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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 12-19-05, 08:50 PM   #1
iamjberube
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NYC messengers input

looking for some info. i've lived here for a couple of years now but don't really know much about messengering. my brother wants to move here from portland, and was thinking about doing it. he's seen lots of ads on craig's list for messengers, i suppose because it's winter time. for those of you who know, here are some questions to help him out. thanks.
1. what's the money like, on average? he's a fearless young lad with legs of steel, so fitness won't be a problem.
2. is it hard to get full-time work right away? that is, is there always work if one wants to do it?
3. finally, any recommendations as far as companies that are awful/fantastic?

thanks everybody.
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Old 12-19-05, 09:19 PM   #2
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those ads on craigslist are for breakaway. they will hire anyone, any time of year. but during the winter they are especially hard up, and eager to hire.

the way it works is you call them up, they tell you when to come in for training (usually the soonest monday or thursday morning). they give you a little talk and a test, you fill out the forms, and you start work that day. (this is all for breakaway, btw)

despite their lax hiring policies, they are actually a very good company to work for. they actually pay workers comp for accidents, and they even have (mediocre) 401k and health for full-timers.

the pays not great. he should PLAN to make $400 a week, which isn't easy to live on here. once he's been doing it for a while, he may make considerably more, say $500, $600, even $700 some weeks. all pay is by commission, between 40-50% of the cost of a job he gets to keep. if it's busy, he might make 30 runs a day, at $4 take-home pay per run. if it's real slow, he could make as few as 10-15 runs in a day. those days are no fun. for the amount of work involved, the pay is literally criminal. wages for messengers have been virtually stagnant since the 80s. he had better be planning on living in an outer-borough share.

fitness doesn't really factor in that much. contrary to what many people think, biking fast is a very minor part of the job. mostly it's about planning routes efficiently and being agile in traffic. plenty of young whippersnappers such as myself find the phsyical toil of a hard, grinding 10-hour days work more daunting than riding real fast would be. on the other hand, there are a bunch of grizzled old-timers out there who don't have any trouble staying in the game. legs of steel are fine and dandy, but the real test is how easily he can wake up at 8:30 in the morning after 4 days of 10 hours on the street.

hope this helps.
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Old 12-19-05, 09:23 PM   #3
iamjberube
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yeah, thanks. i know what you mean about 400 a week not being easy to live on . i think he's more concerned about making the money on a regular basis and being able to budget at least a little bit.

anyone else? ceya, are you locked out right now or what?
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Old 12-19-05, 10:16 PM   #4
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This faq list from the nybma is helpful, so is the input that Boots provided.
http://www.nybma.com/faq/faq_index.htm
As was alluded to, the companies who are constantly hiring more than likely fall into the "awful" category unless they are corporate behemoths like Breakaway.
which company is best?? http://www.nybma.com/faq/question4.htm
Tell your brother to make sure he's making $4 and up per delivery, at the very least.
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