"Why can't this be delivered when I'm actually home?" "Doorman" can protect your packages from thieves
CALIFORNIA (CNN) -- It is a growing problem, especially during the holiday season: Thieves swiping packages from doorsteps after they're delivered. A San Francisco tech startup has developed a solution.
You've likely seen the surveillance video showing strangers walking up to doors -- making off with merchandise. It's a crime we see a lot during the holiday season. All those packages left on doorsteps become huge gifts for thieves.
The root of the problem is simple, really. The post office and the shipping carriers mainly deliver during the day -- a time when most people are supposed to be at work.
This led Zander Adell to found the startup "Doorman."
"I always felt like I was being punished by current delivery system for having a full-time job. And the question was 'why can't this be delivered when I'm actually home?'" Adell said.
Here's how it works: Instead of shipping your package to your home address, you have the retailer ship the package to them.
"Once it arrives, we notify you on your phone and then you use the Doorman app to schedule a delivery on your phone -- until midnight, seven days a week," Adell said.
Drivers hand off the package in person, and you sign for it on a smartphone. It's $4 a package or $20 a month.
"Presumably that eliminates virtually all the risk of theft," TechCrunch writer Anthony Ha said.
Ha says Doorman is the boldest attempt to solve what's called the last mile of online shopping.
Amazon and startup "Swapbox" have opened lockers in public places where you can pick up your shipment -- but going straight to your door is a much tougher business, and others have failed.
Mail collection service "Outbox" closed earlier this year, and recently, shopping valet "Sixdoors" also announced it is shutting down.
"You've got to have a big workforce of delivery people, and so I think that that's very ambitious, that's very tough," Ha said.
Doorman, just like Uber, isn't hiring full-time. Instead, they're using contractors who drive in their spare time.
"They may have day jobs, but this is an opportunity for them to make extra cash during holidays or other times," Doorman co-founder Kapil Israni said.
For now, Doorman operates only in San Francisco.
CLICK HERE to learn more about Doorman.