Buddytruk is one of the latest in a number of freelance network opportunities that has sprung up. In the same way that Uber and Lyft have revolutionized the transportation industry, Buddytruk is trying to revolutionize how we get large and bulky items home. (Maybe not as an exciting revolution, but cool nonetheless).
In fact, you can think of the service as Uber for pick-up trucks. Users download the app and when they have something to haul, they put in a pick-up and destination address, snap a photo of the item, and request a Buddytruk driver to come pick it up. The app is custom-made for people who buy things from Ikea or a garage sale that are just a little bit too big to fit in the back of the Prius.
On the driver side, you’ll see a notification on your phone that a delivery is available. From there you can click on the delivery to see the details and decide if you want to accept the ride or not. Drivers work only when they want to and can decide whether or not they want to take a delivery. Everything is handled through the phone app, available for both iOS and Android. You use your own truck for all deliveries.
Best of all, Buddytruk advertises that drivers can earn up to $40 an hour! We recently signed up for the service to see exactly what drivers can expect and see if this opportunity is as good as it sounds.
To get started, we visited Buddytruk.com to learn a bit more about the company and what it’s like to drive for them. Once we decided that we wanted to drive, we were a little confused on how to begin the process. The driver page asks us to login (or use Facebook, which we don’t have), but we had no account. It turns out that all account creation is handled through the app. So to create an account and begin applying, simply click the “Download” button and put in your phone number. You’ll be sent a link to download the app.
The Application Process
Once you download the app, then you can use it to apply to become a driver. First, you’ll need to setup an account with your name and phone number, email address and password. From there, to apply to become a driver, you have to select the menu in the top corner and turn the app to “Driver Mode.”
After selecting Driver Mode, you will see the application process on your phone. Here you’ll fill in your personal information, and details about your truck.
Once the initial application is submitted, you’ll receive an email like the one below that tells you what comes next — including the $50 fee to run a background check and initial tools. As you can see below, this fee is refunded to you after you complete five deliveries.
We Got Your Application!
Thank you so much for your interesting in joining the Buddytruk team as a Buddy! We’re sure you get asked by friends & family all the time to use your truck and we’re excited to help you get paid for it! We’d would like to take this opportunity to walk you through what the on-boarding process will look like so we can get you out on the road and helping people. First, We will run 2 background checks, DMV and Criminal. This is to make sure we only have the safest, most reliable Buddies helping our users. If you have a DUI, Felony, Theft and/or Aggravated assault charges within the last 10 years, you will not qualify as a Buddy. Also, we want all of our Buddies to have the tools they need to get the job done. That’s why we outfit everyone that joins our platform with a dolly, 4 ratchet straps and 2 moving blankets. Lastly, you’ll get a car magnet, 2 Buddytruk T-shirts, a car charger and a window decal so you can show off Buddytruk everywhere! To move forward and run the background checks involves a $50 charge. But don’t worry, this will be completely reimbursed after completing 5 deliveries and all the moving supplies are yours to keep.
If you’re ready to get moving let us know by replying to this email and we’ll things started!
While we were a bit surprised at the $50 charge, we thought it was worth it since we could make $40 per hour and also get to keep the moving equipment.
After agreeing to the charge, it took about a week for the background check to come back. From there, we received a notice telling us that we had been cleared on the check and we were ready to schedule our mentor session. We signed up for one of the available timeslots, but it never told us where we were actually supposed to meet.
Luckily, throughout the entire process Buddytruk did a good job of staying in contact via both email and text. And while I didn’t know exactly who at the company I was texting, I was able to tell them the situation and ask where to meet (a Starbucks in downtown Austin).
On the day of our session, we headed down to Starbucks and met with two people — one was a Buddytruk employee and one was a fellow driver. Here, they had us sign some legal papers and walked through how the app and picking up deliveries work. They also took photos of our driver’s license and proof of insurance, as well as my truck itself.
All in all, the mentor session was extremely helpful and offered an opportunity to ask any questions I had. They also supplied me will all the items promised, including t-shirts, magnetic truck signs, moving blankets, tie-downs and lots of Buddytruk swag. It did seem a little “start-up” in that it was very informal and they hadn’t quite worked out all the kinks.
Even after the mentor session, however, you aren’t quite ready to start. It took about 48 hours for us to be granted full driver status. We were told to just keep checking on the app in Driver Mode to see if we could access deliveries yet.
How Deliveries Work
Once you are setup as a driver on the app, you can now start accepting deliveries. When a user has something they need delivered, they will input the information and a small box will pop-up on your map, along with a notification. You click the box to review the details and then click to accept if you’d like to take it.
Right now, the delivery volume is pretty slow in Austin, and there are quite a few drivers. As a result, you need to be quick to check and pick up deliveries, or someone else will. Another issue is the app itself. Right now it’s still fairly new and you can tell the kinks are being worked out. For example, sometimes Buddytruk will send a mass text letting people know there is a delivery, but it doesn’t appear on the Driver Mode screen. Other times jobs will appear, but we won’t get a notification on the phone.
In all, it took us approximately two months before we took our first job (but at the time, we had a full-time job that meant we were only available on some weekends). This timespan included several times where we received texts from Buddytruk saying a delivery was available, but we couldn’t see them on the app.
Once we did find and accept a job, the app made things pretty simple. Once accepted we received the phone number for the client and gave them a call to let them know we were on our way.
After arriving, you simply hold down a button on the app that indicates you’ve arrived and start the timer (Note: You aren’t paid for the time it takes you to get from your home to the delivery). When you are done, you hold the button down again to confirm that the job is over.
For our first job, we didn’t even really need a truck. Our person simply needed help moving a couple of couches up some stairs in their apartment. It took us about 45 minutes to help out.
When you complete your application, you will also setup your account information for direct deposit. Once the job is confirmed by both the driver and the client, the payment is automatically calculated and deposited into your account. You are then sent an email receipt.
For Buddytruk, it costs users $1 per minute and $1 per mile. Buddytruk takes a hefty 40% cut of the transaction and the other 60% goes to the driver. So if you completed a task that took an hour and included 10 miles of driving, you’d be paid $42 ((60 minutes x $1 + 10 miles x $1) x 60%).
Our job lasted about 45 minutes (not including the 15 minutes drive from home and back) and netted us about $30.
The company does offer incentives for drivers, including better cuts for drivers with more deliveries. These incentives vary by month and are posted on a Facebook page for drivers.
Review of our Buddytruk Experience
Overall, Buddytruk has amazing potential, but it’s not there yet. Word still needs to get out about the service, as there aren’t a lot of deliveries for the amount of drivers. Sometimes we only get notifications about 1-2 per day. Other days can have several.
The app also has some issues to work out. We find it is hit or miss on whether we get notified for a delivery or not. Thankfully, the Buddytruk crew is pretty responsive in sending out a text message if there is an open delivery that hasn’t been picked up yet.
On the flip side, the money you can earn is great, albeit inconsistent. We continue to keep the app open and check for deliveries regularly. As the service continues to grow and partner with stores around the city, we expect more opportunity to earn.
Right now Buddytruk is available in Los Angeles, Austin, and Chicago.
Have more questions about our experience? Let us know in the comments below.