As delivery services have become more popular in the pandemic, porch package thefts have become a plague. Over the last summer, sales through Amazon and similar companies surpassed 2019 holiday numbers, and 2020 holiday sales numbers are expected to increase even more. According to statistics from the Denver Police Department, package theft rates are higher than past years and thefts are one of the most unreported crimes as well, meaning the actual economic impact is much higher than reports indicate. Police District 1, which encompasses NW Denver, has the 2nd highest incidents of package theft in the city: 218 reported instances. According to the Denver Police Department, 10 arrests were made in District 1.
Jack Bonneau is 14 years old and is hoping to reverse this trend with a new business that reduces the risk of porch thefts. Teen Hustl first launched in Broomfield, where he lives, and now he’s picked NW Denver to expand for the holiday season. Teen Hustl is a last mile delivery service which will deliver packages at more specific times than standard delivery. For example, you can order a package through Amazon, have it shipped to an Amazon locker in the area, and Bonneau’s team of high school students will pick up that package and do a contactless delivery to your home at a time you specify. In this model, packages aren’t left on porches for hours.
“There’s so many teenagers who want job experience and to make money,” explained Bonneau, who thinks of the job like a modern day paper route. Jack and his father Steve Bonneau, who supports Jack’s business, believe the business model is a win-win for everyone. In a recent interview with The Denver North Star, they said they believe residents are inclined to use a service that hires local teens. Those teens, in turn, are part-time employees, not independent contractors, which often means more money in their pockets. Safety of the Teen Hustlrs is also important to the Bonneaus. Most deliverers will be using bicycles. “We equip a GoPro camera” on their helmets, Jack explained. They also have ID badges with a panic button in case of emergency.
At age 14, this is already Jack Bonneau’s 2nd business. Several years ago he appeared on the TV show Shark Tank after his lemonade stands at farmers markets earned him over $900. He started that business after wanting a $400 Lego set; his father and he worked out a plan to earn the money, starting his entrepreneurial spirit.
Jack decided to pick NW Denver as Teen Hustl’s new location after talking with former Community Resource Officer (and Denver North Star contributor) Bob Anderson. Michelle Cooper, who is also a community resource officer for Denver Police in District 1 (NW Denver), said while the police department doesn’t endorse private businesses, she thought it was a great business concept and DPD will be following them to see if there’s a reduction in porch thefts.
Jack is planning on starting with a free trial period in NW Denver (donations and tips are of course accepted) and hopes the business will grow. “We want to focus on Amazon package delivery first,” said Bonneau, explaining they are exploring expanding to food delivery, grocery delivery, and other services if North Denver residents find the service useful.
To read more about Teen Hustl, sign up for services, or apply to be a Teen Hustlr, please visit https://www.teenhustl.com/direct-package-delivery