Treating delivery drivers as gig workers may not be the best way to get packages delivered safely and reliably. At least that appears to be the premise of new company called the FRONTdoor Collective that offers independent delivery companies – the ones that handle “last mile” delivery – an opportunity to open a franchise under its umbrella.
Penelope Register-Shaw helped launch Amazon’s Delivery Service Partner (DSP) program, but she told Business Insider that the drivers have not been seeing meaningful economic success. (Amazon told Business Insider the majority of drivers are within or above the projected profitability ranges for the program.)
Amazon launched DSP in 2018 to train people to operate their own delivery businesses, though owners were limited to delivering Amazon packages only – it described the annual profit potential as between $75,000 and $300,000.
In 2019, Amazon pitched the DSP program to third-party merchants.
The Amazon program now has 2,500 DSPs employing 150,000 people. Register-Shaw said her firm, the FRONTdoor Collective, is unrelated to Amazon’s program, which is dedicated to carrying Amazon volume. The FRONTdoor Collective is offering small to medium companies, who employ W-2 drivers, a chance to diversify with other eCommerce Shippers.” (Paragraph edited on 8/25/2021 to add information and clarification.)
The FRONTdoor Collective’s website is sparse – here’s how it describes itself:
From The Store to Your FRONTdoor
The FRONTdoor Collective (FDC) has created the first micro-last mile delivery network with the capacity to cover 90% of residences and businesses in the US and Canada.
We take great pride in building tools and processes that address the most important pain points in last mile delivery — safety, costs, capacity, timeliness, and flexibility.
The collective experience of FedEx, Walmart, Instacart, XPO, Amazon and the US Military built The FRONTdoor Collective to solve the fundamental challenges in last mile delivery. We treat every package as if it were going to our own FRONTdoor!
The company’s Chief Development Officer Kelly Pickering, who has experience running an Amazon DSP, told Freight Waves, “When you look at the gig economy driver, it can be a fairly inconsistent experience for the retailer and the consumer. On the other end of the spectrum, the national carrier partners are hitting their max capacity.”
Last mile refers to getting packages from a local hub to the customers’ front door as cost-effectively as possible.
After convincing online shoppers that there is such a thing as “free shipping,” marketplaces and retailers may be facing a trade-off between higher rates or inadequate service – not to mention it happening as shipping carriers continue to raise rates and surcharges.