Lyft helps people make a little extra money by giving rides. Airbnb lets us turn our office futons into cramped hotel rooms. Now the startup Carry wants to focus on that extra space in your duffel bag. Courier services have been around since travel, but Carry promises to make the service cheaper and give you more information about who is transporting your stuff through user profiles and reviews.
The possible issues with a service like this are many: What if you’re shipping something, and someone steals your stuff? What if you unwittingly become a drug mule with 30 pounds of cocaine in your suitcase? What if the item in that paper bag turns out to be alive? Carry anticipated most of the questions. One of the company’s founders told CNET that payments will only be made after a successful transaction, reducing any incentives to steal. The company will implement background checks for users, and couriers will not be liable for what they are carrying. If you agree to transport something, you will also be able to thoroughly inspect any packages and reject anyone you feel uncomfortable with.
The truth is, nervous people raised questions like these for Lyft, Airbnb and all the rest of these peer-to-peer services. But by and large, users have been happy with both sides of these transactions. So far, in the early tests of Carry, both the couriers and the shippers have been satisfied, too. According to Carry’s internal numbers, couriers are making $500 on average, and shippers are saving 60 percent. At first glance, those numbers seem a little high on both sides, but when you consider that overnight international shipping—which is essentially what shippers get—can run well into the hundreds of dollars, it seems possible.
Ultimately, the success of a company like Carry comes down to how comfortable we all feel with strangers. We’ll let them drive us, we’ll let them house us, we’ll even let them feed us. Is it any crazier that we would let them carry a package for us?
You can check out Carry, which launched last week, at their website.