Mark: Hi, it's Mark from TLR. I'm here with Mark Huggan, owner of Phantom Couriers in Vancouver, Vancouver's best courier service, one of the fastest growing companies in the nation. And of course, the main reason why you want to have your life be a little bit easier because they solve a ton of really hard problems. We're going to talk about that today. The core reasons why you would use a courier. Hey Mark, how you doing?
Mark H: Doing good. Thanks. How are you?
Mark: Good. So I know you guys do a lot of different stuff. Like the hard things, like address changes, customs. Why would somebody want to use a courier? What's the kind of core reasons that you see?
Mark H: Well, first outsourcing it to, if one person from a company is calling a courier to say, go down to Seattle. If there's a problem, there's three people here that can work on it instead of just that one. And we have a better direct line and a better understanding of the problem. Like a lot of times people see, you know, exception, and it's in bright red font on tracking.
And they're like, Oh oh, where do you even start? So since everybody here is well versed in where to start and how to get it done efficiently, they just take the bull by the horns and usually get it done a lot faster. It's an easier way to do it because we understand what the problem really is. And then we can cut to the chase and get her done fast. So it's usually a simple thing, but it doesn't seem simple if you've never done it before.
Mark: So basically, shipping stuff from one place to another seems like an easy process, but there's a million ways to do it. There's a million ways for it to go wrong. And then there's a million ways to try and solve it basically. And you guys, that's all you do all day.
Mark H: Yeah, just a major problem solving company. That's what we do is solve problems for people. I mean, they call us because they want to get something done. They couldn't do themselves. So that's a problem. Can't get it done. How do you do it? They outsource it to us.
And then a lot of things are just regular things we've done a million times. So we have a procedure for it. And other things are, you get the phone call, do you do this? And when that happens, we know there's not enough information. So we have to gather more information, you know, check all the boxes and then move forward.
A lot of times there's just a framework of information to get the job done. And then we got to dig deeper and get it all so it will happen. Because there's all sorts of things. There's a million things. It's incredible. You can't even begin to think of them.
Mark: Yeah. So let's take an example. Like I have a company I've got 50 employees. They're all distributed all over the place now because everybody's working from home and I need to get something, a specific package to them and they're right across the country, or even in separate countries, how would you help with doing that? What's the kind of steps of all the pieces that would make my life a little bit easier so that I know that those packages are being delivered and that they're arriving to the right person at the right time.
Mark H: Yeah, well, first we consolidate them all in what we call a bulk, say that would be a bulk order. And then we make sure all the information is there as much information as possible.
Say there were some missing critical information, like no phone number. So the first batch would be sent and prepped and ready to go. Well, we're starting to follow up and like, well, we can't deliver without a phone number during COVID. Especially to a residential tower. So we have to start putting all those pieces in and then as things get delivered, we find out, Oh, this is a January, 2021 list.
And Sam moved in with Sally or Sally moved in with Sam or Sam moved in with Mike and, you know, phone numbers changed. So we're like, Oh, we have to constantly update the global address book for the customers and get it there. And then once we find out the right number, we're going to contact them with it's like, Hey, this was missed. You've moved. Here's the new information we've got, confirm it. What's a good time to meet. Because it's important that if, if it was a, like a staff incentive thing or a project or working on it, they need to be on the same page on the same time. So usually we've got a day to figure that stuff out before, you know, you're sitting there with no package in front of you on a big zoom meeting and you're behind schedule.
So we don't like that for our employees or our sorry, their employees. It's a lot of work. It happens constantly.
Mark: So that's consolidating invoicing, that simplifying the accounting, rather than them having to ship 50 or me having to ship 50 packages and track every one of them, you guys are proactively tracking all of them.
You're handling all the address changes and corrections and follow ups that need to happen. You're dealing with all the customs and duty charges, all that import exports stuff.
Mark H: Yep, totally. We take care of duty, export duty from here before we ship. So say you were sending down like a pair of running shoes, for instance. So we know the value, when it goes to cross the border, we put the value in, you know, what it is exactly and get it right. Otherwise it goes to customs, it'll stop. And then they start contacting us and then they only contact us with exception. So we need to know what we're doing first and documents don't need it, but any commodity items do, even if it's a gift.
So there's like related parties. If there's a related party and it's on a return, say it was a piece of equipment going from you to another person in your company. If it was related the duties and taxes get waived. There's gifts, there's permanent export, unrelated parties. There's all sorts of little reasons to pay attention to that.
Mark: Anything else? Like, I know you have a million stories about, of the kind of things that you've done. Is there something recently where you've done all this and had to like, give us another example of, of doing this.
Mark H: Well, we just did a big bulk shipment and everything across Canada and then there's Prince Edward Island, right. So the expected thing is like, well, it's just Canada, but Prince Edward Island, like the Sunshine Coast here, it doesn't get regular shipping. So you gotta be on top of that. So when the customer calls in the orders, you got to take an overview of them all and let them know, Oh, you've got some Prince Edward Island and say, Newfoundland. They're totally different places to get to. So the ferries go over like Monday, Wednesday, Friday. There's no, like they don't fly a lot of stuff into it. Cause it would fly into like somewhere on the mainland and then be put onto a like a transport truck and then it gets into that cycle. So you've got to let them know in advance because there might be some proactive step the person can take in the forefront to make sure they've got enough going on.
Like maybe, I don't know what they're going to have to do something with digital technology, but if they had to have any hard asset parts, they have to know that in advance. So once they're educated on that, the next rollout they've got, it goes more seamlessly. So it's like anything you do, you know, you take apart your kitchen sink, you put it back together it's difficult. The next time you do it a little bit easier, you get faster.
And so from our side and our customer side, we work together, meet in the middle and then the next big bulk thing that goes out, they're prepared a little earlier for those outlying areas, which they weren't aware of before. You know, we never know what we don't know until we find out about it. So like to work like that, because if you don't, you're just ending up with the same hot potato two weeks from now and the same problems, and that's kind of ridiculous.
Mark: And you guys, you deal with everything from in-town, bicycle courier fleet, essentially, which could be picking up checks at the bank or making a deposit at the bank, all kinds of things like that, to a package delivery across Vancouver itself but also then major international shipping. So it's a massive amount of territory that you cover as far as delivering stuff to other places.
Mark H: Yeah. And it all started out so simple. It's the same thing. The same thing as the very first package, when that person jumped in front of me, I said, can you do this?
People need to get things done. They don't know how to get it done. They need it done yesterday. And so it's just the process of understanding the problem and getting it, like step one through 10, make sure it gets done.
You know, even like a simple check certification gets complicated because you know, the customer calls us like what's taking so long, we're at the bank. Well, how long are you going to be? It's like, you know, call the bank, you know, we gotta figure that stuff out. So once we let customers know, like what's going on and what stage of the delivery it's in, it's easier to explain than just like the clock is ticking and the process is happening, right?
It's like, if you're in better touch with them, everybody can calm down because they understand the mechanics of it. So it's a good parts, just all communicate. That's what people do all day. Me and you communicate, people communicate through courier. That's just our basic human thing. We're just a tool for communicating between one party to another.
And so if it gets lost in the translation, if the courier, doesn't do it properly. Then the end result is not understood properly. So we've got to just stay tight and make sure we know what we're doing when we're communicating for customers, because we're just an extension of their office to whoever they're needing to communicate with because everything's built communication.
Mark: So how long has the company been operating?
Mark H: Since 1996.
Mark: So 24 years. I got that right. 25 years. Yeah, basically. Yeah. Twenty five years of constant improvement, making your processes and systems better and better and better because you've had to deal with, as you expand and expand all these different issues and you want it smooth, you want it solvable, basically.
Mark H: Yeah, well there's going to be an issue today that we've never heard of believing it'll pop up. Like that's sort of like the other day, but it's completely different. So every day is the same yet very different, which makes it exciting. It's not ever what you think.
Mark: Look, if you want to get your packages delivered, you got a problem that you need to solve. That has something to do with getting something from one place to another. The guys to call in Vancouver are Phantom Couriers. You can reach them at (604) 899-5447 or anywhere in BC. Alberta, Ontario, +1 844-899-5447. They'll get you looked after and they'll get that package delivered or your freight or whatever it is you need. That's right. Give them a call, they'll solve it for you. Up the bridges. They've delivered bridges.
Mark H: That's right. A hundred percent.
Mark: Thanks Mark.
Mark H: Right on dude