If you’re running late to the airport or in for a long drive to work and didn’t have time to eat, ride-sharing services can help out with that. Approximately 20,000 ride-sharing drivers have installed Cargo Boxes in their cars, which give hungry travelers instant access to chocolate candy, protein bars, snack nuts and even personal care items.
These mobile snack boxes can be a win-win-win for the driver, the retailers selling the items and, of course, the passenger.
Earning extra ride-sharing income
In addition to whatever a passenger pays for a regular commute, drivers get a fixed rate ($1 per purchase, 25 percent for each item price) for both free giveaway items and for-purchase items. According to the official site, drivers do not have to pay for the box and can install it themselves.
So why would ride-sharing independent contractors use this option? One major reason is to try to make up for the difference in pay for wear and tear on their own cars, gas fill-ups and general car maintenance. A common complaint from ride-sharing drivers is not enough pay. While some can make a decent daily profit, airport rides, rush-hour rides, and night and weekend rides will be a necessity.
For drivers who don’t want to travel from sunup to sundown, these boxes could make them anywhere from $130 to $300 per month. No physical money exchanges hands for the food. Just as the passenger orders an Uber or Lyft through a ride-sharing app, passengers’ snacks are ordered through the Cargo Box passenger app, too.
A second reason drivers are using these snack apps is that instead of keeping track of their own inventory, this third-party will do it for them with the help of the QR code on the box. The Cargo Box can only be opened from the front of the car, reducing theft. Of course, this means making sure that one rider who preferred the passenger seat knows this, too.
Drivers don’t have to keep track of what’s inside. As items run low, Cargo Box will ship more inventory to drivers.
And then there’s the most obvious third answer drivers are choosing these boxes: good ratings. Uber and Lyft drivers who get passengers from Point A to Point B may get their five-star reviews. But drivers who have access to snacks along the way have an extra perk.
Snack boxes aren’t Uber-Lyft exclusive
Some cities may not see these snack boxes for a while. Others may have already spied them on their last ride.
Currently Cargo hub locations are available in Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, NYC, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.
This is even an attractive offer for lesser-known ride-sharing drivers. For example, Via drivers* (who can be found exclusively in Chicago, New York City and Washington, D.C.) can also install these boxes.
Even Australian ride-sharing services are getting in on the snack box options with their own company: Grabox.
The downsides of snack selling while ride sharing
So, what are the downsides to stocking these items? Ride-sharing drivers should be aware that these items must be treated like any grocery item. If the rides are in hot-weather climates, chocolate will be a melting mess if the snack box isn’t brought inside each day. The same goes for any other item that would normally require refrigeration or room temperature specifications.
And similar to any other distraction-free driving rule, ride-sharing drivers should beware of safety when handing over the items. The snack box sites recommend waiting until drivers are at a complete stop so they can confirm what the item is and hand it over, instead of trying to toggle snacks, follow GPS directions, and watch out for cars and people at the same time.
And as with any commission-based sales, drivers must beware of being too pushy about it. Not acknowledging the box at all may mean no sales. However, trying to coax every passenger into purchasing something could hurt their sales, too. As long as drivers remember what it’s like to have a pushy salesperson following them around, this snack box should be profitable in the long run.
* In addition to a price difference ($3.95 base), the major difference between Via, Uber and Lyft is Via requires non-luxury drivers to have cars that have a model year of 2010 or newer. Uber and Lyft only require your four-door vehicle be a maximum of 15 years old (2004), unless you choose luxury services.