Some of our favorite former/at-large contributors (like Jay!) always thought about life after rideshare driving, pursuing their own goals beyond rideshare. In this week’s Driver Feature Friday, senior RSG contributor Paula Gibbins talks with delivery driver Red, who started his own delivery business via Dumpling. After learning all he could from the app, he’s now chosen to branch off into his own delivery business.
Pretty much all of the major cities around the U.S. have full to moderately decent delivery coverage by companies such as DoorDash, Grubhub, Instacart, among other delivery services. However, what do you do when your area is outside of range, yet demand is still there for these delivery services?
Red from FL took matters into his own hands, starting his own delivery service called Red’s Delivery Services, powered by Dumpling. However, as you’ll see below, Red learned a lot about being his own boss through Dumpling, and is now planning on launching his own service soon!
Learn more about Dumpling in this article: Dumpling Review: Start Your Own Delivery Business.
Red’s Dumpling Delivery Service: An Instacart and DoorDash Alternative
Red’s Delivery Services helps fill the gap and keeps grocery delivery affordable for his market. Red’s website boasts that you can get delivery from any store or restaurant in Putnam County, FL.
“I discovered one interesting thing in my area,” said Red. “DoorDash is pretty much running the show. Instacart is so-so, but they only service the county capital and then the neighboring couple of towns. So, the whole south end of my county isn’t covered at all.”
With that large of a gap in service, Red knew he needed to step up, especially since Putnam County also used to be considered the poorest in the state.
“I thought it was unfair, one of the poorest counties in the state and customers being up-charged on top of the merchants being charged,” said Red. “And then the entire south end of the county not having services at all. So, I decided to start my own.”
From Opportunity to Earnings
Red describes his service as the “old school” definition of a personal shopper. Red said, “A customer can send me to literally any merchant in the county. I don’t need to have a pre-existing contract with the merchant. I don’t work for them, I work for the customer.”
Red also explained that if one store he’s actively shopping at does not have a particular item, but another store nearby does, he can pick up the exact thing the customer wants from the store that has it in stock. That is a service that Instacart cannot provide to their customers.
On top of that, there’s a feature in the app to “request a store” if the shop the customer wants to buy from is not currently listed.
On Red’s website, he states, “I cover all the platform fees myself, so any business can utilize my delivery services affordably (free to them). And I only charge in-store prices and in-store sales, which will help you save money over Instacart, DoorDash, etc, as well as allow you to shop at any store/restaurant you want.”
Red also does not believe in what he calls a “mandatory tip” which others on the platform charge. “That’s a fee,” said Red. “If you’re making people tip, that’s a fee.”
Does Dumpling Want to Be the Next Instacart?
Now, as he’s becoming more successful, Red is looking to break away from the Dumpling platform and truly have his own delivery service. He’s working with a software developer to launch his vision for his business.
Why break away from Dumpling? It comes down to increased fees and Red’s desire to remain truly independent.
“When I first started with the platform, everything seemed very reasonable,” explained Red. “Like, you could get up to 5 extra cards if you wanted to hire someone out. Then they had pay plans where you could customize pay on the desktop version and a few extra perks. Shortly after I launched through them…I’ve got to pay for platform fees, and credit card processing that the platform charges.”
He noticed that about 9% of his income was going right out the door almost immediately. Then, the platform changed how business owners are allowed to charge their customers.
“In my opinion, my price is my price,” said Red. “If I need to make X amount of dollars to be profitable, that’s what you’re going to get charged.”
On top of that, Red noticed other changes coming through with the implications that Dumpling was trying to become the next Instacart.
“If you’re going to start heading in the direction of making us go from where we’re our own business owners with our own pay structure to now we’re independent contractors…so, what you’re going to tell us how much we’re allowed to earn? No,” he concluded.
From Dumpling Delivery to Business Owner
Like many drivers pursuing a life beyond rideshare, Red realized he liked the flexibility of being his own boss so much that he wanted to create his own delivery business. To that end, Red is building his own delivery platform.
“The current platform will be out of use as soon as the new one is finished,” Red said. “The new platform will be much cleaner and easier for customers, as well as providing me the ability to expand into other areas.”
Red’s hoping to launch his app early 2022 (or sooner). With this app, he’d like to expand his customer base “as far as he can”.
He currently has interest in other Florida counties as well as interest in Georgia. “The potential to grow is there,” said Red. “I just need the new app to launch so I can pick up full-service operators. Most people want the full service.”
Red concluded, “I’m currently accepting applications for County Managers throughout Florida and Georgia if any gig workers you know are looking for more of a concrete career in this line of work. Shortly after the launch in Georgia, I’ll be accepting applications for State Managers and County Managers throughout the rest of the US. Expanding into each state as positions fill and funds are available for the process.”
Are there gaps in delivery coverage in your area? Would you ever consider running your own delivery service?
-Paula @ RSG