Roadie, an alternative shipping service offering a cheaper way to get your items to a remote destination by piggy-backing on drivers heading in that same direction, is today rolling out across the U.S. Until now the service was only available in select states, mainly in the Southeast U.S. The company is headquartered in Atlanta and has been steadily expanding outward from there since its recent launch.
Though only live since January of this year, Roadie says it has seen over 20,000 downloads of its mobile application, which is how its customers and drivers access the service. That's a notable increase in downloads in a short period of time - just last month, for example, the company said the app had been downloaded 7,500 times.
40% of those app downloads have been from outside the markets where Roadie was already live, prompting the company to speed up its expansion efforts to cover the rest of the country sooner rather than later.
The way the service works is by connecting those in need of shipping with drivers who want to make a little extra money by carrying something with them on their trip. The idea is that there are today a number of people traveling around the country at any given time, and Roadie wants to tap into that network in order to compete with traditional shippers on both price and speed.
Shippers may choose to use the service for oversized or extra-heavy items that a shipping company like UPS or FedEx would charge more to deliver, or they may look to Roadie when urgency is involved as sometimes there's the chance of finding someone who can take the package immediately, instead of paying for a "rush" or overnight shipping option with another carrier. Shipping on Roadie is based on the item's size and distance, and can range from $12 to $200.
The company has been vetting drivers by having them take pictures of their license and other documents, like their insurance, and collecting their car and bank account info. However, Roadie has been developing and testing a proprietary background check system because the company believes that some of today's background check systems have holes that need to be addressed. The new system will automatically flag issues with drivers against ever-changing keywords, and will be able to prompt the company when it appears that a driver may need a more robust background check before being approved. (The company's COO previously worked with probation service, and has some experience in this area.)
Roadie also made news last month when it announced a partnership with Waffle House who has agreed to advertise the service in all of its U.S. locations, in exchange for being promoted as a meeting spot for drivers and customers within the Roadie app.