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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 08-13-07, 04:43 PM   #1
greywave
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want/need messenger job in Chicago...help?

My financial aid money through school only covers tuition, not living expenses. I ride ~11 miles FG each way on Tu/Th for school, so I figure that riding M/W/F (and Sat?) as a messenger is a sensible job choice.

I took the paper test @ Arrow today, and felt much better about numbered street boundaries (Foster = 5200N, etc) than named locations downtown. Been in the city about 5.5 years, solid sense of direction, smart enough to ask for help when I need it.

Arrow was one of only two ads that I saw for messengers, and I am genuinely wondering how I can get my foot in the door anywhere and hopefully make about $50 a day. I am willing to ride all winter if the income is stable. The hardest part right now is asking if anyone wants to stick their neck out for me a bit and help me find a job.

I am receiving a new/used rear wheel tomorrow, so I have an emergency backup if things hit the fan...have a sturdy bag, helmet, reflectors, and hand brakes.

Does anyone have some useful advice for me?
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Old 08-13-07, 04:50 PM   #2
popluhv
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Um, I actually bring a map to cheat on messenger tests. (you'll want to have a map anyway; laminated) CMS is always hiring, if you haven't tried them yet.

For all-day winter riding, I used to use plastic bags on my feet W/mesh cycling shoes. Good luck.
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Old 08-13-07, 04:56 PM   #3
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Here in DC the money is made in the winter months not in summer. Get to know the streets inside and out..i.e. allies, parks , ect so you can get from point A to point B with the least amount of effort. Get to know the buildings and where you may have to pick up and drop off at. i.e. front desk, secretary, mailroom, ect. Get to know the companies main clients so you can get the package out of their face ASAP. Main thing you don't want is to be the reason the company loses a 10-20 per day client. Always carry tools, pump and extra tube(s). Eat well at the end of the day to restore the carbs you burn. Believe me you'll notice it if you don't constantly refuel during the day and you'll know the next day if you decide to go to the bar drink beer and eat chips after work.To each his own but I NEVER consumed anything that could/would alter my senses in any way when working. Here in DC you need to be ALERT especially with cabs and rush hour. If not you WILL get hit. Getting hit....it's not if it happens it's when it happens. Stay alert to keep that when has minimal as possible.
Have fun and remember there only a handful out there that are hardcore vets. Most couriers don't last 2 weeks. Some a year or 2. Then a small majority that make a career out of it. Watch them and learn if you plan to do this a while.
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Old 08-13-07, 04:57 PM   #4
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I dont think you make money anywhere in the summer. atleast I dont.
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Old 08-14-07, 03:36 AM   #5
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$50 bucks a day? Try to find a Potbellys thats hiring, really.
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Old 08-14-07, 01:29 PM   #6
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$50 bucks a day? Try to find a Potbellys thats hiring, really.
I agree. If you can forgive my paternal air here...you might wanna think about this going to school thing. I loved being a msgr but it makes you tired man, really tired. I know it's a day job for a lot of folk on here and perhaps they can advise you better but I really think it can take over other pursuits. I just wanted to go home, eat, clean my bike (well, I didn't want to clean my bike), and go to bed. I didn't get crap done the years I was a msgr (but yes, I loved it). Unless you're really disciplined (I'm not, obviously), there are better money options out there that let you concentrate on school. Especially if all you need is 50/day. Not as fun, I know, but there are even jobs where you can get paid to study. Ride next summer with one of the biggies. Ride for potbellies for now. But really consider getting an indoor admin job. Obviously, if you're a young artist or something and wanna try the life--that may be a different consideration.

For what it's worth, Arrow used to be (and, for all I know, probably still is) pretty fair (comparitively) with its folk. They didn't play the independent contractor scam, you were an employee, and you were eligible for vacation and holiday pay. Had to wear that uniform, though. They were stricter on choosing new hires than CMS. I started with CMS and moved to a small company as soon as I could--there were too many msgrs at CMS, you couldn't even get air time (but you could/can get hired and get experience). IMO, it's funner to work for one of the small companies but Arrow's a great place to start. Friends from small companies actually went back to Arrow for the stability.

Also, I agree, absolutely use a map for the tests--unless they forbid it--you'll have one while you work.
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Old 08-14-07, 02:40 PM   #7
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Do not work at CMS, that company is awful. Another company that is pretty much always hiring is Standard... look them up and move up from there if you really want to msngr.

I second the potbelly's suggestion. Its typically good money and you still get to be on your bike. I know a lot of messengers that have gone from messengering to potbelly's because the money is good and the hours are much better.
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Old 08-14-07, 03:10 PM   #8
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I second the potbelly's suggestion. Its typically good money and you still get to be on your bike. I know a lot of messengers that have gone from messengering to potbelly's because the money is good and the hours are much better.

Yeah, Potbelly's is a nice sweet spot. I sat in on a conversation between two buddies recently, one works for what some would call the most desirable mess co's and the other for Potbelly's. They made exactly the same pay, sometimes more at Potbelly's, and the hours were shorter. They only bad part is they want you to work behind the counter during your down time but you can come up with creative ways to limit that. It gets tricky when you realize that you will be cutting into someone else's money. If you dont know someone there before working then you may not get the job or you will start off with a slight enemy.

I dont know what school you go to but have you looked for jobs on campus? I did that for 3 years and its basically free money to just study on their time, seriously. Some nice places to start are the library, admissions office, and the gym. That will also enable you to be on your bike riding because you want to, not because you have to.
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Old 08-14-07, 03:55 PM   #9
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[QUOTE=Tristan035;5067446]Do not work at CMS, that company is awful. ...

Yeah, you're right--start someplace else if at all possible. But I will say this--I busted up a foot there and w/ workman's comp they were supportive, proactive and hassle-free. I know that's the law, but not all follow it.
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Old 08-14-07, 05:49 PM   #10
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I dont know what school you go to but have you looked for jobs on campus? I did that for 3 years and its basically free money to just study on their time, seriously. Some nice places to start are the library, admissions office, and the gym. That will also enable you to be on your bike riding because you want to, not because you have to.
I second that. My life got much easier when I started working on campus. I spent less time traveling to and from campus and they worked around my class schedule so I could work and hour here and two hours there. Campus jobs don't pay as well, but you can fit more hours into your schedule and the work is pretty much cake. I didn't have much time to study, but I liked what I was doing (math tutor). If you got a info desk job, you'd be in even better shape.

Ride at work, study in free time VS study at work, ride (or whatever) in free time? Seems like a no brainer, get a mess job when you graduate and decide you don't like what you majored in.
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Old 08-14-07, 06:21 PM   #11
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I think delvering food is a better gig. Hourly wage and tips and free food.
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