Pickup-Hailing Services Could Aid Sales

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By Tim Esterdahl

Ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft have exploded in popularity, benefiting from how easy they are to use. These services can be great transportation alternatives, but what if you need to move a couch or haul a load of topsoil? And what if you need help? You could pay for movers, rent a pickup truck, schedule a delivery or even call a buddy.

It all adds up to one big hassle.

That might be about to change. Burro, a growing business based in Austin, Texas, aims to address this problem by being the truck version of Uber, and it's growing in popularity.

On a particularly hot and humid day in the summer of 2014, Burro co-founder Jason Ervin and his son were hauling some new furniture from a store. As usual, they had rented a U-Haul and were moving the furniture themselves. During this process, Ervin said his son had had enough and thought they could come up with something better. "This sucks!" Ervin recalled his son saying. "There should be something where you just push a button and get somebody else to come do this."

While furniture delivery isn't a new idea — most stores have been offering it for years — the idea of an on-demand truck delivery service was. In just a few years, Burro has grown from a simple idea into a booming business, with revenues growing as much as a thousand percent each year and more than a hundred drivers requesting to work for the company. These drivers can earn upward of $35 per hour. Plus, according to Ervin, local furniture stores have seen a boom in their business.

A Booming Convenience Industry

The sweaty job of moving furniture has inspired more than just Ervin. A quick internet search reveals a host of startups based around the same idea of a truck-hailing economy, including Burro, Buddytruk, GoShare, HashMove and Pickup. They have similar stories of not wanting to wait on the furniture store's delivery schedule, overpay for movers or deal with the hassle of renting a truck. And their process is as simple as using an app.

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On-demand delivery works by matching up truck owners who want to earn extra cash with customers who need help moving bulky items. Once a customer places an order, the job is broadcast out to the network of drivers who respond to the job. Payment is handled with the app and the job is typically done in hours.

While pricing varies depending on mileage, Burro says a typical hourlong delivery will cost a customer anywhere from $19 to $50 depending on distance traveled, and all the labor is included.

Legal Troubles Threaten Hailing Services

The booming growth of mobile phone, application-based businesses like Burro hasn't gone unnoticed by government officials. On May 6, 2015, Burro received a letter from the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles requesting it stop operating until its drivers acquired commercial licenses.

"Anyone moving household goods in a pickup truck or other type or size of vehicle for hire is required to register with the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles and show proof of insurance in the amounts required by law," wrote Bill Harbeson, the department's director of enforcement, according to the Austin American-Statesman. The letter went on to state that this included anyone who, for example, moves a piece of furniture bought at a garage sale in exchange for pay. Buddytruk, HashMove and Pickup received similar letters in 2015, according to The Texas Tribune.

Since the majority of these businesses' services involves moving furniture and getting a commercial driver's license for each driver would be both costly and time-consuming, Harbeson's letter could have been the end of them. Ervin said Burro hired a lawyer and worked out a deal with the Texas DMV to improve transparency, use GPS tracking and include background checks on its drivers.

With the Texas legal matter resolved for now, Burro is looking to expand beyond Austin as other truck-hailing companies have done — Buddytruk, for example, operates in other densely populated areas including Austin, Los Angeles and Orange County in California, and Chicago. In these places it is increasingly difficult to own, park and drive a good-sized pickup truck. Services like Burro could save the city-dweller pickup from extinction and create a whole new reason for consumers to purchase them.

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Comments

Hmmm, hope they make it but it's not for me.

This will make good money but not as much as uber and lyft.

Probably could hurt sales if all the weekend warriors realize they can just call one of these services they can skip buying a truck.

They make more than Uber and Lyft. I know one of the drivers. They make a minimum of $25 per delivery. The guy I know average $140 to $210 a day. He works about 5 hours a day.

In my old neighborhood, whenever somebody needed your pickup truck they would stick a .32 caliber DelTek up to your head and say, Give Me the Keys, cracker!

I should also state that he does about five deliveries a day. He said there are guys who do it full time and make $500 a day. I will see if I can get him to tell me the average he makes for delivery.

This won't fly here. You need to be licensed for moving and be insured.

So far the money being discussed in these comments is a joke.

The first time you make an accident claim--even a minor one--and your insurance company sees that you're using your personally insured pickup for hire, the rates will go through the roof.

Call your friendly State Farm guy and ask him how much more you have to pay for using your personal vehicle for business and YOU WILL FAINT

So far the money being discussed in these comments is a joke.

The first time you make an accident claim--even a minor one--and your insurance company sees that you're using your personally insured pickup for hire, the rates will go through the roof.

Call your friendly State Farm guy and ask him how much more you have to pay for using your personal vehicle for business and YOU WILL FAINT

Thank goodness we have government looking out for us. Unfettered Liberty is so dangerous! God Bless the DMV!

This is a great opportunity for GM full size pickup owners to deliver paint , by time of delivery it will be completely shaken, lol.

Canadian truck king challenge,

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xtj6T-WI3Dw

Canadian truck king challenge,

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xtj6T-WI3Dw

This is a great opportunity for F-series owners to earn extra cash to offside their trucks high cost of ownership. That is of course when their truck isn't at the shop.

@papajim--True about the insurance but I can understand the need for a service like this. There are a number of people who live in apartments, condos, or just don't want to own a truck. You would have to do a lot of hauling to pay for the additional insurance, maintenance, and depreciation on a truck along with declaring the income and expenses on tax returns. I myself for the reasons stated would not do this.

@Jeff S

Anyone who owns a mid-size (or bigger) crossover or SUV does not need this service apart from moving something like a washer/dryer or fridge.

In truth I think that PUTC needed a story for this weekend and this showed up on their radar.

The real story about pickups this weekend regards the coming end of EPA oversight and CAFE.

EPA will remain but its oversight over cars/trucks will be transferred to Department of Highway Safety. CAFE is headed for the back pasture, along with the BATF. The Department of Energy will be run by a guy who campaigned on eliminating the agency all together.

Smaller government spending is a pipe-dream, but a weeding out of the unnecessary agencies in Washington is a top priority of the new team in DC.

Soon, everybody will be able to own and operate their own pickups, not have to rent one.

As Papajim has pointed out, if you are using a vehicle for commercial work insurance and licencing needs to change.

Where I live you don't need a commercial driver's licence for a pickup truck even if it is commercially used. GVW is bellow licence need. They don't mention towing a heavy trailer so that means a regular driver's licence is also fine.

Insurance is another matter. The truck needs to be insured for commercial use and appropriate GVW class. Cargo also needs to be insured for damage. You also need insurance to cover damage to a person's residence if part of the arrangement requires the pickup driver to mode the items into the residence. Another issue is Worker's Compensation coverage. What if the driver injures himself on the job?

owners to earn extra cash to offside their trucks high cost of ownership. That is of course when their truck isn't at the shop.

Posted by: GMSRGREAT | Jan 22, 2017 7:19:01 AM

Which is far less time in the shop than the shakers and far more unreliable General Malaise trucks

When you can get a truck or van from u haul, or an F250 flatbed from the depot starting at 20 dollars, I don't see the draw.

Uhaul isn't that cheap. That's $20 + $.69 a mile + fees + insurance + blankets. That's a $100 for a local move. Add another $200 if you need help. The whole point is to hire help, not to do it yourself.

WOW. I read the truck challenge fuel economy during the tests, the Colorado diesel did 10 mpg average better than the next competitor, the Honda Ridgeline. That is an incredible fuel economy spread for a similar sized truck comparison. That little Mid size diesel will save thousands in fuel alone.

I doubt pickup sales would increase as this story suggests. More likely it would give an excuse for someone to use their current underutilized pickup. Uber etc started with a bang but many drivers have become disenchanted with much less income versus PR campaign stories.

Which is far less time in the shop than the shakers ......

Posted by: FXD,1450 | Jan 22, 2017 9:09:43 PM

So your Fords are in the shop, that's a good first step, admitting that there is a problem. Before you know it you'll be spilling the truth about your poor brakes, terrible shifting transmission and the incessant money pits that are the f-series.

Wow people who scoff at physical human interaction now need an app to move a couch! What happened with just walking up to your neighbor, saying hi. Talking about sports, work, family and the weather. Then kindly asking hey what are you doing later? Make eye contact, smile and btw that's a really nice truck or van you got there. What are those 35's? I love how it rumbles the whole neighborhood when you start it every dawn. I just sold some guns and came into a little extra cash. How about we go grab a case of Coors light and some ribs. Swing by Jameson and Walker where I saw an old couch with the word "free" spray painted on it on the side of the road so my dogs have a place to sleep. Even throw in some gas money huh what you say?

I'd sign up if this was in my area. I think these guys who are engineering this app are sitting on a goldmine ready to make some big bucks.

So your Fords are in the shop, that's a good first step, admitting that there is a problem. Before you know it you'll be spilling the truth about your poor brakes, terrible shifting transmission and the incessant money pits that are the f-series.

Posted by: GMSRGREAT | Jan 23, 2017 12:50:16 AM

Even with your alleges, more reliable and worth more than the tin cans from General Malaise. Haha

FORD

Fords often repaired daily.

I drive my Ram 1500 with GoShare in San Diego and I love it. Great way to make some extra money on the weekends.



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