Crowdsourced Delivery: Is Using the Gig Economy for Last-Mile Delivery Worth It?
The term musicians and artists use to define opportunities for work is now an entire economy. Wondering what we’re talking about? We’re referencing the “gig” economy, you might've heard of it.
The gig economy, also known as the sharing economy or on-demand economy, refers to a labor market characterized by short-term contracts or freelance work. It disrupts traditional work models and creates new crowdsourced opportunities for businesses and workers.
Uber for ride-sharing.
DoorDash for food delivery.
TaskRabbit for on-demand task assistance.
All of these businesses are built on the gig economy concept, where contractors complete a one-time job and choose when they want to work. Crowdsourced delivery (using independent contractors, or “gig workers,” to complete last-mile deliveries) is one area of the gig economy that has seen significant growth in recent years.
How Does Crowdsourced Delivery Work?
Crowdsourced delivery is like a relay race, where each runner passes the baton to the next until the finish line. The baton is the package, and the runners are the independent contractors who pick up and deliver the package. Just like in a relay race, each runner has a specific task to complete before passing the baton on to the next, and the goal is to get the baton to the finish line as quickly and efficiently as possible. In the case of crowdsourced delivery, the finish line is the customer's doorstep.
The concept of crowdsourced delivery can be traced back decades with the emergence of peer-to-peer (P2P) delivery services. However, it wasn’t until the rise of the gig economy in the late 2000s and early 2010s that crowdsourced delivery truly took off. Today, it’s a common and widely-used delivery model, with many businesses relying on it to meet their last-mile delivery needs.
Why Do Some Companies Prefer Crowdsourced Delivery?
Some small businesses prefer crowdsourced delivery due to its flexibility and cost-effectiveness. Depending on demand, they can scale their delivery operations up or down quickly. It can also provide faster and more efficient delivery, as gig workers are often available around the clock and can complete deliveries more flexibly.
For some companies, this raises the red flag of control over the delivery process and a lack of long-term sustainability. The crowdsourced delivery method doesn’t warrant any control over the quality and consistency of the delivery service, leading to missed or delayed deliveries, damaged or lost packages, a lack of accountability, and brand standards not being upheld.
Crowdsourced Delivery vs. 3PL Delivery Companies
To make things simple, we’ve put together a table comparing crowdsourced delivery with third-party logistics (3PL) delivery services like Ziing:
Some of the key contrasting points between the two delivery models are:
- Labor Model: Crowdsourced delivery relies on gig workers, whereas 3PL local delivery services employ full-time employees and work with dedicated service partners.
- Cost: Crowdsourced delivery tends to be lower in cost due to independent contractors, whereas 3PL local delivery services may be more expensive due to the overhead costs associated with full-time employees and delivery vehicles.
- Control: Crowdsourced delivery offers less control over the delivery process than 3PL local delivery services, which have more direct oversight and control over their teams and vehicles.
- Quality Assurance: Crowdsourced delivery can be variable in terms of service quality and consistency, while 3PL local delivery services generally have higher standards and are more likely to ensure consistent quality across all deliveries.
- Customer Service: 3PL delivery services often have higher levels of customer service, as they have dedicated customer service teams that can handle customer inquiries and concerns promptly and effectively.
Your Trusted Local Service with a National Network
With Ziing as your delivery partner, you get full control of your high-quality products and access to innovative tools, a foolproof ecosystem, and an experienced team. We ensure that every delivery is handled with care and precision, making us a reliable and trusted partner for businesses of all sizes.
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