Bike-based courier or delivery service

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
Garry Booth
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Bike-based courier or delivery service

Postby Garry Booth » 21 Apr 2020, 2:56pm

Does anyone have any experience of bikes being used to home deliver for eg local shops? I'm in a small market town with a number of independent shops and one (Co-Op) supermarket serving several housing developments and the old town. The lockdown has made me wonder if there is scope for a bike based delivery service for eg grocery orders.
Be interested to know if such exists and how it is priced: does the shop pay or does the underlying customer? How much?

jgurney
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Re: Bike-based courier or delivery service

Postby jgurney » 21 Apr 2020, 3:49pm

The London-based company E-cargobikes has started doing this with contracts with various retailers. Their website shows some of their electric-assist cargo bikes in Co-op and Sainsburys liveries. https://e-cargobikes.com/

Doing it this way, via a fleet provider, has several attractions for large retail businesses: they get a specified service level at a predictable price and do not have to get into unfamiliar territory such as selecting the right design of cargo bike, recruiting people with the right mixture of cycling, food handling and customer service skills, or being responsible for cargo bike maintainance.

I believe Sainsburys charge the customers on the same terms as they do for van deliveries, and the Co-op charge a £5 fee (but I don't know how that compares with their charges for van deliveries). https://www.retailgazette.co.uk/blog/2019/03/the-co-op-launches-online-delivery-with-electric-bikes/

Oldjohnw
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Re: Bike-based courier or delivery service

Postby Oldjohnw » 21 Apr 2020, 3:54pm

Not strictly relevant but when I were a lad it were normal.

Them was the days!
John

PH
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Re: Bike-based courier or delivery service

Postby PH » 21 Apr 2020, 4:09pm

I do some delivery for Stuart who locally do mostly Just Eat. Since all the major takeaways have closed they've been promoting co-op deliveries, though they're not yet at a level where it's worth while me doing it too often. As with all the other deliveries the customer pays an up-charge (I think it's £3) and the retailer pays a percentage of the spend (15% normally) I'm paid same as for takeaways, average £5 which is OK if you're doing three an hour but not if it's less than one.
I'm using the same bike, two panniers,a basket on the back with a chiller bag and the same backpack as I use for takeaways. The maximum shop is supposed to be 12kg but it's been closer to 20.
if it were to get busy I can see it being worthwhile in an urban area, I'm not sure if that's the case in a rural one, I think you'd have to take multiple deliveries in one load, then think about the time you have chilled and frozen items in transit. Much as I like the idea, it's hard to see how you could be competitive compared to a car or van.

simonhill
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Re: Bike-based courier or delivery service

Postby simonhill » 21 Apr 2020, 4:22pm

Doing a full service has to incorporate the shopping element as well. This means that you need to be tied in with the retailer.

A more casual or ad hoc method would be collecting and delivering 'click and collect' orders.

backnotes
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Re: Bike-based courier or delivery service

Postby backnotes » 21 Apr 2020, 6:21pm

You could also look at Zedify https://www.zedify.co.uk who do deliveries in Cambridge (and London, Brighton and possibly elsewhere).

This is a step up in scale from couriers who deliver small packages by bike. Some of their bikes are huge! So, it may be something that works best in a city, rather than a small market town.

Oxwash https://www.oxwash.com are an interesting bike-based company in terms of end-to-end customer service. I know they do laundry and not shopping / deliveries, but they do the whole service rather than just the bike-based collection and delivery. So as above there may be parallel ideas for a shopping service beyond just ferrying stuff from A to B by bike.

Postboxer
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Re: Bike-based courier or delivery service

Postby Postboxer » 21 Apr 2020, 6:51pm

There's also a difference in whether you want to earn money from it in order to make a living, or just for some extra cash, effectively being paid to go for a bike ride. I've often thought about offering it as a local delivery option on my ebay listings, on the things that would be easy to transport by bike, I could then be paid to go for a ride when I would or should be going out anyway.

Garry Booth
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Re: Bike-based courier or delivery service

Postby Garry Booth » 22 Apr 2020, 9:27am

Thanks very much for the really interesting insights, links and opinions everyone. I'm heading for retirement and looking at different options for staying active, being helpful locally - and maybe getting paid a bit to augment my pension. As cycling is my big hobby I'm looking to see if I can combine everything. So again, those observations are very helpful.

On a topical note, my son is a rider for Deliveroo in a northern city, when he is not being a pro musician (which is all the time right now). They have been rescued by Amazon and it will be interesting to see how that changes what Deliveroo do.

In the US, Amazon has started its own gig worker/self employed delivery service. I wonder if we will start to see bike-based 'last miles' Amazon parcel deliveries?

PH
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Re: Bike-based courier or delivery service

Postby PH » 22 Apr 2020, 4:06pm

Garry Booth wrote:On a topical note, my son is a rider for Deliveroo in a northern city, when he is not being a pro musician (which is all the time right now). They have been rescued by Amazon and it will be interesting to see how that changes what Deliveroo do.

That's interesting about Amazon, I just googled it. I knew they've been trying to buy into it for a while and it had previously been held up due to competition rules. Seems those concerns have been set aside as deliveroo would have collapsed otherwise. It may surprise some people, but they've never been in profit. Long term I doubt there's room for all three players, deliveroo, Just eat and UberEats, out of them deliveroo is the most likely to survive and IME the worst to deliver for.

I'm in a similar position to you, I can't afford to retire, but don't need full time employment either. I've looked a couple of times at going it alone, it would have to be something not covered by the majors and something the end customer doesn't mind paying a premium for. I've considered a couple of things, but working for the others is easy money. Not so much in terms of the job, but it's very flexible and requires little commitment - I took 9 weeks off last year, worked 60 hours some weeks to fund it and 20 hours other weeks when I had something else I wanted to do - it's hard to think of anything else that offers that.

Garry Booth
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Re: Bike-based courier or delivery service

Postby Garry Booth » 22 Apr 2020, 10:17pm

zedify that #backnotes mentioned above looks interesting and sem to be expanding into provincial cities.

Jamesh
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Re: Bike-based courier or delivery service

Postby Jamesh » 23 Apr 2020, 9:07pm

I would think a bike delivery service would work in a densely populated area but not flats.

Such an area where people who have enough disposable income to be able to pay for a premium service.

Saltaire near me would suit as many people would fit the socioeconomic demographic required in a compact area.

A large village or small town in middle England would suit it too.

Cheers James

PH
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Re: Bike-based courier or delivery service

Postby PH » 23 Apr 2020, 9:27pm

Garry Booth wrote:zedify that #backnotes mentioned above looks interesting and sem to be expanding into provincial cities.

Thanks, I've just had a look at that, I expect it'll be a while before it's anywhere near me. Plus it seems to be employed status and boasting that they're paying the living wage, no thanks to both.

Garry Booth
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Re: Bike-based courier or delivery service

Postby Garry Booth » 24 Apr 2020, 5:14pm

Ah, OK.

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TrevA
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Re: Bike-based courier or delivery service

Postby TrevA » 24 Apr 2020, 11:53pm

There was an interesting piece on the British Cycling FB page, about members of Banbury Star Cycling Club who have arranged with a local pharmacy to deliver prescriptions to people in the town and surrounding villages. All for free, of course, and as part of their daily exercise.
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