In the last few years, a new-app based service economy has emerged and companies like Caviar, Grubhub, Postmates, and even Uber now give anyone the opportunity to be couriers. Like this guy: Frankie Gallderizzi. He’s a full-time bike messenger in New York City. “I started about two years ago, I was looking for a job and I was like, ‘Well I’m riding all the time anyway,’ so I looked into some pizzerias and stuff but no one was hiring except for really late nights. So then a buddy told me about Grubhub.” To be clear, Frank doesn’t technically work for Grubhub. He’s officially an independent contractor who just uses Grubhub to get work. He also juggles a handful of other apps: Postmates, UberRush, Caviar, and Doordash. Each of these companies has a different business structure and pay scale. Although Grubhub wouldn’t share any pay info with me, I found out that through Doordash, couriers generally get five dollars per delivery and keep the full tip. The commission through Uberrush is up to eighty percent of a five to seven dollar merchant fee. All of these apps, including Caviar and Postmates, factor in variables like distance and peak hours. “Usually I work evenings, that’s when you make the most money, like during dinnertime. I sign into an app, which everyone I’m working for that day, and just kind of wait for the deliveries. Get a delivery, If it has too much or it has like, two soft drinks that you don’t want to carry, you reject it. If it looks good, you accept it. Head over to the restaurant, make sure all the items are in there, pop it in your bag, head over to the diner and drop it off. And do that over and over and over. I usually end when I’m getting tired, but sometimes you gotta push through it there. If I haven’t made a lot of money that week I just have to ride while my legs are hurting.” Caviar and Doordash claim on their websites that a messenger can make up to $25 an hour but in reality that’s a pretty ambitious figure. Just to make minimum wage, which is nine dollars in New York City, Frankie has to make at least two deliveries an hour. To pull off minimum wage! He has to rush. “If you want to get paid you have to sort of not be in the bike lanes and be with traffic, because they’re really slow and there’s constantly people turning into them, double parking in them. When you have like three drinks you have to carry and soup and the restaurant took a really long time to get all the stuff together and your delivery time is coming up real soon and you you gotta go three miles, that’s when it starts to get really stressful.” Most companies don’t offer health care or workers compensation in the event of an accident. “I’d say just take it real slow at the beginning until you get used to it. Stop it all the red lights, stay in the bike lane, and just be super careful. That’s all you really can do. Most of the time when people are getting hurt it’s because they think that they can just do what they see everyone else doing and it’s not necessarily true.” Because most delivery startups bill themselves as tech companies and not transportation companies, this gap can be a big deal, when most riders tend to share the road with cars. Over 4,000 cyclists were injured last year in New York City, 14 died. But despite this, Frankie sees plenty of upsides. “First of all you get to make your own schedule, which is amazing. It’s really exciting especially during rush hour. Sometimes work is more fun than just riding around for fun. I was going through some like anxiety problems at one point and riding my bike through traffic is sort of the one thing that keeps me completely in the moment. I can’t think about anything else so it was actually helping out my anxiety. I’d say most people can’t afford to do this as a career or they fear the risks or just don’t really like riding that much but there’s always been a niche group that do it for the lifestyle. I’ve only been doing it for two years but that’s not a long time at al. I see dudes all the time, I see the same dudes too, they’ve probably been doing it for 20 years. I think it takes a special kind of person to be able to do it for that long. It’s like any other job that’s really physical.” If you like this video and you want to see more, click here.