(Photo courtesy Andrew Berube)
There’s a new bicycle delivery service in town that serves inner southeast Portland.
The company is iCycle Delivery and it was started two weeks ago by 28-year-old Andrew Berube. Berube’s delivery area is bordered on the west by MLK Blvd., on the east by SE 39th, and goes north to Burnside and south to SE Powell.
Berube said he’s always wanted to make a living riding his bike. He told me today that he quit a job remodeling houses because, “I got tired of swinging a hammer and wanted to do something I love.”
For a base fee of $5, and after filling out a simple form on his website, Berube can pick up your take-out order from a restaurant, or pick up and deliver just about anything that will fit on his bike (his website says, “It’s surprising what a rack can hold.”)
“I am after individuals stuck at jobs, busy parents, and my hung over friends wanting Thai food.”
Berube also said he’s always been interested in possibly being a bike messenger downtown, but opted to start iCycle Delivery because he wanted to work for himself. “A big part of doing this is working for myself. I wanted that satisfaction.” He also added that he’s “excited about providing fast and friendly service by having the same face always show up. That will help build business relationships of trust, accountability, and of course a love of bikes.”
As for who Berube thinks will use his service? “I am after individuals stuck at jobs, busy parents, and my hung over friends wanting Thai food.”
To place an order with iCycle, visit iCycleDelivery.com.
A few weeks ago, a bike-based delivery service called “Hunger Squad” launched to serve downtown Portland.
ah, yes, the age old mistake of turning something you love into a job…just kiddin’ Andrew, good luck.
my employer needs services like this occasionally…I’ll drop the name a few times when its appropriate and see if it sticks…see if we can drum you up some business..
wow. $5 for just about anything? too cheap! of course, theres no stated time parameter for delivery…
andrew – for what its worth, most messenger companies start weight charges around 10 lbs or so. letting people have 35 for free is selling yourself short. you may also quickly realize that virtually *any* food delivery order is a “pain in the ass” 🙂
granted, you get to be a bit cheaper, as youre based in se, which would be 2, 3 or even 4 zones out of the downtown core for most messenger companies, but even then – your coverage area covers parts of 2 zones at my company.
beyond that, good luck with the new business! great to see more delivery services out there, providing an even broader range of bike-powered services. but again, be careful not to offer your services too cheaply, which is a common mistake in the messenger business.
Anon is right.
It is actually a very good idea, and good for all messengers, for delivery rates to be within the same general parameters.
The downfall of a number of Portland’s messengers has been price slashing by others, instead of sharing the wealth. (Ha! Wealth and bike messenger in the same sentence!)
While I encourage your efforts, and hope you the best, stepping on toes by having too cheap of rates is the work of the corporate, too large and money hungry to care messenger service, not the indy, self-employed version you intend to be.
I say this realizing full well that is not your intention. Just talking shop…..
Once again, I applaud your efforts, and hope you the best. I started my old company (about ten years ago) with $25 dollars worth of printing, and no other overhead. My $25 investment paid itself off within the first two hours.
It is definitely a venture worth exploring.
hmm. i couldve sworn i entered all my info. that was me up there pretending to be anonymous.
and for what its worth, i dont even think that everyones rates should be within the same general parameters. i just think everyones rates should be MORE.
small bike messenger/delivery companies (whether in the realm of documents or food) starting out far too often approach with the angle of “i can do it cheaper by bike, cause i dont have to pay for gas/insurance/etc” – rather than marking up from the already-too-cheap rates that the market already runs at, based on the idea that theyre providing a specialized service, with (hopefully) exceptional customer relations. dont hinge things on “i can do it cheaper”, build them on “i can do it BETTER”.
Sorry Joel, you are right.
I really meant everyone’s rates in the same general parameter, as in small, employee owned messenger companies not undercutting each other, but not on the same level as the larger corporate, rate cutting companies.
I really don’t consider them (larger, corporate based companies) to be anybody, let alone part of everybody. (I don’t know if that makes sense, but I do know Joel knows what he is talking about)
Thanks for the professional advice. It is a tough sell to the mostly residential customers I am looking for. Office folks are deep in downtown and are wiling to pay. Mom wanting soda and pizza from ten blocks away thinks messenger (who has to ride from downtown) prices are too much. That is my problem.
Last thing I want is to step on toes. The first thing I want is to ride my bike for a living. If i could do this by keeping the industry standards the same so no one’s prices fall I would. But my base of operation is SE not downtown. I want to roll in SE and the profit margin is not as high there. If i could charge more and get business believe me I would.
Suggestions and advice are more then welcome as they will help me build this into something I can live off of as well as not negatively affecting others, which is the last thing I want to do.
All that to say is the customers of bike messengers that are established in the community are not what I am shooting for. I am after individuals stuck at jobs, busy parents, and my hung over friends wanting thai food.
Well, I think if he markets to lonely women, he’ll do very well. I wouldn’t mind seeing him at my door.=)
Five dollars does seem ridiculously cheap. I’m wondering if he’s done the math to include self-employment tax and figured out how many trips he’ll be able to make in an hour. He’ll have to move really fast to take home $10 an hour.
Where is this guys helmet? Not only will kids see this guy riding without a helmet, but I don’t want my package being with the guy when he bites it.
“He’ll have to move really fast to take home $10 an hour.”
Not necessarily if you have multiple deliveries in the same area, and you’d be surprised how fast you can get around inner SE. I’ll bet the average is more like $15 to $20 an hour.
point taken. and, at the same time, youre working a section of the industry where you are more likely to receive tips to supplement your income, something you can count on *not* getting working as a standard messenger downtown.
if you can build a good client base at $5/delivery, and keep your delivery range where youve got it, theres decent odds of making decent money, at least as far as being a messenger is concerned. fortunately, the way youve got things set up, your overhead is low, and frankly, itd be pretty damn easy to do things under the table 🙂
Looks great…great idea. I agree too cheap though. You can’t give yourself away, it’s not sustainable.
Just…please…WEAR a helmet. A good idea works better if you don’t have a massive head injury.
Ok, why does everyone have to stick their nose in everyone elses business about F-ing helmets?
Believe it or not, Andrew’s probably over 16, which means HE gets to choose whether or not he wears a helmet, NOT YOU. And while admittedly, wearing a helmet is a good idea, STOP BEING NAZI’S ABOUT IT. I mean, we don’t go around telling people to stop watering their lawns, or using paper, or driving, all of which are bad ideas and set a bad example.
Anyway, cool idea, and I hope you get enough business to stay around. I’ve thought about doing something similar in NE and feel like there’s a growing niche for businesses like these.
Also, about that remodeling job you quit…
mmm…wow, M8Adam, overreact much?
maybe your unemployment has you on edge recently? try to cut back to two cups a day, deal?
Andrew good luck.
Perhaps to resolve the helmet thing you could charge on a sliding scale. $5 to the delivery plus a safety surcharge:
Helmet: + $2
Orange Safety vest over black hoody: + $1
Safety triangle and yellow flasher: + $10
Table dance for Eileen: Priceless
Good Luck Andrew, guess you learned your lesson about posting on this site for all these downers to pick apart – just think of it as jealously and keep it real. Have fun.
i own a small bidness in se portland and am unable to leave throughout the day, andrew is exactly what i have been needing for the last 3 1/2 years. thanks to andrew for filling a niche and thanks for all this free publicity he is receiving!!
see you soon mister andrew!
i think coyote has a great idea about the sliding scale, and i will take you up on the table dance if eileen doesnt mind sharing.
M8 Adam is right,
Andrew is of age. He damn well doesn’t have to wear a helmet if he doesn’t want to. And he damn well doesn’t need to hear people complain about not wearing one.
I suspect that he simply does not have one on in the photo,which is a smart move, as recognition is a large part of making it as a small time delivery service, and everyone looks basically too much the same with a helmet on.
Keep your ideals off of the heads of others, and tucked away in your own!
I think it looks like a great idea, and wish you the best of luck, Andrew.
…however, I think you should reconsider the option of you paying for items up front, and then collecting the cost when you make the delivery. (That goes double if you’re accepting personal checks.)
It would only take one or two bad deliveries to eat a week’s wages for you, which would be a real shame.
A simple goal of taking home $15 an hour:
3 tags an hour = $15 your price.
From the time you get the the call,(I usually give myself around 5 to 7 minutes to get to the pickup destination). @ this point I would give myself roughly 2 minutes to lock my bike up,snag the clients lunch or package and start rollin again.(this is a massive massive conservative/ idealistic time frame). And around roughly 7-8 minutes delivery time.
Now lets review
5-7 minutes approaching
2 minute waiting:
7-8 minutes delivery:
Total??? Five dollars= 14 to 17 minutes per delivery.His averages out to around 20 per hour with this math. IF he can do four deliveries an hour/all day everyday.
Oh and it would be in your/Bikeportland.org interest to make sure that you are wearing a helmet @ all times. Make sure you are up to the ridicule that you will receive from this crowd for trying to get your job done.
One more thing. You will always be wrong in the eyes of the cops and most people commenting on this site.
Are you up for it?
Thanks again for the advice from all. I am listening and learning.
helmet, good idea.
accepting checks, necessary risk.
higher prices, best idea, still working out the kinks.
lap dances, better cost more than ten bucks even shared ones.
Ummm… don’t forget taxes. If he is self-employed, he has to pay extra taxes. And he will have to actually GET that many calls per hour.
Don’t worry Andrew, you are safe because I live 3 blocks outside of your service area. =) You might consider moonlighting in my area though. Typical problem for single moms – kids are in bed, you can’t go anywhere and you realize that you are out of… milk for the next morning, tylenol for pounding headache, a video… There are times when I would definitely pay $5 or more to be able to call someone to bring me that kind of thing.
3 blocks out of the way, especially as I am starting up will be no problem. Give a call.
your plan seem cool I have tried to do the same thing your doing and have gotten a lot less result good job and keep going
Whoa, my name is Andrew Berube too! I googled myself and found this website. We’re pretty much neighbors, I live in Seattle. What a trip, Berube is not at all a common name.