A new app provides students with a new way to order food or make extra money.
Postmates takes users’ locations to find nearby restaurants. Customers choose a restaurant and place an order through the app. Then, Postmates finds a local driver to pick up the order and deliver it to the customer. The app processes all payments via credit card, so no one exchanges physical money.
Typically, customers pay the regular price of the meal, plus a delivery fee and a tip for the driver. Since the business is new to this area, the app offers a referral code, as well as coupons and daily specials.
“I’ve gotten several referral codes from people,” said Arrash Allahyar, cell and molecular biology junior. “I’ve gotten Jamba Juice shakes and foot-long subs from City Bites for free, so I only paid for the driver’s tip.”
Postmates launched the app in 38 cities so far. It relies on local citizens to drive and deliver orders. Some students already signed up.
“I was amazed at how easy it was to become a driver,” said Adrienne Pierce, acting sophomore. “I applied online, gave them my information and a picture of my driver’s license, and attended the two-hour training session. That was it.”
After Postmates approves the driver’s application, they host a courier training session. During the session, facilitators present about how the company works. They also explain procedures for emergencies and problems that may come up, Pierce said. After the training, Pierce received a hot and cold bag for food transport and a Pex card that Postmates loads with the money she needs for each order.
Aside from the bag and card, drivers receive stickers, a shirt, a parking pass, and health and car insurance while on the job. If a driver gets in an accident while delivering food through Postmates, their personal insurance covers what it can, and Postmates takes care of the rest, Pierce said.
Once someone becomes an authorized driver, they set their own hours, opening the app and accepting jobs whenever they have time. Couriers have no minimal delivery requirement. They may work as much or as little as they want.
Each driver receives a rating from customer reviews that they must maintain. The rating scale ranges from zero to five. After each delivery, drivers may also rate their customers and make any comments Postmates should consider when examining the customer’s rating.
Pierce accepted her first delivery through the app in December. She brought a McDonald’s cheeseburger and two large fries to a customer. The order itself cost $6. The customer also paid the $7 delivery fee and a $5 tip, so her order totaled $18.
“She ended up paying three times the amount that she could have paid by going to the McDonald’s down the street from her house,” Pierce said. “I’m not complaining, though. She tipped well and gave me a five rating.”
Some students want to remain on the consumer side of the business and enjoy the convenience of the app.
“It’s not always worth the extra cost, especially if the order is something small like a Starbucks drink,” said Alanah Hosford, cell and molecular biology sophomore.
“But I appreciate that I can have food sent to me, should I desire it.”
In addition to food, Postmates delivers groceries and goods found at drugstores like Walgreens.
To find out more about Postmates or schedule a delivery, download the app or visit www.postmates.com. To become a driver, apply at www.postmates.com/apply.