In early 2021, Gil Consuegra was searching for a new opportunity as a delivery driver in the gig economy. Previously, he drove for an Amazon delivery partner during the height of the pandemic. The bonus he had received as a frontline worker ended, but his “extreme workload” continued as a result of heightened e-commerce demand. There had to be a better way, he thought.
A Bronx native and father of three, Gil believes in working hard to improve his upside. He’s worked extensively in different areas of retail and is an entrepreneur himself. When he discovered Trellus same-day delivery and local marketplace, Gil recognized an opportunity to become part of an exciting new service for small businesses in his community.
After quickly proving himself on the road, Gil was promoted to Network Manager for Trellus drivers. Trellus has even become a family affair with his fiancee, Jessica, joining the team as a local driver.
We caught up with Gil in our Long Beach office to learn more about his background, his experiences with Trellus so far, and his new role.
Gil, tell us more about yourself. Where are you from and what’s your background?
I’m originally from the Bronx, but moved out to Hempstead. I’m the father of three kids, ages 21, 12, and 9. I’ve worked since I’m 17 years old and have an extensive retail background, at least 15 years, in various operations, including customer service and shipping-and-receiving. I’ve worked for a lot of high-end retailers, including Burberry, Gucci, and Prada. I worked for Sephora, Banana Republic, and GAP, as well as for Adidas Originals and BCBG. I also own a farming business in the Dominican Republic!
That’s so interesting! What do you grow on your farm, and what are your plans for it?
We grow plantain, bananas, yucca, and calabaza. Sales are in pesos, so with the exchange rate, the income potential is limited right now. But it’s still my own business, and I plan to export to the U.S. There are a lot of licenses and paperwork, and there’s still money I have to invest into the farm before I get to that point.
Before Trellus, did you have prior experience as a driver?
Yes, right before Trellus, I worked as a driver for Amazon, for one of the delivery companies at their warehouse, for about a year and a half. But that fell through, and I didn’t really like it.
Why didn’t you like driving for an Amazon delivery partner?
I would start my day off at 7 a.m. and head over to the warehouse. They would only give me 15 minutes to load my truck and I would get at least 400 packages and about 200 stops. When I started, they offered a pandemic bonus, but that eventually stopped, and I couldn’t continue because the pay wasn’t enough and the workload was extreme. We were working 12-hour shifts every day, and sometimes I’d work 15 days straight without a day off.
The management would hover over us and the trucks were horrible, especially in the summer — some didn’t have air conditioning and others had windows that didn’t roll down. I wasn’t really interacting with anyone during my shift. I felt like a robot, and like the managers didn’t care. I also saw high weekly turnover with the staff because other drivers would burn out.
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How did you find out about Trellus, and why did it appeal to you?
I found out about Trellus through a posting on Indeed.com. I was looking for a driving job because at this point I was used to the routine of Amazon. But this was also in the middle of the pandemic and I wanted something more ‘calm and collected.’ The idea of having autonomy in my own vehicle and staying socially distant in my work environment appealed to me. I got in touch with [Trellus co-founder] Brian, and after learning about the company, I wanted to give it a shot. I learned I could work a “normal” shift of 8 hours, and could earn more than what I was making with Amazon.
How is the pay structure of Trellus better for you as a delivery driver?
Trellus drivers make 80% of the delivery cost, which is amazing. When it’s really busy, I’ve made $400 or $500 in one day, whereas you’d have to work about 40 hours for Amazon in order to make that. Also, if you’re able to commit to a half-day or full-day shift, you can earn base pay to help cover expenses, like gas. No other delivery service does that for drivers, from Uber to DoorDash. On a really busy day, you can make some good money driving for Trellus!
What’s a “day in the life” with Trellus like?
Rather than starting at 7 a.m., I start my day at 9 a.m. Right now, during the height of the day, three or four drivers will be on shift covering each other. Sometimes when it’s a busy day, we’ll be driving all over Long Island and into Queens, but you get compensated well for longer trips. The work stress is very minimal compared to another driving job like Amazon, and the clientele base for Trellus is very high-end. It all depends on the day, but I’ve made $100 in tips in one day. Merchants we deal with have also tipped me. They appreciate the service we give them. I try to be very cordial and polite, and show them that we care about the product we deliver.
What have you been delivering most lately?
Everyday we get at least 20 deliveries for flowers. We’re also delivering marketing materials for Men on the Move [Woodbury], and liquor deliveries with Bottle Values [Bethpage]. We’re also seeing a lot of merchants ramp up chocolate deliveries with the holidays approaching. On some days, we’re also doing library routes. The library patrons love that they can just stay home and order their book. It gets delivered to their door and also picked up — it doesn’t get any better!
What are your favorite aspects of delivering with Trellus?
First, I would say it’s low-pressure and you have freedom and flexibility, as long as you do your job right and your customer service is on point. Secondly, it’s the team. You have the support you need and if you get really busy, you can call them and they’ll try to figure it out with you. I also like that the co-founders are willing to pitch in with driving if needed, while also running the company. It shows that they’re with you, and that they understand that you might need some help when you get super busy.
You’ve also been promoted and given more responsibilities at Trellus. Tell us more about that.
I’m now working as a Network Manager and helping with hiring and training new drivers. While I still drive, there are some days where I’ll just focus on dispatching and communicating with the drivers.
Have you ever shared feedback with the team about what could be better for drivers? How were your suggestions received?
The Trellus co-founders are always open to suggestions. They always want to know how they can improve and what drivers need, and they also ask if there’s any real-time feedback from merchants. In return, they keep me in the loop about things they’re working on to improve the platform.
Is Trellus accepting driver applications?
Yes, we are! We know we’re going to get a big kick in deliveries for the holidays, and it’s going to be very busy. So we’re just trying to get drivers on board and see how they fit in. We’re getting applicants of different ages and from different geographies. One driver just started with us, and I put 15 deliveries on him — he banged them out. He liked it so much he said he was leaving Uber!
If you want to get into a delivery service, Trellus is the one. This is it, as far as compensation as well as work environment. I’d say the stress level for drivers is 10 times more when they work for some of the bigger delivery companies, like UPS and FedEx. Trellus is an exciting startup environment, the management is hands-on, the communication is on cue all the time. I’d say, ‘Why wouldn’t you want to work for Trellus?’