How would you like to make extra money while traveling? We have all heard that and there are many ways to do that. Peer-to-peer services like Uber and Airbnb allow you to make some extra cash in your town, and now a new startup called Carry takes on the courier and package shipping industry to your doorstep.
Instead of using UPS, FedEx, postal services or similar, the company looks for people who need something delivered by travelers who are going to the destination. Some of the existing listings include taking an iPhone to Mexico from Los Angeles for $350, and bring medication from London to New York for $44.
Taking advantage of unused space in your bags, Carry allows you to find someone who would want to ship anything from your place of departure to your destination.
Of course there’s the big hurdle of air-security. And does this make it easy for scenarios like people carrying drugs, weapons, or other contraband?
Carry encourages travelers to inspect items before their trips to ensure you are carrying what you have been asked to.
Eventually, the company plans to classify its couriers as official contract workers. Hypothetically, co-founder Peter SerVaas says, this would protect them if they unknowingly transport illegal goods, similar to how UPS or FedEx drivers aren’t liable for the contents of the packages they deliver.
(For the record, a US Transportation Security Administration representative said the agency did not have a policy that prohibited people from traveling with items that belong to others. However, anyone with contraband can be referred to law enforcement and subject to civil penalties, he noted.)
How is Carry preventing fraud and abuse? Currently, it is manually performing criminal background checks on travelers. And the startup is in talks with underwriting companies to add insurance as an option for shippers. For now the company will NOT reimburse customers for failed transactions, which will deter potential customers from using their service.
Travelers are paid upon completed deliveries to deter theft. But since the company encourages to inspect items before the trip, any person carrying a really expensive or important (to them) item is potential to be “lost”. Also, what happens if the receiver is not available to pic-up the package? Should the traveler leave at the door? If yes, then what happens if someone else picks up the package? The company also relies on real names and a review system, so users can vet each other.
There are a lot of questions any user would have and while this is a startup, we will have to wait and see how this kicks-off.
Have you used Carry? Tell us your story in comments.