Vending in the Age of Rideshare
By: Tommy Andrews
More and more drivers are adding the recently introduced Cargo Box as part of their business offerings to earn additional income and increase their driver ratings. As a driver myself, I wanted to test out the income potential of the box and get the real story. I found that I earn an average of $35 extra per week with the Cargo Box. So, putting everything into perspective that essentially means I can earn enough to get a free tank of gas each week, or I can have a nice dinner with my wife, or I can save money for a worthy cause.
A rideshare driver should always be looking for a way to make extra money while increasing their passenger ratings. The Cargo Box provides two USB ports that face the passenger, which equates to ease of use, and in today’s world of instant gratification, passengers are elated to have this product within their reach. Drivers that make the Cargo Box even simpler to use, by providing iPhone and Android charging cables, dramatically increase their potential for sales.
In this article we’ve answered the common questions rideshare drivers have about the Cargo Box…
- What is Cargo Box for rideshare drivers?
- How does the Cargo Box work?
- Item check out process
- How much money can drivers make with the Cargo Box?
- Which cities does Cargo currently serve?
- What are the driver requirements for a Cargo Box?
- What is the compensation structure for the rideshare driver for the Cargo Box?
- How does the rideshare driver get paid for sales from the Cargo Box?
- What are the benefits for rideshare drivers of the Cargo Box?
- How does the driver restock the Cargo Box?
- How many rideshare drivers have a Cargo Box?
- 9 New user tips for the Cargo Box
- What is in the future for the Cargo Box?
- How I make an extra $150 each month with very little effort; a driver’s perspective
Cargo Box provides rideshare drivers with additional means to earn money and increase their passenger ratings. It is a plastic case that is essentially a vending box which contains snacks and other items like Reese’s, Hershey’s chocolate, Icebreaker Gum, RedBull, face wipes, earphones, and other small practical items for passengers.
Rideshare drivers install Cargo Box on their car’s center armrest or console in order to provide their passengers the option of purchasing the items with their mobile phones. Some of the cargo items, such as samples, are totally free while others must be purchased by the passenger.
Safety first, only the driver has access to the Cargo Box lid. Once an order is completed by the passenger, the driver takes the appropriate items out of the box when it is safe to do so and gives it to the passenger. The lid opens towards the driver so the passengers cannot take items out of the Cargo Box by themselves. The driver earns $1 on each order, whether free items or billable items, plus an additional 25% commission on any billable item. In addition, the Cargo Box has two USB ports facing the passenger which the passenger can use to charge their mobile devices. LED’s light up the box at night which creates a very professional and impressive appearance for the passenger. Order Your Cargo Box here.
Now that you have a brief overview of what a Cargo Box is, let’s talk about how the Cargo Box works.
When passengers enter the back seat of the rideshare car, they are immediately greeted by the Cargo Box which is installed on the center console armrest. With seating of the Cargo Box in the center of the car, the driver is simply provided a higher arm position for their armrest. The Cargo Box is very neat and tidy in the way it holds the confectionary items, couple this with the two USB connectors on the box, along with LED lighting at night, passengers are instantly impressed. The box typically becomes a conversation piece, so you, the driver will explain how the box works.
There are instruction labels on the box facing the passenger which tell the passenger the website address to access the items in the box. This web address is www.cargo.menu. Notice, the TLD (top-level domain) is not “.com”, rather it is “.menu”. Specifically point this out because some passengers may immediately go to www.cargo.com, which is an unrelated website.
Next, it is important to point out to passengers that there are absolutely no apps to download and no personal information is collected other than their payment information, but this is only if the passenger is purchasing a chargeable item. If the passenger orders a free item, the passenger orders the items without providing payment or any other type of personal information.
- The passenger scans the QR code provided on the Cargo Box’s instruction sticker with their mobile phone, or they can select a browser and enter www.cargo.menu in the URL field. Either way, the passenger is taken to the website.
- The Cargo system prompts the passenger to provide the Cargo Box number. They will either enter in the five digit number provided above the QR code on the Cargo Box instruction label or scan the QR code itself. The QR code number identifies which driver the Cargo Box is assigned to.
- Once the number is entered, the screen will display the Cargo Menu of all the products that are available in the box starting with the chargeable items first, followed by the free samples. Screenshot_20190129-201448 The passenger can tap on any item they would like, each tap on the on the image will add 1 more to the cart. The passenger can reduce the quantity by one by tapping on the“-” minus sign on the top left of the item. The items can be deleted from the cart by tapping the “-” minus sign until the quantity shows “0” zero. The quantities will hit a maximum based on the inventory of the Cargo Box. In the screenshot below most of the items hit a max quantity of 1 except for the Veggiecopia Olives which hit a max of 3. The total items in the cart are thus 6.Screenshot_20190129-203733 This process can be repeated by the passenger for any other product they would like to order.
- If all the products selected are free items then the passenger will tap on Check Out while in the Cargo Menu. If there are multiple free samples in the Cargo Box and the passenger has only ordered one item type then the system will prompt the passenger to order one of the other items in the box. The system takes the passenger to step 6 below.
- If the passenger also put chargeable items into the cart, after clicking the Check Out button while in the Cargo Menu they will be directed to a screen where they can select a mode of payment which includes Apple Pay, Android Pay, PayPal, Venmo and all major credit cards. Each payment method guides the passenger through the payment and credit card process in which case the passenger will need to enter in their card number, full name, expiration date, CVS code and zip code.
- The passenger will receive a message on their display indicating that the order was successfully placed and that the driver will provide them with the items when it is safe to do so.
- You, the driver, then receive a text message with the details of the passenger order so that you can be sure you are providing the passenger with the correct ordered items. Be aware that no name information is exchanged with the driver so the text message will simply indicate the items ordered along with the quantity for each order. So, if you have numerous passengers in the car ordering at the same time you will need to simply confirm verbally with each passenger that you are providing the right quantity ordered. You need to give the passengers the benefit of the doubt in that they are honest.
Cargo Systems Inc. reported that 7,000 drivers using the Cargo Box between July 2017 and July 2018 earned an average of $1,200 per year. The top 10% of rideshare drivers earned an average of $3,600 per year. So, to break that down per month, the average driver made $100 per month, or $25 dollars extra per week.
I set out to see if these number really held true. I am a rideshare driver and have driven over 23,000 trips between Uber and Lyft in the last 3 years. I acquired a Cargo Box from an Uber Greenlight Hub in San Francisco in September 2018. Note, I did not count the first two weeks in my calculations because I was still learning how to help passengers order items from the box.
Having averaged out my income over the past five months with the Cargo Box, I came to the following conclusions: I earned an average of $35 per week, $152 per month, or $1,820 per year (remember, for the calculations, most months contain 4 weeks plus an additional 2-3 days).
So, given that I drive in a significant market, that being the San Francisco Bay area, I can picture cities that have less passenger business like Sacramento, California, or Columbus, Ohio would probably enable the rideshare driver to hit the average of $100 per month. And if you are the extraverted salesperson type then I can also see drivers hitting the $3,600 per year mark.
New York City, Boston, Washington DC, Baltimore, Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas, Minneapolis, San Francisco, and Los Angeles
The requirements are few but clear:
- Be an active driver for Uber, Lyft, Blue & White Taxi, Bubbl, Gett, Global Taxi, Grab, Juno, Via
- 300+ lifetime rideshare trips
- 4.7+ rating
- 50+ trips over the last 5 weeks just to show you’re actively driving
|Compensation||Type||# of Items||Period|
|$1.00||A Single Order||Any||N/A|
|25%||Commission||Any Chargeable Items||N/A|
In all of the above scenarios, it does not matter whether the items were free samples or chargeable items.
When the Cargo Box was introduced in 2016 right up to just a few weeks ago the money that drivers earned was deposited in their specified bank account once per month. Cargo changed this just a few weeks ago and has made it more frequent so the deposits now occur once per week. That means that as a driver you will be able to have access to your earned funds from your sales more frequently
When you first sign up for the Cargo Box you will be asked to provide some information in order to open an account. One of the questions will be for you to provide bank account information so that Cargo can make regular weekly deposits to your bank account for any money you have earned in the previous week.
You will also be asked for a debit or credit card if you are ordering you Cargo Box online as opposed to getting one at a Uber Greenlight Hub. This is required to prevent theft as the Cargo Box is 100% free for rideshare drivers.
- Let’s start with the fact that there is no cost to the driver for the Cargo Box, the driver pays nothing. The rideshare driver simply agrees to provide the items in the box to their passengers on good faith. Cargo provides everything except the final delivery of the items into the passenger’s hands.
- Passengers think of their driver as more responsive to their potential needs and thus will provide the driver with a higher passenger rating.
- The ability of the passenger to charge their phone without asking the driver will also entice the passenger to provide a higher rating for the driver.
- The driver can also have one free sample item every day and the driver even gets paid for it!!!
- All in all, it just seems like a win-win situation overall.
The entire Cargo system is computer controlled, thus your inventory is tracked by computer through the passenger use of the www.cargo.menu website. When you start running low on an item the computer may decide to ship more of that item to your registered address or the system may decide to replace the item with something else. In my experience so far, I always have 1 to 2 free sample items in the Cargo Box, supplied by the company, which makes for an easy introduction to the passenger to have them at least order the free sample.
The shipments currently arrive by DHL. Your Cargo dashboard is accessible on the Cargo website from a PC, tablet, or mobile phone. The dashboard provides a record of all shipments including items that are about to ship, are in transit or have completed shipping with a description and quantity of the item along with the tracking number. You typically receive multiple items packed into a box. Sometimes only one item will ship.
The Cargo computer system will also ask you to remove certain items from your Cargo Box that may have an upcoming expiration date due to having semi-perishable ingredients. This, of course, will be at no cost to you.
You are busy enough as a rideshare driver, ordering stock for your Cargo Box will never be a part of your responsibilities!
That is a really difficult question to answer as only the company can reveal the numbers and they have not recently done so publicly.
Given that I drive every day in San Francisco, when I first got the Cargo Box five months ago nobody entering my car knew anything about the Cargo Box. Now, five months later, I am getting a passenger about every three days who say they have seen the box in another Uber or Lyft. The funny thing is, when I get those who have already seen or tried the Cargo Box elsewhere, they immediately get on their mobile phone, go the www.cargo.menu website and order free sample items – and remember, I make money from free samples.
There are over 2 million rideshare drivers in the United States, so Cargo has a very significant growth potential given that they have not yet penetrated 1% of the drivers with the vending system.
As a driver, I would consider getting a Cargo Box ASAP! Look at when Uber and Lyft first started out – compared to now, the fantastic Cargo Box bonus programs may similarly go into decline as the market heads towards saturation.
- Arrange the products in the box so that the passengers can see the labels. Try not to stack them sideways since their label will be obscured. Impress your passengers with well-organized items, and you’ll also appreciate the time that you save for yourself!
- If you have a lot of a product, only place 1-2 of each item in the box and leave the rest in storage – in your trunk or in a convenient place in your car, perhaps underneath the driver’s seat.
- Supply both the USB ports on the Cargo Box with iPhone and Android charging cables. I always have an iPhone cable plugged into the right-hand passenger side USB port and an Android cable plugged into the left-hand port. In addition, I keep a USB-C cable for the odd phone that might have that connector like all the Google Pixel phones. Be prepared, your passengers will rate you highly!
- Only give your passenger their item(s) when it is truly safe to do so, for example when standing at a red light, but NOT when the car is moving. Taking your eyes off the road for a split second can cause an accident. Remember, your passenger’s safety is of paramount importance. They will appreciate and notice that you put safety first.
- If your passengers are impressed by the Cargo Box when they get in the car then start talking about how it works. This is your chance to make an added impression. Make sure the passengers know that there is no app to download and that there are free samples in the box. Also, phones with QR readers can just scan the QR code which is on the instruction label and this will take them directly to the www.cargo.menu website.
- Make sure your passenger know that the web address is NOT www.cargo.com. Some passengers make this mistake right off the bat without even thinking about it. The web address is www.cargo.menu.
- Save your passengers from having to dig for the items they are looking for. Let your passengers know that when they are looking at your inventory on the Cargo website the free sample items are always at the bottom of the list.
- Let your passengers know that no money has to exchange hands, the system will take Apple Pay, Android Pay, PayPal, Venmo, and Credit Cards. Be aware that Cargo will not accept credit cards from outside the United States. I once picked up a passenger at the airport and she was very hungry after her flight from Greece, but she was unable to use her Greek VISA card.
- Privacy matters! Some passengers are reluctant to place an order because they think they may have to fill out a form with their name and other contact information. Make sure you assure your passengers that the only information taken of the transaction is the location, date, and time. No names or contact information are required unless the passenger pays with a credit card, but in that case, the contact information is being provided to the card company and not Cargo.
Recently, Uber took an equity stock position in Cargo Systems, Inc. which allows Cargo to display, present and distribute their Cargo Box to Uber drivers in Uber Greenlight Hubs. I mention in my story How I make an extra $150 each month with very little effort that the Uber Greenlight center was where I was also convinced to try the box out. At this time, Cargo Box is not restricted to Uber drivers, rather Cargo is trying to accelerate the distribution of the boxes given that Uber has the larger market share, not just in the United States but around the world. So, if you drive Lyft or other rideshare services, including Uber, you can still go to this link and order your box online instead of going to an Uber Greenlight Center.
The most recent word on the street is that Uber is considering integrating Cargo into its Uber app. This would make it extra convenient for passengers to place their order while they are on a ride or perhaps even pre-order before the ride arrives so that their item is already waiting for them on their seat.
At this point, though, Cargo is most interested in getting the box into as many cars as possible, so this means all rideshare services are considered at this point despite Uber’s move to corner some of the Cargo Market.
Let’s recap as I tell you my personal story.
If someone told you, as a rideshare driver, you could easily earn an extra $1,500 to $3,000 a year with little to no effort, would you take the offer? Well, let me tell you how you can earn the equivalent of a free tank of gas per week or several free meals.
Five months ago, while I was getting a new airport placard at the Uber Greenlight center, I was introduced to a box that contained chocolates, drinks, face wipes, chips, and other confectionery items. A company called Cargo had set up a booth at the Uber Greenlight Hub to promote their mini confectionery box to Uber drivers that walked into the Uber Greenlight Hub. I must tell you that this little box works magic for both the driver and the passenger.
The awesome thing about the Cargo Box is that for any order with a passenger you will earn a minimum of $1. There are usually 1 to 2 types of items in the box that are always free samples. So, even if your passenger only orders free samples you still earn $1. If your passengers buy any products which are not free, then you will earn 25% of the product price on top of the $1.
Bonus! Drivers are allowed to place one order for free products from the box each day. There are usually two items which the company is giving away for free whether it be to the passenger or the driver. By having free items in the box, it is easier to talk the passenger into ordering a free item or two so that you get paid your $1 commission.
Once the passenger sees the additional inventory of chargeable items in the box, the passenger is more likely to add one of these chargeable products to the cart for checkout from the Cargo Menu. Just so you understand completely if your passenger orders two items you still get $1, instead of $2 because the commission is based on orders and not the number of items. So, if someone orders 5 items at once it is still counted as a single order. If your passenger buys an item from your box for which there is a charge you will not only receive the $1 for the total order but you will also receive 25% commission for each chargeable item.
Most of the items in the box cost between $1.50 to $2.50, which is very similar in pricing to items sold at typical variety stores.
I cannot say this enough, your passengers will also love the Cargo Box because it is designed with two USB plugs which face the passengers for easy access to phone charging. I recommend that drivers provide an iPhone cord plugged into the right-hand side and an Android cable plugged into the left-hand side. You should also carry a USB-C cable in case your passengers need it, USB-C is the newest style cable many Android mobile companies are shifting to because it does not matter which way you plug it in for Android phones. With such convenience, you are assured of higher ratings.
The Cargo Box sits on the armrest between the driver and passenger seat. It’s made from plastic with a rubberized bottom which prevents it from shifting around on the armrest. The Cargo Box is tethered to the armrest with straps similar to a backpack or suitcase strap. Drivers are provided with clear plastic partitions that go into the box so that the driver can partition off items any way they like for merchandising to the passenger. So, you can wow them with how you organize your items alone!
Instructions are provided on the Cargo Box facing the passenger so that they will know exactly how to place an order. Alternatively, the passenger can go directly to the website by entering in the website address of www.cargo.menu into any browser on a mobile phone. Your customer can work their way through the simple check out prompts which are part of the Cargo Menu on their phone, or you can help them (which may prompt them to make additional purchases) through these simple to follow steps.
So, you may wonder how you obtain the initial items that you sell from the Cargo Box. When you first receive the Cargo Box, either at an Uber Greenlight Hub or if it is shipped to you, it will be preloaded with items. When your passengers order items, Cargo’s computer system keeps track of the orders and monitors your inventory. So, if you start to go low on an item Cargo may send you more items, or they may send replacement items that they currently keep in stock. The product is shipped at no charge to you by Cargo Systems, Inc., and they also keep track of the inventory through their computer system. The driver never has to pay a dime for any of the items shipped unless the driver buys a chargeable item from their own box. Remember, the driver earns $1 for orders, whether chargeable or free, that the driver themselves places, but the driver does not receive the 25% commission on sales to themselves.
It may seem like it would take a long time to earn a decent amount of commission each month. If you wanted to earn $100 in commission in any given month your passengers would have to place 100 orders. Fortunately, Cargo makes it much easier to earn that kind of commission by accelerating your earnings by the more orders you have. The bonus program is built so that Cargo can change the weekly and monthly bonuses at will based on supply and demand. An example of the weekly bonus: you receive an extra $5 for 5 completed orders for the week. If demand is lower, Cargo may offer a $5 weekly bonus for 10 orders for the week. In addition to the weekly bonuses, the monthly bonuses can really boost your earnings. An example of a monthly bonus: you receive a $25 bonus for reaching 40 orders in a month. So, now you can see how you can accelerate your earnings. The bonuses are what make the Cargo Box a viable device for a rideshare driver to carry in their car.
I have provided you with statements from Cargo so that you can see what kind of income I have made over the past three months. Some of the information is personal and was redacted but you can certainly get a good picture of what I have been doing consistently. Remember, you can order your own free product once per day and you will also earn a dollar for your very own order, that means that you can potentially earn $365 a year without selling a product to anybody else.
I’ve also provided pictures of what the box looks like when it’s in the car fully functional.
If you want to make some easy money, perhaps you’re saving up for a vacation, perhaps you’re trying to pay off a credit card or other worthy cause, the Cargo Box is a great way for a rideshare driver to make additional income while boosting their passenger ratings.