Harvie Farms Pittsburgh: we are making delivery fees more transparent

Based on some feedback from members around how we charge for delivery, we are changing the Harvie Farms Pittsburgh fee structure to make the delivery fee more transparent. The total cost you pay for delivery is not changing, but the way we display the fee to you is changing.

In short, until today, we charged $6 as a delivery fee with the remaining $3 taken out of the box value (so a $79 box contained $76 worth of product). After today, you will see a delivery fee of $8.95. In addition, we have increased the box value by $3 (so now a $79 box will have $79 worth of product). 

The whole goal of Harvie is to make your grocery budget more transparent, so you know who produces your food. I’m proud to live our values and make our fees more transparent while continuing to provide the best grocery delivery service in the Pittsburgh area to you.

For more detail, read on!

How this affects you 

Starting with deliveries the week of 12/5, your delivery fee will go from $6 to $8.95. At the same time, we will be increasing the amount of product that goes into your box by $3!  Historically we have charged an extra $3 Harvie charge for our handling of the product and building of the boxes, and we are now removing that and wrapping it into the price of delivery where you can see it and account for it more clearly. You are not paying more for delivery and handling than before, you will just be able to see the full cost of the delivery. 

The Background

When we started Harvie Farms Pittsburgh deliveries in the Winter of 2020 we set the “product value” as $3 less than the actual amount paid. This $3 difference along with your $6 delivery fee, was a full delivery cost of $9. You saw $6 of it in your cart, but there was actually a $9 cost to you.

The $3 product value difference contradicts several of our values:

  • Provide Great Customer Service (the current way of charging delivery fees is confusing!)
  • Maintain open and honest communication (we have obscured the real cost of delivery)
  • Do what we say we say we will do (we strive to be straight shooters at Harvie)

The real cost of a Harvie delivery is $9. For home deliveries, that is the cost of the vehicles and gas, and what it takes to pay our employees a real living wage with benefits. As a part of our commitment to being respectful of the many players in the food system that help get food to your table, we provide our warehouse employees and drivers access to full benefits and employer subsidized health care. We are proud of that. There has been a lot of outcry around the ways in which Instacart, Uber, and others skirt labor laws by hiring drivers and other workers as contractors. That’s not fair. We don’t do that. However, the way we have been doing delivery fees is not transparent. And we’re glad to be changing that today. 

Respectful Pricing 

I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of ‘respectful pricing’ (thanks to this excellent post in the Harvie Facebook Group by one of your fellow Harvie members). Our prices strive to be respectful of our producers ($0.55 of each dollar goes back to the producer vs. $0.14 in the national supply chain), respectful of you as the customer (our prices must be transparent and competitive with other good food options), and also respectful of Harvie’s hardworking staff to get paid the amount it takes to actually run the service. We don’t have the backing of big money behind this project, so we need to be genuinely profitable to stay in business. Today’s change is another important step in achieving ‘respectful pricing’, charging a transparent fee for delivery and being honest about the real cost.

I’m sure I’ll have more thoughts on this as we go forward, but thank all of you for the feedback. We are listening. This is the right thing to do.

Please let us know if you have any questions, thoughts, or concerns about this change. 

Thank you for being a part of this movement to build a more sustainable food system. 

-Simon Huntley, Harvie founder and CEO