One of the most important things you'll need to understand as a driver is how the payment system works.
First and foremost - CitizenShipper does not mediate your transactions. We simply serve as the match-maker, connecting you with the client. Therefore, it's important that you agree on your payment expectations with the customer before pickup.
Many drivers simply request COD (Cash on Delivery), which sees the customer pay them upon successful delivery of the shipment. Some drivers negotiate a portion of the payment upfront, which helps them cover the gas costs en route and reduces the risk of cancelation.
We typically advise customers against paying upfront, to avoid scammers taking advantage of them and not delivering on their end of the bargain. In these rare cases, money upfront is requested in the form of non-retrievable transfers (Western Union or MoneyGram, for example).
If you do request cash upfront, we strongly recommend that you offer the customer a payment method that is retrievable, ie allows chargebacks. Examples include credit card payments or PayPal, both of which the customer can dispute if things do not go according to plan. We also require that you inform the customer of your payment requirements before they accept your bid and enter into a contract with you.
Cash or check is a common, easy way to get paid. However, if you offer the option of paying by PayPal or credit card, the process is made simpler and easier for the customer. This can be the difference between you winning the job vs the customer selecting somebody else.
There are a number of simple options out there for accepting credit card payments. Square.com, for example, will send you a small credit card reader that attaches to your smartphone. This allows you to quickly and easily process credit cards.
The service fee
CitizenShipper charges the customer a small fee, prior to them being able to accept you for the job. We do not take this fee out of your bid. What you bid, you get paid! Our fee works on a sliding scale - it's added to your bid and paid by the customer as soon as they book you for a job.
For example, let's say you bid $500 on a dog shipment that's 800 miles long, and win that shipment. Our service fee is determined by mileage in this case, and it would be $129, which the customer is charged as soon as they click "Book driver". The customer would still owe you the full $500, as per your bid. For more information on our fee structure based on shipment category, visit our help center quick start guide.
A problem that many drivers have run into, late cancellations occur when a customer cancels on you once you're already on the road. Having invested time and money into the trip, you can end up taking a considerable hit because of their change of plans.
There are several possible ways of compensating for this setback. Some drivers ask for money upfront, a deposit providing partial coverage in case the shipment ends up canceled. Others choose to rely on our cancellation policy, which makes customers liable if they cancel within 72 hours of pick-up time.
If you need to contact the shipper and demand payment of the cancellation fee, feel free to use the letter template provided in the attachment below.
What to read next
For more general-purpose advice, see the Transporters section of our Help Center.