Madam Mary Ho has made about $100 just by being at home since she signed up as a "parker" in January.
The 64-year-old housewife's Housing Board flat in Hougang is one of about 40 residential collection points under local start-up Park N Parcel that online shoppers can use to avoid missed deliveries at home.
"Parkers", which also include 60 commercial collection points such as retail stores, minimarts and cafes, are paid $1 for each parcel delivered to their address. For a $2.50 fee, shoppers can choose from a list of locations and collection hours on Park N Parcel's website.
Co-founder Erik Cheong, who quit his job as a stockbroker last year to start the company, said the idea came from his girlfriend, who had her online purchases delivered to the home of her aunt, who lives three blocks away.
"I would miss deliveries because of my busy work schedule, but she (his girlfriend) didn't have that problem. So I thought there are retirees, students and home business owners that can do parcel collection for passive income," said Mr Cheong, 28.
Madam Ho receives between 30 and 50 parcels a month.
The service, which was launched in January and has had about 500 users, aims to triple its number of collection points to 300 by year end. "Our goal is to have two to three per block, so you can pick up (parcels) from as close as your next-door neighbour's (home)," he said.
Park N Parcel conducts basic screening of residential parkers, and users also can leave reviews of parkers on the website.
It is one of several players in the logistics industry that have turned to self-collection solutions for parcels in the growing e-commerce marketplace. Most of these solutions involve self-collection lockers, such as SingPost's POPStations, which have grown to a network of 143 locations since 2013.
Items from more than 10 partner merchants, including Taobao, Uniqlo and Zalora, can be delivered to a selected POPStation at no extra charge.
Missed SingPost deliveries can be collected from nearby POPStations, where the collection rate is more than 99 per cent, said SingPost.
Local logistics start-up blu, which provides end-to-end services for retailers such as warehousing, order and inventory management, automated fulfilment, and last-mile delivery, launched its bluPort parcel terminals last October. There are 41 of these terminals, offering same-day self-collection for purchases from local retailers within its network.
"The potential for home-grown e-commerce is huge, but it has remained largely untapped due to the persistent and costly fragmentation in the supply chain," said blu's founder Prashant Dadlani.
Logistics firm Ninja Van launched Ninja Collect, a network of about 20 lockers and 100 commercial collection points for its deliveries in 2015, and aims to double these by the end of the year.
Self-collection helps to make deliveries more efficient as volumes are consolidated, it said.
The firms said they are supportive of the planned nationwide locker system announced last year, which will maintain competition while ensuring the inter-operability of lockers by different market players.
Discussions on the model to be adopted are ongoing, according to the Infocomm Media Development Authority, which is the lead agency for the project.
Human resources executive Joy Tan, who picked up a parcel from Park N Parcel's Madam Ho last week, said it reduced the hassle of missed deliveries and long waits at the post office.
Said the 28-year-old: "It's a lot more convenient, as I can pick it up after work or at the weekend."
Parcel pick-up solutions
PARK N PARCEL
Pick from 100 delivery addresses, and add the generated code to your shipping name during checkout on e-commerce sites for a pick-up reference.
Get deliveries from retail or logistics partners like DHL sent to one of 41 locations, including Cheers convenience stores and malls.
Select one of 143 locations while checking out on partner merchant websites or rent a locker for pick-ups.
Opt for delivery pick-ups at one of 20 lockers and 100 retail locations like Guardian or Home-Fix outlets.
Written by Tiffany Fumiko Tay for The Straits Times