When you don’t have the time or a vehicle that fits your needs, safely delivering large or fragile items — or even pets — to the right destination can be a big, costly hassle. Luckily, connecting with the right people to find shipping within your budget is an easy process. With CitizenShipper, you can find trusted peers to fulfill your shipping needs.
Founded in 2008 by Richard Obousy, CitizenShipper was one of the first delivery and moving apps to enter the sharing economy. Today, even with the rise of competitors like Roadie and GoShare, the platform remains highly trusted (and preferred) by many consumers seeking alternative shipping services. It currently holds a solid A- rating from the Better Business Bureau and a near-perfect Trustpilot rating.
If CitizenShipper sounds like a transportation service that fits your needs — or a perfect opportunity for you to earn — keep reading to learn how it works.
What Is CitizenShipper?
CitizenShipper is a peer-to-peer shipping marketplace that connects consumers to vetted local drivers who have the right vehicles for the job. Whether you’re in need of a local delivery or a long-distance shipment, this platform can help you transport a wide variety of items, which include but are not limited to:
- Fragile items
- Heavy equipment
- Pets and animals
- Vehicles (includes boats, cars, motorcycles, and more)
This online marketplace can even help you with large-scale moves, freight, and simple local errands like grocery delivery.
How CitizenShipper Works
Getting your shipment from point A to point B is a simple process when you use the CitizenShipper platform.
To start, all you need to do is fill out this shipment form and list your transportation needs. Then, the online shipping platform will alert eligible drivers, who can message you and give you quotes for their services. As soon as you start getting bids, you can learn more about drivers’ ratings, experience, credentials, and cancellation rates on their public profiles — or you can simply message each driver back to get more details.
Only drivers who have submitted information for their background check can contact you. If you’re requesting an animal shipment, your potential transporters will additionally be registered with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
As soon as you’ve chatted with enough drivers to find the right one (with the right price) for your needs, you can book their services straight through the platform. Both of you can continue to stay in touch throughout the shipment process. Once you’ve confirmed that your item or items have arrived safely, you can leave your driver a review.
How Much Does CitizenShipper Cost?
While the majority of your final cost will depend on the driver bids you receive, CitizenShipper does charge a service fee on top of your driver quote. For most shipments, the platform uses the following service fee structure:
- $49 for shipments quoted at less than $1,000
- $99 for shipments quoted at $1,000 to $2,000
- $149 for shipments quoted at $2,001 or higher
These service fees are definitely not cheap for standard, small deliveries. However, when you have a vehicle or an entire house to move, or high-value items that require plenty of special care, you can save hundreds, while getting peace of mind by hand-selecting your driver.
The only case in which you’ll be following a different fee structure is when you’re seeking a pet transporter. Pet owners will end up paying:
- $14.99 for shipments under $50
- $19.99 for shipments of $51 to $100
- $29 for shipments of $101 to $160
- $39 for shipments of $161 to $213
- $49 for shipments of $214 to $267
- $59 for shipments of $268 to $320
- $69 for shipments of $321 to $369
- $79 for shipments of $370 to $426
- $89 for shipments of $427 to $475
- $99 for shipments of $476 to $534
- $109 for shipments of $535 to $597
- $119 for shipments of $598 to $659
- $129 for shipments of $660 to $722
- $139 for shipments of $723 to $784
- $149 for shipments of $785 or higher
Paying for Shipping Services
When using CitizenShipper, the platform itself will only require you to pay for your service fee upfront. However, because the company doesn’t facilitate payments between its users, be aware that many drivers will ask you to make a partial or full payment upfront on a third-party platform. This is perfectly normal, as this helps drivers cover the cost of travel.
Still, CitizenShipper recommends using trusted payment methods — such as services offered by credit card companies, PayPal, Venmo, ApplyPay, or Square — that allow you to submit disputes in case any issues arise. Shipping customers should avoid direct money transfers when possible. You’ll also want to double check that your driver is fully verified with good reviews, using their driver profile.
How to Become a CitizenShipper Driver
Much like other peer-to-peer platforms, such as Uber or Postmates, CitizenShipper offers everyday drivers the chance to earn. Sometimes referred to as transporters, CitizenShipper drivers are essentially freelancers who bid on paid shipping opportunities. To figure out if the gig is right for you, read through the driver requirements and application process below.
In order to help shipping customers connect with the most trusted drivers possible, CitizenShipper transporters must:
- Be at least 21 years old
- Have a valid U.S. driver’s license
- Own a vehicle with cargo space (larger vehicles are eligible for more gigs)
- Have proof of vehicle insurance
- Pay a subscription fee of $24.99 per month (with the first three months free)
- Pass a background check
In order to pass the CitizenShipper background check, you cannot have any:
- Felonies in the last five years
- Violent or theft-related felonies in the past 10 years
- DUI arrests in the past five years
- Outstanding warrants for arrest
- Continuous misdemeanor patterns
If you plan to earn through exotic animal or pet transport services, you’ll also have to register with the USDA, upload your proof of registration to the CitizenShipper platform, and own a vehicle with good climate control. Most pet owners will also expect you to have an active, related insurance policy, as well.
Any additional certifications you have — for example, if you’re registered with the Department of Transportation (DOT) as a professional transporter — can be helpful for landing gigs. Registering with the DOT is only required if you’re operating a vehicle that weighs over 10,000 pounds or if you’re crossing state borders for shipments on a full-time basis (including shipments outside of the CitizenShipper platform).
If you meet the requirements listed above and are interested in signing up, you can do so by completing the following step-by-step process:
Head to citizenshipper.com/register and check the types of shipments you’re willing and able to complete. Then, scroll down to enter your first name, last name, email address, and preferred password before tapping “Sign Up Now!”
You’ll automatically be redirected to a page with shipping requests near you. However, before you can bid on any of these, you’ll need to get verified. Tap the settings icon on the upper right corner and select “Settings” to continue.
Tap the “Verifications” tab on the left hand column.
Select “Start Security Check” and follow the prompts to verify your phone number and approve a background check.
If you have a USDA registration, you can head back to your “Verifications” section once you’ve completed this process to get your registration verified by CitizenShipper.
As you’re waiting to get fully verified (this may take a few days), you can explore your settings, edit your profile, and update your shipping preferences.
How Much Money Can I Make as a Driver?
CitizenShipper drivers have a considerable amount of control over their own earnings. You can make bids at whatever price works for you, though many drivers choose to budget 30% to 40% of their bids for expenses. In addition to offering you a sizable profit for your time, each bid should cover:
- Expected gas expenses
- Expected tolls
- Food and accommodations (for long-distance trips)
- A portion of your monthly car insurance, vehicle maintenance, and CitizenShipper subscription expenses
Landing gigs is easier in the beginning if you’re willing to bid lower, but as you start getting great ratings and reviews, you can expect to make an average of $8,000 to $10,000 per month when you complete 15-20 shipments. Once you have some experience, you should be able to make approximately 50 cents per mile — or even up to $5 per mile if you stack multiple shipments in one trip using free tools on the platform.