Envoyrs recommends a minimum commission of $5, but for more expensive items (like electronics), it recommends 25 to 30% of the item’s value. It takes a 15% service charge on the transaction, but in most cases, Envoyrs claims it’s still cheaper, and more reliable, than more traditional postal services, especially in dodgy countries.
Envoyrs only accepts requests for new items – no secondhand or personal goods. Requests for tobacco products, prescription drugs or anything that is likely to cause problems for the Envoy at customs are not allowed.
So how is this different from traditional shipping companies like FedEx? According to Beiko:
“We not only ship your item, we buy it too. The process of using FedEx to get something delivered is clunky because you need to find someone to purchase your item and have them bring it to FedEx, so they can ship it over and you get it. FedEx is also pretty expensive. With us, you simply say what item you want, and the whole process is taken care of by a traveller who will both buy and bring your item.”
It’s an easy way for travelers to make money on the road — instead of renting out your home, your car or your dog (yes, you can do that), you are basically renting out extra space in your suitcase.
Couriers currently receive an email when there is match for their departure country and destination, but eventually, Beiko envisions a marketplace where couriers can see at a glance what items and routes are available.
So far, there are more than 1,500 people signed up from more than 50 countries, and that’s without advertising. There have also been some pretty odd delivery requests, including, according to Beiko: a set of limited edition Tintin books to Cambodia, some chocolate from ‘anywhere in the world’ in Germany, and a mask that allows you to breathe under water in Vietnam.
While there have been plenty of startups developed on the road, this is one we hope gets embraced by aspiring mules everywhere.