Economics / Retail / Startups / Transportation

Postmates launches in Philly: on-demand delivery of anything

Get items from local stores delivered in less than one hour. Get free soft pretzels by downloading the app.

Three of Postmates' couriers (not in Philadelphia). (Photo courtesy of Postmates)

Postmates launched in Philadelphia today, and it’s offering on-demand delivery of anything, in one hour or less.

You’re essentially paying someone to be your personal assistant for a very short period of time, dispatching them to pick up sundries or a sandwich.

Postmates is giving away free soft pretzels to people who download the app.

Get the mobile app for iOS or Android

Philadelphia is the 11th city to get the service, which charges a delivery fee that starts a $5, plus a 9 percent service fee. Postmates is waiving the $5 delivery fee until Aug. 17. Couriers get 80 percent of the delivery fee, plus tips, the Inquirer reported. (Columnist Jeff Gelles actually tried the service and his piece shares some helpful details.)

The San Francisco startup doesn’t have any employees in Philadelphia but it plans to, a spokeswoman said. It’s not sure how many couriers, or “Postmates,” it will recruit because it depends on demand, but there are 4,000 Postmates across the country, she said.

It’s another service to add to the local fleet of what tech watchers are now calling the instant-gratification economy: Instacart, TaskRabbit and Uber.

A Delaware-based company, DeliveryCircle, offers a similar service, as Delaware recently reported.

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