On-demand delivery startup Postmates launches in Sacramento

Postmates uses a network of about 14,000 independent contractors who pick up and deliver items. Aug. 13, 2015

Stuck at the office and craving a sandwich? Too busy to run to the drugstore to pick up your medications? Throwing a party and ran out of ice?

These may not be the biggest problems in the world – but if you're looking for a way to save time and take care of errands, Postmates wants to help. The on-demand delivery startup launched Thursday in Sacramento, promising pickup and delivery of any item, all within an hour.

Of course, the door-to-door service will cost you. Delivery fees start at $5 and go up from there, depending on the distance driven. The company also charges a 9 percent service fee on top of the purchase price.

But the extra cost was clearly worth it to many people. Postmates says it has already completed more than $3 million deliveries in the 30 U.S. cities in which it now operates. Eighty-five percent of those deliveries are prepared food, according to Postmates Director of Communications April Conyers.

"We pick up and deliver from pretty much anywhere. Takeout, restaurants that don't have delivery. We could pick up your laundry, dry cleaning – pretty much anything," Conyers said. Postmates partners include Chipotle and Starbucks; local restaurants featured on the app include Iron Horse Tavern, Hook & Ladder, Cafe Bernardo and more.

Sacramentans interested in trying out the service can take advantage of a few limited-time offers, provided they live or work in the initial delivery zone, which includes Curtis Park, downtown, Del Paso Heights, East Sacramento, Hollywood Park, Land Park, Old Sacramento, River Park and South Natomas.

Through Sunday, customers can get a free sandwich delivered from Roxie's Deli (though high initial demand meant some customers couldn't place an order until late afternoon). Postmates was also waiving its delivery fee for Sacramentans through the end of the month.

To live up to its promise of 24/7 delivery, Conyers says Postmates is constantly in the process of hiring couriers. Like transportation startups Uber or Lyft, couriers work for the company as independent contractors and decide when they want to be driving. Postmates says its drivers can make up to $25 an hour; applications are online.

"We do a background check – a criminal and driver background check – just to make sure there's no record, but then it's pretty simple from there. You go to an onboarding session and then you're on the road," Conyers said.


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