Stuart courier delivery services were founded in 2015 and currently operate in England, Wales, Spain and France at the time of writing this case study. The agency employs 164 staff, but most of their team will be independent couriers, connecting with customers via their automated, online service.
In terms of what Stuart do, their stated vision “…is to make it easier for … [business] … customers to receive your products, all while reducing congestion and pollution”.Specifically, the company website refers to the following values:
While having an ambition to reduce delivery service pollution, they do not, however, exclude motorised vehicle owners from becoming delivery service providers, nor is the moped owner or motorcycle courier excluded from their fleet of riders either.
Ethics and compliance are mostly in relation to the category of goods being delivered, so Stuart exclude a variety of higher risk or regulated goods in their terms and conditions.
Their technology is based on either an iOS 10+ and Android 5+ compatible app. The system can also be accessed via Facebook, maximising opportunities for connecting package shippers and couriers. The company recognise that success is built upon user friendly features of their software. This explicit business goal is enshrined in their “…commitment to transforming complicated technology into easy to use products…”
Take up of online courier services demands simplicity and an intuitive interface. Main features, therefore include:
- Package size and weight limits vary according to method of transport, where S: [bicycle and moped/motorbike] M: [moped/motorbike] L: [car] XL: [car]
- Limitations by transport type:
- S: 40cm length; 20cm width; depth 15 cm; 12kg weight
- M: 50cm length; 30cm width; 30cm depth; 20kg weight
- L: 90cm length; 65cm width, depth 50cm; 25kg weight XL: 100cm length; 90cm width, depth 50cm; 70kg weight
- Address details input fields for the shipper and parcel recipient
- Telephone contact details data field for the courier to speak to the customer directly where necessary. This data is, according to the company, only kept in the system for the duration of the delivery.
- Button to record pick up and drop off by the courier
- Automated route recommendation
- Service and customer rating
The growth of on-demand courier delivery services mean that their investor support has been significant, with the company achieving 22 million euros in their first three years, according to their website. The company is now owned by GeoPost, the second largest European express parcel service and their leadership team describe the company as a “high growth startup” courier service.
Freelance Business Owner Opportunities with Stuart
Stuart’s on demand courier services include opportunities for both independent, small business owners who are their riders and for courier delivery customers wanting an affordable, convenient delivery in forty European cities.
Bicycle, motorcycle, moped and motor vehicle owners (under 3 tons) can all apply to become independent couriers. From their website, it appears that riders will be expected to be branded, with badged uniforms, however, given their independent courier status, the reality on the ground may mean operatives only carry ID.
Courier delivery is a small ‘business opportunity’ for independent riders and car owners in England and Wales to work their own, flexible schedules, while enjoying what they claim to be “…competitive earnings”, on their company website.
The reality of earnings potential will depend upon speed of the courier and efficiency of the company delivering and and receiving packages, as well as optimal route servicing. Service fee recommendations are set out within the app (and in their terms). Couriers can keep any tips earned, a benefit not enjoyed by all operatives and which can make a significant difference to earnings. For more insight as a would-be courier, check out Glass Door’s review.
There is an emphasis on “community” and “fun events”. However, their ‘force major’ terms and conditions (T’s & C’s) are worth checking for identifying the level of risk couriers must carry. In particular, being let down by the customer in terms of being ready with the package to deliver can mean wasted time and energy, cutting into earnings per hour.
Another consideration for riders needs to be the cancellation fees applicable, set at the minimum price for 1.5 miles, as set out in section 6.3 of Stuart’s T’s & C’s.
Stuart Customer Services
Stuart’s target audience is retail businesses, particularly focussing on small start-ups needing local deliveries, or medium to larger enterprises, needing last mile logistics cover.
While the service is mostly automated online, if shippers prefer to prioritise transport mode over package specifications, the customer is advised to contact the company directly, albeit there is guidance on fees on the company website. This of course, offers more scope for harvesting of customer data and relationship building by the company to build repeat business.
Stuart are subject to some regulation where they operate. Customers can, for instance, expect some screening of their riders; e.g. UK riders must have a permit to work in the UK. Customers can request delivery within the hour via cycle, motorcycle or car, or even deliveries on foot, skateboard, or roller skates. Services are available 7 days per week.
Stuart have a number of competitors in the UK and overseas last mile and express courier market. For a comparison, readers may want to check out the following on demand courier delivery services:
Alternatively, generalist online agencies offer ways to bring people who need jobs doing together with those who can help e.g. TaskRabbit.
For businesses, such as fleet owners, or independent couriers seeking to build their own online courier services, there are some excellent transport management software providers offering niche ‘off the shelf’ modular packages and bespoke options to scale up and tap into the potentially lucrative transport and logistics market.