By Patty Talahongva
Many Phoenicians already are accustomed to using such services as Lyft or Uber to get where they need to go; and now they have a few choices when it comes to having what they need delivered to them, on the same day.
PikFly, which launched earlier this year, specializes in delivering products from locally owned businesses. Customers can go to the website and select the category they need and add their zip code to search for nearby participating merchants. They purchase the item online and then a navigator is assigned to make the delivery. They are not called drivers because they don’t carry people, only products. Each navigator must pass a criminal background check.
Mike Auger, PikFly CEO, dreamed up the business when he helped develop e-commerce software for small businesses. Auger says he noticed there was a market for delivering goods that would be too expensive for the small business owner to undertake. That’s when he came up with the idea of starting a same-day delivery service just for products.
There are 118 locally owned businesses signed up with PikFly (https://pikfly.com). The introductory rate for merchants is $9.95 for one month to test the service. If they sign up they will pay $99 a month. Some of the businesses that have signed up are Noble Beast, Rosy’s Pharmacy, Urban Cookies, All About Books and Comics, Liquor Basket and Peanut Butter Americano.
“We have such dynamic personalities working here,” says Auger. And that helps when a rush order is placed, like the one where someone forgot to buy steaks for a cookout and had hungry guests in his backyard. That night a PikFly navigator drove 30 miles to deliver eight steaks.
Auger says there is “significant e-commerce” that is in need of a one-day, and in some cases, one-hour delivery service. Delivery rates are based on distance—zero to 10 miles will cost $6.95, more than 10 miles and the rate is $12.95. Each merchant receives free window stickers to help advertise. PikFly also is on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
The other same-day delivery service is Postmates, which is headquartered in San Francisco and has offices in 30 cities now. The Phoenix location has grown steadily since the delivery company started earlier this year.
The delivery fee is $5, unless there’s a discount promotion. Customers download the app and sign up with a debit or credit card. This allows the driver to pay for items with a special debit card that is filled every time a customer places an order.
Paul Jones first worked for Postmates while staying in Chicago. There the couriers get around on bicycles. But that’s not practical for Phoenix in the summertime, so Jones uses his trusty Subaru.
Among his more unique deliveries was picking up the belongings of an ex-girlfriend at the boyfriend’s house. He’s even picked up air conditioning filters for one customer, and he once delivered 60 pounds of ice on his bike in Chicago.
Jones was nominated for Postmate of the Month in July, and that’s out of thousands of drivers nationwide. “It’s kinda funny, cheesy bragging rights,” he laughs.
Like all Postmates drivers, Jones decides his own schedule and works around 30 hours a week. “I try to engage with everyone throughout my day,” he says, adds that since he’s on the road so much he sees things people have dropped or left behind. “I’ve returned a Red Box movie I found on the street,” and he recalls helping a young lady find a ring she dropped in a parking lot at night.
Customers can rate the driver and the delivery, such as the attention to detail. That’s why Jones makes sure there is plastic ware in the bag before he leaves a restaurant. He says he was curious about delivering 20 plastic spoons to a nightclub for someone wishing to do some sort of dance. “I didn’t know anything about dancing with spoons. I think that makes it more fun.”
He is allowed to deliver prescription medications but not alcohol, cigarettes, gasoline or live animals. Priority deliveries can be scheduled in advance, and general deliveries are the ones that are called in each day. Participating merchants also receive window stickers to help get the word out about their instant delivery operation.
“We’re here to help make your life easier,” says Jones. You can schedule a delivery by visiting www.postmates.com/phoenix.