A challenge for on-demand couriers is finding a base to park between assignments. Unlike Uber and Lyft, where you can just chill at home until someone requests a ride, couriers for Postmates and Caviar have to position themselves close to where restaurants are. Dispatchers try to assign couriers who are nearby a restaurant when an order comes in. From a customer service perspective, this just makes sense. But as a result, couriers don’t get the luxury of waiting for assignments from home. They have to be close to a restaurant. So you have to be strategic about where you park your car.
I want to share with you an insightful piece of information I picked up from my readings on the on-demand economy, which has helped me know where I should station my car while I wait for an assignment.
Back in the summer of 2014, Bastian Lehmann, the CEO of Postmates spoke on a panel at a conference on data. At this conference, he said, “The food people order on Postmates get unhealthier each day of the week.” For on-demand couriers, this piece of information can help you predict which area or even what restaurant the next order might come from.
Normally couriers are blind as to which restaurant will be their next assignment (with Postmates, you have more insight since certain areas of the map turn red when there is high demand). However, if you know the eating habits of the general population, you can be more strategic with where to camp out while you wait for an assignment. Think about it. If people are eating healthy earlier in the week, then you should park your car in an area with a high density of establishments offering healthy food like salad bars, vegan restaurants, etc.. As the weekend approaches, you should be parking closer to establishments that sells burgers, pizzas, tacos, and even fast food joints. The key is to know your own city and collect data about the restaurants of the city and the ones you’ve been delivering for. In an upcoming post I will show you exactly how I did this in Portland.