The slow trickle of new startups offering doorman and package delivery services is a trend we are very much behind, and while Parcel has shut down its individual delivery services, Lower East Side option City CoPilot has recently expanded.
We first covered the service, which bills itself as a "neighborhood front desk," shortly after its October 2014 launch, when it focused on accepting packages ($4.99 per package, or a $14.99/month unlimited option), key exchange (primarily for Airbnb hosts), and luggage storage ($10/day for each). Since then, service has expanded to fit the neighborhood's demands. "People would say, 'Hey, if you're handling this, can you also send someone up to clean my apartment'," co-founder Andrea Friedman told us on a recent visit. On top of that, the company saw an influx of interest after a recent rash of coordinated package theft in the neighborhood.
Since the $14.99/month package also includes free key storage (the next best thing if you don't have a close friend nearby who can hang onto them), City CoPilot can now arrange for apartment deliveries (as opposed to just pick up at their 166 Allen Street storefront), luggage delivery (starting at $39.99), and for a baseline price of $79, arranges for cleaners, as well. They also arrange for airport cabs with pre-vetted services, letting users pay (including tip) through them up front, the idea being to avoid surprise extra fees.
Essentially, they've grown into an all-purpose concierge service for customers, provided you're comfortable with a company 1) holding the keys to your apartment and 2) using them to get into for deliveries and services. To wit: the company's other co-founder, Maggie Barnett, recalled one customer who'd traveled to Chicago before an international trip, and called in a panic asking City CoPilot to use his spare key, get into his apartment, and FedEx his passport—which he'd left behind. ("All copilots have had their backgrounds checked and multiple references," Barnett notes.)
For now, the service is just in the LES with no specific expansion plans—"We plan to bring our front desk approach to as many neighborhoods as possible," Barnett tells us—but we suspect there'd also be demand for this type of service in increasingly well-off Brooklyn neighborhoods that are devoid of doorman buildings. (There are other services like Doorman and Manhattan Mailroom, but not much in the way of options for outer borough residents.)
What do you think—if this were in your neighborhood, would you shell out extra, or would you rather stick to the time honored method of "getting things delivered to the office and schlepping them on the subway"? Or, you could just go with that other, cheaper, NYC protocol: relying on neighbors and good friends to keep an eye on packages and keys (and of course, being expected to return the favor).