Melbourne Customer Finds Courier to Meet Challenging Need

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Last week I shared what I learned about Zoom2u by completing my first delivery on the platform. This week, we go on a very long run, with some truly important cargo for a Melbourne customer.

About a week after I completed my first job for Zoom2u, my next memorable booking revealed itself on a beautiful Sunday afternoon.

My partner was visiting family in the States. I was hanging around, contemplating something profoundly courier related, no doubt.

I saw a ping come through for a pick up in Prahran and delivery to Myrtleford. This was a VIP booking with a one-way trip distance of 290 km. Google Maps figured it would take about 3 hours each way.

Mapping the long trip from Prahran to Myrtleford for a Zoom2u Melbourne Customer.
Mapping the long trip from Prahran to Myrtleford for a Zoom2u Melbourne Customer.

I thought, “Oh, why not?”

When I was younger I used to drive all over the Northeast corridor of the U.S. to play ice hockey. For example, driving from Long Island, New York to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to play one game and then drive back home was not unheard of.

I’m getting back to my roots on the other side of the world here.

Upon accepting the job, someone at Zoom2u rang me up. They had a chat with this particular Melbourne customer around potentially not being able to find a courier to transport goods that far outside of the city on a Sunday afternoon.

I said, in my faded New York accent, “No worries, mate. I’ll take care of it.”

The customer was thrilled that I accepted the booking. Apparently, I was picking up some medicine that a family member had procured in the city. She had no other means of getting to it that day, so she turned to Zoom2u.

The weather was perfect. The drive out to the Victorian countryside was smooth sailing, filled with hours of interesting podcasts and pretty landscapes.

As I got closer to the destination, Google Maps had taken me up some back roads. This led to some face time with the local bovine population. These quizzical cows were no doubt wondering what this strange black sedan was doing creeping by on their winding, hilly, and muddy dirt paths.

When I got to the farmhouse, the customer’s husband signed off on the delivery and thanked me effusively for making the trip.

The customer, whom I didn’t get to meet gave me an instant thumbs up for my efforts.

It’s a good feeling providing a service so valued by our customers.

I left Myrtleford via a more sedan appropriate route through the town center. I thought this would be a great place to bring my partner back for a weekend to unwind. The rolling green hills and big blue sky made it a picturesque and peaceful place to be.

The moral of the story is: Whatever any Melbourne customer needs urgently delivered, wherever they need it delivered to, they can ask Zoom2u and there is a pretty favorable chance that we can meet their needs.

Next week on the blog, I share some customer insights that I’ve gathered from my time on the road as a Zoom2u on-demand courier in Melbourne.

 

Ted O’Neill is an American expat in Melbourne. He’s an on-demand courier, blogger, and web developer who can be found elsewhere online at www.tedoneill.com.

My First Job as a Zoom2u On-Demand Courier

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Zoom2u's On Route to Dropoff Button

Last week I discussed the motivations for me to become a Zoom2u on-demand courier. This week, I share what I learned about Zoom2u in completing my first job.

The life of an on-demand courier offers an abundance of serendipity. Meaning that we never really know what’s coming around the corner.

In order to maximize our profitability, we all have to be like Conor McGregor. We have to “Stay ready, so we don’t need to get ready.”

I was relaxing one Friday afternoon, having put in a long day driving on some other platforms. I had also just been activated to work on the Zoom2u platform (Android or iOS).

I was probably updating my vehicle log spreadsheets (which is how I relax) when I saw a VIP booking come through from Armandale to Southbank. I was ready for my tryout as a courier for Zoom2u and I accepted that booking immediately.

 

Sample Zoom2u Booking Screens

The instructions were to pick up some dresses at Luxe Deluxe and deliver them to the concierge at Crown Melbourne.

Too easy.

With the “Stay Ready” mantra and theme to Rocky playing in my head as motivation to battle the Friday at 5 pm rush, I headed towards the pickup.

When I got there, I found that my cargo – the dresses – must have been the mini-est of mini-dresses.

It was almost like I was transporting air in a garment bag.

I jousted with a heavy bit of traffic congestion on Princes Highway. And I won that contest, going on to complete the delivery within the allotted hour.

I thought, “Wow, that was a great job with a great rate.”

I knew that this was most likely to be the easiest and most profitable job I would ever get to do as an on-demand courier. But it was still a good indicator of the relative quality of jobs available to Zoom2u drivers here in Melbourne.

Job number one as a Zoom2u on-demand courier went swimmingly. I was looking forward to seeing what else Zoom2u would have in-store for me moving forward.

Next week, I’ll talk about how “staying ready” can lead to a 580 km. 6 hour round trip VIP booking, brought to you only by Zoom2u.

 

Ted O’Neill is an American expat in Melbourne. He’s an on-demand courier, blogger, and web developer who can be found elsewhere online at www.tedoneill.com.

How I Became an On-Demand Courier in Melbourne

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My name is Ted O’Neill. I’m 40 years old and live in the heart of the action in the 3004 postal code of Melbourne, Victoria. I came to Australia in December of 2015 with my partner for her high-paying corporate marketing job.

I had been importing goods from China into the United States for a multi-national corporation in the health and beauty industry. But I eventually decided to leave that stagnant business behind and become a Melbourne express courier instead.

 

A ramblin' man, doing the best that I can, showing the makings of an on-demand courier.
A ramblin’ man, doing the best that I can, showing the makings of an on-demand courier.

 

HOW TO START WHEN STARTING OVER

As I sat in Melbourne, with not much to do, I began to look around at what I could do to generate some steady income. It was time to start over. No worries, though, as this is something that I am expert at.

20 years ago, as a teenager, I’d driven a hack limo and a box truck in New York City. Driving is something I knew I could do right away in Melbourne.

I’ve learned from my experiences that the most valuable asset a person has is their work ethic. If you have a strong work ethic, you will always eat and you can always rebuild from zero.

My initial thought moving forward was to work as a rideshare driver.

This idea appealed to my independent sensibilities. I have been self-employed since 2003 in one form or another and thought why not learn about the on-demand economy first hand.

Not to mention that getting paid to drive around a new city is a great way to explore it and master it.

First, I leveraged my U.S. driver’s license to get a new Victorian one with an expedient visit to VicRoads.

Next, I wanted to confirm that as a 457 (dependent) visa holder that I had the right to work. Rather than ask someone, I simply filed for and received an Australian Business Number. The electronic bureaucracy here operates with an unfamiliar speed.

Then I went car shopping.

I decided to take the money leftover from the import business and buy a nice semi-new vehicle. I ended up negotiating a great price on a dealer used Kia Optima with only 1709 km. on the odometer.

It also came with a 7-year warranty, which is ideal for a car that I planned to use in the service industry.

 

REGULATED OUT OF RIDESHARE AND INTO BEING A MELBOURNE EXPRESS COURIER

I tried and failed to get activated on the rideshare platforms. I didn’t understand why as their communication was lacking. Further research would yield some answers.

A Victorian regulation where one needs to have a license here for at least a year before activation seems to have been the culprit.

No worries, “The obstacle is the way.” I just needed to dig a little deeper.

I learned that there was such a thing as a Melbourne express courier that operated via the same on-demand model. I decided to try a couple of them out for size.

These platforms create transportation networks connecting couriers with people who need things moved around the whole of Australia.

Anyone reading this can now access an army of drivers ready to transport their goods from point A to B, same day, in a 3-hour window or as a rush service. (Android or iOS).

 

DRIVING PARCELS IS NOT THE SAME AS DRIVING PEOPLE

My inability to get on the rideshare platforms was frustrating. Although, I admit that I was a bit anxious about the thought of taking the responsibility of driving people right at the start.

Honestly, the regulation does make some sense. It takes a good six months or 10,000 kilometers to be comfortable with the idiosyncrasies of driving in Melbourne.

Roundabouts, driving on the right side of the car and the left side of the road, remaining alerted to shared tram rails, bike lanes that see cyclists flow like water through traffic at rush hour and some odd traffic patterns can take some time to get used to.

Rideshare driving is also becoming less profitable. The day that I purchased my vehicle, driver pay had been cut in Melbourne on the rideshare platforms.

Further, people as passengers can be unpredictable.

Every city has its seedy side and Melbourne is no different. Stories of picking up revelers at night on a weekend in the CBD being like playing a game of vomit roulette makes the practice unappealing.

I’m actually glad that I didn’t get into ridesharing because I prefer the more physical nature of dealing with cargo as a Melbourne express courier and the solitude that comes with the longer runs.

Next week, I’ll be sharing a story about my first delivery made on the Zoom2u platform.

 

Ted O’Neill is an American expat in Melbourne. He’s an on-demand courier, blogger, and web developer who can be found elsewhere online at www.tedoneill.com.