Have a Social Security number.
Have insurance coverage on your vehicle that meets your state’s minimum standards.
You’re responsible for paying for this insurance, and in most cases, all other costs associated with your vehicle and deliveries. That said, there are times when the package sender may reimburse you for parking fees and tolls.
Five Key Facts About Driving For Roadie
Here are the key things to remember about Roadie as you consider whether to become a driver.
Roadie is available in all 50 states. The company says it covers over 20,000 zip codes nationwide. However, the work available isn’t distributed equally, with some areas getting far more and steadier work than others. Additionally, you may not be able to drive for Roadie immediately because it has determined the area already has enough drivers. In this case, you’ll be placed on a waitlist.
Roadie says the average pay per delivery is $13. Independent data collected from Gridwise users landed in the same ballpark. The pay rate for each delivery is determined by several factors, including distance, time and size. Many deliveries increase in value the longer they’re left unclaimed.
You can get paid weekly or same-day.Roadie processes payments for direct deposit every Tuesday. If you need your money sooner than that, you can opt for Instant Pay, which gives you immediate access to your earnings. Instant Pay costs $1.99 and has eligibility requirements (your account has to be at least be a week old and have five deliveries under its belt to qualify).
Deliveries aren’t first-come, first-serve. Unlike other delivery apps, Roadie doesn’t award its deliveries to the first person who attempts to claim them. Instead, it uses an algorithm to choose the “right” driver among those who accepted the job. Roadie says hundreds of factors go into this calculation, so it’s not necessarily going to be the closest person to the pickup location.
Support for drivers is poor.Even a cursory look at online reviews of Roadie will show it has significant problems with wait times and problem resolution. It’s not uncommon to see reports of people waiting half an hour or longer. Moreover, once they do get a hold of someone, many people report that support is inefficient and unhelpful.
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s dive deeper into the platform.
Roadie Earning Potential
According to Roadie, a lot goes into determining the pay per delivery. Considerations such as the size of the load, time expectations and distance all play a role. However, the company says with all that taken into account, most drivers make an average of $13 per delivery.
Having a truck with a trailer will increase your earning potential, as will having equipment that can help move large objects, like straps and a dolly.
Going big isn’t the only thing you can do to increase your pay, though. Other ways to do so are to use an electric or hybrid vehicle and to get a TSA certification from Roadie.
You can also take advantage of holiday surge pricing. Tips are also a possibility, but they’re rare.
A Look at True Earnings
Let’s suppose you work five hours a day at $22 per hour. That’s $550 per week. For simplicity’s sake, we’ll say you drive 10 miles per delivery and you can do two deliveries per hour. That’s 500 miles per week.
Using the current IRS mileage reimbursement rate (65.5 cents per mile) to account for your vehicle’s gas, wear and tear, depreciation, and so on, we’ll subtract $327.50.
For taxes, we’ll take out another 15%. That’s $82.50.
With those dropped from your earnings, you’re left with $140 for an hourly take-home pay rate of just $5.60. You’ll still need to pay for your insurance and phone, too.
Of course, this math doesn’t apply equally to all vehicles. The degree to which depreciation and wear and tear lowers the value of your vehicle depends on a number of factors, including its age, current milage and condition.
We think the 65.5-cent figure is generous for most people in most situations, which means that the $5.60 per-hour earnings figure is probably on the low end. In other words, most people will earn more.
Still, doing this math is helpful for the sake of visualizing the implicit expenses associated with gig economy driving. These costs are your own responsibility and they are “hidden,” in the sense that you don’t always pay them upfront. Keep this in mind when thinking about the overall earning potential of Roadie or any other similar opportunity.
How Roadie Works
It’s easy to sign up for Roadie, but you need to pass a background check before you can start making deliveries. Here’s what you can expect, from signing up to leaving your first package at someone’s door.
Step 1. Sign Up
You can sign up on Roadie’s website or use the iOS or Android app. You’ll need to provide your first and last name, a contact email address and your phone number.
Step 2. Fill Out Screening Questions
You’ll be asked for some personal information, which Roadie will use for your background check, and details about your car. You only need to say what type of vehicle you drive — a hatchback, for example — and the color.
You may be put on a waitlist after you’ve finished these questions, which means your market already has enough drivers to handle the demand. How long you’ll be on it is variable.
Step 3. Pass Background Check
Users report that it can take anywhere from a few minutes to a few weeks for Roadie to process your background check. Until it’s done, you’ll be able to see jobs in the app, but you won’t be able to make any offers.
Step 4. Make Offers on Jobs
Available deliveries show up on the map screen within the app, where pickup locations are displayed as pins. Tapping a pin will show you the jobs available at that location, and you can drill down further to learn information about each delivery. This is where you’ll find out the pay, load size, time expectations and so on.
When you express interest in doing a delivery, you’re making an offer. Roadie differs from other delivery apps in that jobs aren’t awarded to the first driver to pick them. Instead, the app uses an algorithm to select the “best” driver for the job among those who offered. After making an offer, you can expect to know whether you were awarded the job within 15 minutes.
Multiple jobs can be awarded to you if you make more than one offer at a time.
Step 5. Get to Work
Once Roadie awards you a job, tap “start” and head to the pickup location. You may be given special instructions to follow, so be on the lookout.
When you get to the pickup location, mark that you’ve arrived in the app. Load up the items that you need to deliver, then head to the drop-off point. Roadie will give you a route to follow. If your delivery has multiple stops, the app will create a route that includes all of them.
Like at the pickup location, you need to mark that you’ve arrived at the drop-off location. Again, there may be special instructions. Place the items in an obvious place for the recipient and take a picture to confirm delivery in the app.
The “Blocks” feature is a new initiative Roadie is rolling out in which drivers can sign up for scheduled blocks of time at a particular vendor for a particular price. The upside to doing these is you know how much you’ll get paid for your time, but you trade the flexibility to pick and choose what you deliver for that certainty.
It’s hard to say for sure how much you can make if you stick to signing up for shifts since the program hasn’t fully launched yet. However, we’ve seen screenshots that ranged from $60 to $80 for four to five-hour periods. You’re limited to signing up to one block per day, so you’d need to switch to the traditional offer system to continue making money after your shift.
Roadie partners with a short list of vendors to offer driver benefits. Through these partnerships, you can get free waffles at Waffle House, 10% off most services at Jiffy Lube and discounts on new tires at Discount Tire.
Roadie Reviews and Consensus
If you’re multi-apping (i.e., using multiple gig apps simultaneously), Roadie can be a good addition to the mix. However, reviews from drivers suggest it’s not an app you should depend on as your primary side hustle.
Number of Reviews
Drivers like the fact that Roadie gives them the freedom to work when they want in the area they choose, as well as the fact that they can use any vehicle — from a hatchback to a truck with a trailer — to do the work (as long as the vehicle is appropriate for the job).
It’s also transparent. You get all the information you need to be successful upfront, including the size of the delivery, the expected pickup and delivery times, the time the job is anticipated to take, the route and the pay. This allows you to make informed decisions about which jobs you make an offer on and which you leave for another driver.
People also don’t like the delivery selection process. The criteria the app uses to assign a job you’ve made an offer on is opaque. As we mentioned earlier, it can lead to situations where you’re at the pickup location and still aren’t picked for the job. Additionally, this process can take up to 15 minutes, so you could be stuck idling for a while.
The driver selection process can cause there to be inconsistent work, even when there seems to be plenty to go around. There’s no way to know what influences Roadie’s algorithm, so there’s nothing you can do to better your odds at getting selected for more jobs. It’s just a roll of the dice every time you make an offer.
Does Roadie pay for your expenses?
Roadie will pay for your parking fees and tolls if the sender has agreed to do so. In order to receive payment, you have to submit your receipts for reimbursement within 15 days of the delivery.
Roadie does not pay for fuel, insurance, or any other driving-related expenses.
How long does the background check and approval process take?
Roadie’s delivery radius is 100 miles for same-day deliveries.
Roadie is best used as part of a multi-apping strategy. It offers unparalleled transparency when it comes to pay, delivery and route details, making it easy to tack on a DoorDash delivery or an Uber ride. It allows drivers to use any vehicle, so there are no limitations on who can include the app in their mix.
However, many drivers believe that well-paying deliveries are increasingly uncommon. Additionally, work is inconsistent in many markets. Even in those with plenty of availability, Roadie’s driver selection algorithm can significantly hinder drivers looking to make deliveries.
For those on deliveries encountering issues, customer support is rarely a good option. Excessive wait times and poor problem resolution are widely reported. This can lead to long stretches of unpaid time at pickup or drop-off locations.
All things considered, we think Roadie is worth keeping in your rotation, if only to keep an eye out for deliveries that are on your way. As our walkthrough of Roadie’s true earnings potential showed, though, it shouldn’t be your main side hustle.
Cleveland Dietz is a freelance writer specializing in personal finance. He learned the power of good money management while digging himself out of credit card and student loan debt. Since then, he has experimented with side hustles and investing strategies. Follow him on Twitter @dietziic.