I decided to give Veho a try, delivering packages here in the Denver metro area.
Veho is different than the on demand restaurant delivery that I'm used to. Instead, contractors sign up for routes. They pick up packages from Veho's warehouse and deliver from there.
I wanted to get a feel for how it works and how it compares. Can you make decent money delivering packages instead of restaurant meals? How is it better? Where is it not so great?
After trying out a few delivery routes, I wanted to share my thoughts on delivering with Veho.
Who is Veho and how do they work?
Veho is a company that is using a gig economy flexible labor model, but for package delivery instead of restaurant meals.
Having started in Boulder Colorado, Veho has grown to serve about 14 markets now with package delivery.
One of the big differences compared to most gig platforms is that they don't market to the end user. Instead, they work directly with companies as a last mile solution for delivery of their products.
In the deliveries that I've done for Veho, it has been exclusively delivering meal packages such as from Hello Fresh.
Veho will group their deliveries into routes. Independent contractors can choose from a list of available routes, and then see how much those routes pay and the estimated amount of time it will take.
Drivers pick up the orders at an appointed time at Veho's warehouse. They tend to bundle about 25 parcels together. The packages are large enough that you need a fair sized vehicle (typically an SUV or small van will do the job).
Generally drivers have about a three to four hour window in which to complete deliveries. The pay is a fixed amount of money.
Pay is on a route by route basis. Each route pays a set amount of money. Sometimes an incentive might be provided. In my experience, tipping is not a part of the delivery experience with Veho.
Who can drive for Veho and how do you start?
You can contract with Veho if you are at least 25 years old, with a valid drivers license and car insurance, and you drive a larger sedan or bigger vehicle. Of course, you need to be in one of their markets.
As of this writing in June, 2021, the markets listed include:
- Central Maryland
- Colorado Springs
- Dallas / Fort Worth
- Las Vegas
- Northern Virginia
I don't know if this is a hint as to new markets that will open up, but in their Careers page they are advertising a general manager position in California and also list openings in New York and San Francisco. Is that a sign of where they will expand next?
The signup was pretty straight forward. Just like any of the other gig positions, you submit your information, agree to a background check, and provide documentation showing you are legal to driver, are insured, and you own a vehicle.
Once that was done, they had me walk through what they called a virtual route. Essentially it's a delivery route set up with dummy information so you can walk through the process. I found it was actually pretty helpful and I felt pretty well prepared to start doing deliveries.
In my market, at 6 PM the routes for the next day become available.
You can open the Veho app and go to available routes. There you have a list of routes that are available, along with how much the route pays, how many deliveries are involved, pickup time, and estimated delivery time.
I was a little disappointed with the route selection process. There really isn't much information as to where you are going. Sometimes they'll be good at listing the neighborhood, other times I've seen listings that simply said “Denver.” There is no map when selecting a route.
You can select a route and then view a tiny map that shows pin locations for the deliveries. There's limited ability to zoom in on the map to get a general idea of where you're going.
This is sort of a catch and release process. You can grab a route, and if it doesn't look good, you do have an hour to forfeit the route and toss it back into the pool. Some days that can be risky, as other routes may have been snatched up by the time you've done that.
Picking up your deliveries.
As someone who's used to logging in and picking up deliveries on the fly wherever I am, having to go to one assigned location to get everything ready is a bit of an adjustment. They want you to arrive reasonably close to your scheduled pickup time.
Veho has a warehouse that you can drive into. Here in Denver it seems to have room for about a dozen vehicles to park, and there they can load up. The first time I delivered, I was able to drive right into the warehouse. It was a fairly quick turnaround, and I was able to get in and out in about fifteen minutes.
The second time was a different story. There was a line of cars waiting to get in that stretched about two blocks down from the warehouse. It was 50 minutes from the time that I arrived before I was able to get into the warehouse and start loading up.
When you arrive, you let them know what route number you have. Staff is pretty prompt at bringing your parcels right to your car. Each box has a bar code and the app is pretty efficient at scanning in packages.
I would get a rack with about 24 packages. You scan each package, identify where it is on your route, and then mark the box with a corresponding number. For instance, the first package in the route is #1, the 24th is #24. Easy enough. Then the best practice is load everything up in reverse order of where you will deliver.
They say that a large sedan will work. I have to say, I was surprised how much of my Chevy Equinox small SUV was filled with packages. I can't imagine getting them all into my old Buick Century.
The delivery process was well thought out.
Generally the routes have been pretty intuitive. I can think of a couple of places where I might have routed them a bit differently, but it wasn't bad.
There are some things that Veho does that I think some of the other delivery apps could learn from. When you arrive to drop off a package, you have to scan the package before delivering it. That does a good job preventing mixups.
The customer will leave instructions on where to put the package. If there are no instructions, you default to delivering by the door where reasonable.
Deliveries are entirely contact free. There's no need to wait for the customer to come to the door. That makes the drop off pretty easy in most situations.
When you deliver the food, you usually need to take at least two pictures. One of where you left the package, and the other showing the address. Even if the package picture clearly shows the address, you'll need to take a second picture. For some apartment deliveries you'll need a third picture that shows the apartment number as well.
Ultimately the documentation that you completed the delivery was better than I've seen with Grubhub, Uber Eats and Doordash. Two or three pictures doesn't really take that long, but it goes a long way to avoid false claims that the package was never delivered.
My impressions of the deliveries
One thing I felt was missing was a way to communicate if things couldn't always go as planned. There were a couple of times I could not get into the apartment building, and that the customer did not answer when calling. At those times you have to make a judgment call, and Veho did not have a note function to describe where the package was left.
I was a little surprised how accurate the estimated delivery times were. Generally they would estimate about three hours for about 24 packages. My instinct was I should be able to be a lot faster, however with enough apartment deliveries, that three hour estimate was pretty well spot on.
I do believe that if someone were to be able to consistently pick up the same route, they could really amp up the efficiency. I have no doubt that someone could shave a half hour, maybe as much as an hour, off the total delivery time once they get into a pattern.
Generally the routes are laid out pretty well. Usually the deliveries are grouped together pretty well, and they seem to do a good job organizing the deliveries.
For the most part anyway.
There always seems to be one outlier of a delivery that is a couple of miles away from anyone else on the route. It's far enough away that you know it has to fit on another route somewhere.
Breaking down two Veho Deliveries
We'll talk about my first and my last deliveries.
The first time out, I had a 10 AM pickup, so I left about 9:30. It was an 18 minute 14 mile drive to the warehouse. The offer was $63 for what they estimated was 3 hours delivery time. This was my first time, so the process of checking in obviously took a bit more time. Fortunately I didn't have to wait to get into the warehouse.
By 10:12 I was loaded and on my way. It was a bit less than five miles to get to the first house. I wrapped up my last delivery at 12:45. So overall, if you include drive time to the warehouse to my last drop off, it was 3 hours 15 minutes, and a total of 21 miles. I figure on 30 cents a mile cost, so ultimately I would say my profit per hour was $17.45. It's not horrible.
The best thing is I was in a great place to pick up a Doordash delivery almost immediately, so the transition was good.
The second time around, they got me with an incentive.
It was another $63 delivery, however they were offering $35 extra (because the route was on Memorial Day). Okay, that might make it worth it.
This time, it took a lot longer. First was the 50 minute wait just to get into the warehouse. Distance was further, and I swear they were conspiring to give me every third floor apartment delivery in the books.
Pay was better overall. It was $98 total, and 32 miles. Overall it was 4-1/2 hours from leaving for the warehouse to dropping off the last delivery. Overall profit per hour to the point that I dropped off the last delivery was $19.64, which is better than the first time, but when I got done I felt like it wasn't as frutful.
One thing that was different the second time around is I didn't transition immediately to other deliveries. It took longer, I was more tired, and the last drop off wasn't convenient to picking up something from one of the other places, so I went home instead. That was another 11 miles and about 40 minutes driving that you could factor into the total.
Is delivering for Veho worth it?
I think it depends on what you're looking for.
Generally, the hourly profit was quite a bit lower than what I've been used to with other gigs.
For some, the stability and guaranteed amount might be much more attractive. Let's face it, you never know what you're getting when you go out on Doordash or Uber Eats. If you know you can knock out $60 or so for three to four hours, that might not look so bad.
I'm not sure I would do very much Veho deliveries. Some of that is personal preference. I'm not sure how often I'd want to make a three to four hour commitment, and it's a fair bit of extra driving compared to what I normally do.
Pros and cons of Veho delivery, in my opinion:
As I mentioned, there are some things that Veho does nicely that I think other apps could learn from. There are some things that could use improvement. Here are some of my thoughts:
The pay per order is large enough that there's a little more guaranteed pay. Most deliveries pay $50 or more, though granted it takes a lot more time.
One of the reasons I wanted to give this a try is to see if it could shoe horn well into peak delivery times for restaurant gigs. Average earnings for a lot of gigs are lower before 11 AM or between 2 and 5. I think there's a case where you could get more consistent earnings for those off-peak times and then transition into the dinner rush.
I really like the scanning technology they use to scan packages in and out. It's well thought out and eliminates a lot of delivery errors. About all I had to do was point my phone's camera at the bar code and it was immediately recognizing it.
I think they did a great job with the delivery confirmation process. The app has worked well in my experience, and the additional pictures provide a great protection against false claims.
There's something to be said for not having to chase the customer down.
Some areas for improvement.
I don't like the lack of information when it comes to choosing routes. There needs to be a readily available map of where routes are located or better description in the offer. The way it is now is you have to request a delivery, then see the map, and then you can forfeit it. However, the other routes may be gone by the time you do this.
This would be ideal to do as a team where you could have a driver and a runner. However, Veho forbids passengers. That may be a violation of the independent contractor relationship.
They really need to improve the warehouse situation. They will forfeit your route if you don't arrive on time, and that's a double standard when they aren't ready for you. There are times I'm aware of when drivers arrive and the warehouse hasn't even opened yet.
Having to drive to a warehouse can be a problem if you don't live close to it in the first place. There's some dead time and miles which are a disadvantage compared to more on demand delivery platforms. A set arrival time can get in the way of grabbing a delivery while on the way, as you risk not arriving on time.
Final thoughts on delivering Hello Fresh and other packages with Veho.
When it comes to the deliveries themselves, I kind of enjoyed the routine. I thrive on drive time because it's my podcast or e-book time. Package deliveries lend themselves well to that because there's more continuity in the driving.
Something I didn't like was the time involvement. On the one hand I don't like the longer time commitment. That's just a personal preference. You lock yourself into a good three to four hours of time when you accept a delivery. The flip side is, you can't normally bump up to more than those three or four hours as there are not often opportunities for second deliveries.
I think this could mesh well with other deliveries if you want to earn more. However, you would need to get an earlier start so you could be done by around 11 AM. Many of the start times (or late warehouse openings) interfere with that.
Where I see this being a very good fit is if you want more of a sure thing. The ceiling is lower than on demand delivery. But there's more of an assurance that you WILL make so much money. I prefer the higher ceiling of on demand delivery, but you may prefer the known quantities.
I'll be interested to see where things go for Veho. They're set up well to handle a lot of different types of deliveries. My experience has been delivering exclusively meal boxes such as Hello Fresh or similar brands. I don't know if similar companies are doing these deliveries in other markets or if those meals are sent more through UPS etc.
If you're in a Veho market, it might be worth checking them out. Even if it's only one or two routes. The beauty of gig work is, you can always determine it's not for you, and nothing's lost if that's the case. I love that they're another option, and for gig workers, more options translates to a good thing.