Soft Opening Shipping Centre and a New 3 Ton Delivery Truck

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. I'm here with Mark Huggan, Phantom Couriers in Vancouver. One of the 100 fastest growing companies in the province of BC, expanding right across the country of Canada. New locations in the Nanaimo - they're all over the place, but they also have a downtown business centre at 329 Howe Street that is open for service right now.  So if you want after-hour pickups or deliveries or secure deliveries, you're not at home, you want to get it there. Check out that 329 Howe street, downtown Vancouver, right in the central business district. And we're talking with the owner, Mr. Mark Huggan. How you doing Mark? 

Mark H: Doing great today. How are you? 

Mark: Good. So. You guys have something new cooked up again? What's going on? 

Mark H: You mean the shipping centre? 

Mark: Your truck? 

Mark H: Oh, that! Oh, thank you for telling me, but about truck! That's right. We've got a new, beautiful three ton Hino, which is perfect for dock to dock pallets. It's a competitive business, so we're $55 bucks a pallet in the lower mainland. Competitive pricing, excellent service, plus  it's under the Phantom standard operating procedures, so: it won't be late, they'll be loaded properly, and unloaded at the same time. We're glad to have that freight fleet. 

Freight is very busy. A lot of people think we're just bike messengers, but we do  local freight. We move everything from complicated standup desks to pallets of paper, couches, all sorts of jazz. Whatever needs to be done from any manufacturer, we're able to pick it up and deliver it. 

It's a beautiful truck. It's got a nice 24 foot box and it's black, so I like that. Nice and shiny. The guy who drives it, Burke, is an excellent operator. He's a fast, efficient, smart, courteous dude who gets the work done properly and on time. 

Mark:  That's fantastic news, I think for people. That's going to mean on-time deliveries of their major loads of stuff. What's going on with the downtown retail location? Why did you guys open that? 

Mark H: Well, we opened it up because we saw  lineups up the street at the DHL store at eight at night. And I was like, "look, if somebody is looking to ship at eight at night and they're walking down to DHL, we might as well get a piece of that pie." 

So we opened it up on Howe street, just a block away, and we're looking to get a business to us, you know, it's just a natural way to expand. Plus it's got an excellent franchise model. Once the systems and procedures are in place, we know  what fits in this space. We can start putting them up, New Westminster would be a great place to be centred in the Lower Mainland. Put one into Langley, would be a lot easier. 

Our drivers could then go to these hubs and pick up and drop off... make things faster. We could have way faster service. Say there's drivers coming in from Langley, but they only need one driver to bring 10 packages into Vancouver. He would go to the Langley Depot, pick up, bring it to Vancouver, put the Depot, bikers would take it. Done. It's basically automating the delivery system. I see it as being an excellent stepping stone for expansion. It's a good flagship thing to have, it's a good place for people to go and ask questions. The staff is knowledgeable. They can see what we're all about.

We have our international shipping out of it. So shipping to London, Ontario, or London, England, just as easy as going to Walnut Grove or Victoria. They're excellent little hubs that we're going to be building up. Once we get the entire concept down after about a year, we're going to iron out all the wrinkles, then we're going to scale that thing across the province, put them everywhere. It'll be fun. 

Mark: What are the operating hours of that location? 

Mark H: Right now, we planned on opening eight to eight, but as we're getting our systems and things going, it's just going from eight till five right now. We have our last pickups between three and five. We haven't got our advertising in place, our Google pages or business, all that stuff. So right now it's just a soft opening, working out the kinks we're just going through now, which is why you have a soft opening. Once we get that rocking, it's going to be eight to eight and that'd be excellent.

Mark: What about on the weekends? 

Mark H: It'll be from 10 till 2. There's not a lot going on after two o'clock. I hope everybody's just taking it easy on the weekends, but there's somebody there to answer questions, make appointments. If there's a time after two to make an appointment, it'd be easy to meet up with them. The amount of business volume and weekends traditionally 10-2 keeps us busy. After two, go home and enjoy the day.

Mark: Who would typically use this in the downtown core in Vancouver? 

Mark H:Well, it's funny. We just had somebody walk in from a law firm, came walking in from 409 Granville. They could have phoned, the company would have came, picked it up, but they didn't do that. They just saw it and they walked in and they had us ship out 14 bottles of wine just to their partners, they were just doing a little gift thing. A 3D photographer walked in, she needed camera equipment shipped out. The HVAC guy used us because while he was in the office, standing on his ladder, he had to get an emission gun and he looks down to Dion and it's like, "Hey, can you guys do this?" "Yeah, we can do that." So he didn't have to get off his ladder, jumped in his truck and do something, he had us do it for him. So the full gamut. 

If somebody doesn't have a courier account, they don't know what's going on, come down, we'll hook you up. Anybody with an account and watch the drop by, they just do.

I don't know why our customers are walking in, but they're coming by to say hi. So anybody that needs anything done, same day in the lower mainland or overnight around the world, it's a perfect place to come. They get their packages shipped. We can pack them up too, because we have the shipping supplies.

So if you're don't know what it takes to get something shipped, come on down, we'll fix it up for you or pick it up and bring it to the shipping centre. It's a good place just to, you know, make sure packages are packaged properly. A lot of damage happens in transit. People think, you know, somebody's holding it, but it's dropped down to like a 45 mile an hour conveyor belt.

If you ever dropped anything out of a car, you know that it bounces. So the rule of thumb is that it needs to be able to take a three-foot drop on any side so we can properly inspect things, make sure they're good and ship them out. It's super important to us that when they drop it off and don't know what's going on, that we pick it up and know what's going on. So that's a thing we need to do. We're always doing it, so it's a great space for doing that. 

Mark: I guess if you're not going to be home for that delivery, and you're concerned about security- people are purloining your stuff off of your front porch 

Mark H: Package pirates. 

Mark: This is the way to solve that issue if you work in downtown.

Mark H: Yeah, you come pick it up. A lot of Amazon drop-offs there. I was surprised at how many come into the office. I keep walking in and there's a stack of boxes. They don't want the boxes to their office for whatever reason. Maybe it's personal, there is a rule, or they just don't want to miss the delivery, and they know we're open. So there's tons of drop-offs. 

Wine stores are asking us to hold wine there overnight and ship it out as the customers request it, so that the stores can get it out of the store and bring a new stock. It's almost like a mini cross dock for packages for the wine industry. I never saw that coming. 

It's it's a beautiful little place to do work, go to work. 

Mark: If you're looking for unique services, you got stuff that needs to get done, and you're not sure how it's going to happen. The guys to call [are] Phantom Couriers. They're going to look after you. They're going to get that package there on time. You can reach them at (604) 899-5447. Or outside of the lower mainland, +1 844-899-5447. Right across the country of Canada. They'll look after you Phantom Couriers, any package anywhere... 

Mark H: Phantom Couriers gets it there. 

Mark: Thanks Mark

Mark H: Right on dude.

Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce Delivery

Mark: Hi it's Mark from Top Local. I'm here with Mark Huggan of Phantom Couriers in Vancouver. Vancouver's best couriers, fastest growing. One of the fastest growing companies in the province, in Western Canada, in all of Canada, as far as couriers go. And we're talking about deliveries in the Nanaimo. How are you doing Mark?

Mark H: Doing excellent. Thanks. 

Mark: So how's Nanaimo? That's a new operation. What's going on over there in Nanaimo? 

Mark H: Yeah. You know, we've had like a facility in Nanaimo for about six months now. We've been dealing with the Nanaimo for 24 years, but it was time to get on over there. And of course, one of our first contacts was with the Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce.

So we joined up, you know, be a good citizen and it paid off with an interesting delivery the other day. Our second one in the last few months. 

Mark: So what was the delivery?

Mark H: I don't know if it's because COVID is happening. Yeah. It's well, people are moving like headquarters and things. And so we've had to move to giant model ships. You know, this one was 6 feet by 2 feet by 3 feet, and there was no elevator. It's super fragile. You know, the kind that sit in the lobby of a shipping company or anything that has to do with maritime. They take years to create. They're very expensive. They are just not to be messed with.

And so, you know, we're, sure we can do this. No problem send over a truck with a tailgate and a guy. And it's like, Oh, but wait, there's no elevator. So it was like, Oh, we'll send over four guys, you know, some blankets and stuff. So we had to do an assessment and go in there and do it. Of course the job was easier done than said. It seemed like it was going to be a lot more daunting. But when we got there, they figured it out pretty quick and packed it up and got it off. And it was seamless. 

And everybody was happy, but it's like one of those kinds of nail biting moments when nobody would want to touch the job with a 10 foot pole. The Chamber obviously has other contacts there. We're the new one, but we had the ability to do it and we were happy too. And it just makes it a good story. 

I mean, I got my start in the shipping industry, so I think those ships are cool. So, you know, I don't want anything to go wrong with them. So I was kind of like overseeing it from afar asking, did it happen? Is it cool? Everything went perfect. Dion, our operations guy handled it perfectly.

So deliveries like that are really difficult to wrap your head around. But with some experience behind us, we were able to execute perfectly. It wasn't super expensive, but the rewards were super high, so everybody was happy. And that's the bottom line. 

Mark: So you guys can specialize in that kind of way outside the box kind of delivery that the other companies seem to only want to be within their narrow, little niche that they know they're going to make lots of money on. You're able to provide the service that delivers anything anywhere basically. 

Mark H: Yeah, that's what keeps it exciting, man. Like those are the exciting things. I mean, during that day we did about 360 other deliveries, but this is the one that stands out as unique. And it's good for everybody, you know, it's refreshing and it's creative and it keeps the company fresh. We love doing it. And the customer's pretty satisfied. 

Mark: Cool. 

Mark H: Yeah. 

Mark: So if you need deliveries in Nanaimo, the guys to call, Phantom Couriers, you can reach them on their 800 number +1 844-899-5447. Or if you're in the lower mainland (604) 899-5447. That's that 800 number is good read across the country, by the way. So if you need something anywhere, anytime, any place, these are the guys to call. Phantom Couriers. Thanks Mark. 

Mark H: You betcha. Thank you.

Phantom Couriers New Office at 329 Howe St. Vancouver, BC

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. We're here with Mark Huggan of Phantom Couriers in Vancouver, Vancouver's favourite courier service and one of the a hundred fastest growing companies in the province of BC, but expanding right across the country. We're gonna talk today about a new downtown retail location, International Shipping Center at 329 Howe Street. This just opened up. What's going on with this Mark?

Mark H: Well, we've always had, you know, excellent advertisement through like Google My Business and maps and people come down to the office and with COVID, they're stuck at the intercom. It's difficult to enter the building. And we're downstairs, they was go upstairs, and there was a barrier and it wasn't really customer friendly. It's more of a call centre that did shipping. 

And I noticed over the last few years, like the UPS stores were closing, the FedEx stores, like the Kinko's stores closed and there was a DHL store up the street with a lineup at 8:00 PM. And I was like, I want a line up at my place until 8:00 PM. So Crest Jewellers moved to the jewelry district on Granville Street and there was a 700 square foot retail spot at 329 Howe. In the building that I currently have my other office in. And I thought, I know it's not the best time, but it's not the worst time either. So I just ran upstairs to the lease manager, signed a five-year lease and got the space. And we did our soft opening on Tuesday. 

And lots of things are happening. It's an Amazon pickup centre. So anybody who doesn't want to have Amazon come to their business, they can come get it from us. So they can just call us, we'll drop it off. We do all of our international shipping out of it. So people can come in and choose their best price point. You know, we have, accounts with Puralator, DHL and FedEx, and then of course Phantom.

So there's all sorts of pricing verticals. People can choose from, different services, world wide, everybody's got a better price point so we can find the best one for them. It's got a student shipping centre. It's got boxes. It's basically like a Uline catalog inside. There's like bubble wrap and boxes and packing and wrapping.

You can come down to discuss furniture pickups. Anything people need. Students who need to have stuff shipped back and forth from home. We can arrange that through there. Wine stores are having wine dropped off to us for pickup. And instead of delivery, a lot of people are, you know, well, my neighbourhood, the kids might mess with it, so we can just hold it for them.

All Clearly returns will come there. So all contact lenses and glasses can be held there instead of going to a Canada Post where they don't know what's going on because they're generally just an employee of a drug store, that's working a shift. And they're, you know, they're up to speed, but they're not that up to speed. It takes people, they've got to stand in line and then to get to the counter and they don't know what's going on. So that's another problem we can solve. It'll be done like that. 

Etsy and Shopify entrepreneurs can drop off their stuff there for shipping and get like a bulk shipment. All that international cross border mail can be done there. So it's got postal services there. We can weigh it out to send it by Canada Post cause we have all the Canada Post rates. 

It is going to be awesome. And you know, the first day we opened, somebody comes wandering in because they're lost. Can't find DHL. Boom done. It's got a nice big sign. It's nice and clean. It's COVID ready. It's excellent actually, it's a bare bones. Get the job done. DIY threw it together, pop up prototype for the future. And it's pretty stellar. 

Mark: Nice. So it's already off to a roaring start even though the sign isn't ready and all this stuff isn't ready in place yet this week.

Mark H: Yeah, we opened the door, just checking the gate, people were coming in. And then some of our gaming companies, with all the virtual celebrations that are going on, all gaming and animation studios are, they're just pumping out huge volume, like 400 deliveries of gift bags and t-shirts for a gaming company that was celebrating the victory. Like they put it in the bag, all that stuff came to Phantom. So the drivers have easy access, but then the returns and the no loads, like if you can't drop it off, people are just like, Oh, you're just down the street. I'll come down, I'm just in Coal Harbour. So lots of people can walk over, pick up their stuff, super convenient.

And they've really liked the look of it. You know, it's sleek, it's tight, it's efficient. It's Phantom efficient. So it's really well done. And Dion's done a great job of setting it up. So I'm pretty happy with it right now. We're just getting our systems and procedures under control. And after that we'll be off to the races. There'll be scalable duplicatable. And then it's, it's really franchisable. You know, we've had a few interests, people interested in franchising opportunities. I was like, all right, I'll take it. Let's see what we can do. But that's down the road. But definitely it has a business model that's scalable people like it. I'm pretty proud of it. 

Mark: Cool. And what's the hours of opening? 

Mark H: Well, we're going to be open from eight til eight, that's standard. Usually we're open seven days a week. I'm not sure if it's going to be open on weekends. We'll have some people stand by for a few weeks and see what happens. See what the need is. But I have a feeling it'd be seven days a week, 12 hours a day, ready for people to come before and after work and be there for the, you know, it's it's to be there for people to use. So we might as well be available. 

Mark: Exactly. And the convenience of being right in the central business district right in downtown Vancouver, that's gotta be pretty amazing.

Mark H: Oh yeah. And right across the street, there's like ample street parking and then there's a parking lot, right to the side of it. So it's easy and it's super, super functional. It's right there. And of course I was out for dinner at Miku. And when we left the restaurant, just turned, pow, it was the biggest, brightest sign on the street. It was it's just like epic. I was like, you can't see anything except for Phantom. So you can't miss it. It's got a big six foot lit up sign in the window. It's pretty groovy. You can't miss the logo. It's like the bat signal right there on Howe Street. Totally suits Phantom. A 100% man. 

Mark: So Batman, if you're listening and you need some help, you need a Robin to help you. Phantom Couriers is at 329 Howe Street in downtown Vancouver. Or of course, if you need curb side pickup or deliveries, whatever you need, wherever you need it anywhere in the world. Phantom Courier (604) 899-5447. Or across the whole country of Canada, +1 844-899-5447. If it needs to be there, Phantom Couriers will get it there. Thanks, Mark. 

Mark H: Definitely. Thank you.

Wine Delivery

Mark: Hi, it's Mark Bossert of Top Local. I'm here with Mark Huggan of Phantom Couriers in Vancouver. Vancouver's best couriers rapidly expanding across the province, across the country. Who knows maybe across the world. And we're going to talk about one of their top verticals, wine stores. Wine stores, Mark wine stores? 

Mark H: For sure. I mean, we're all busy and every wine store has a Sommelier and every wine store has an Ecom component and they're online. I don't like going to, look, I'm not going to carry a 40 pound case of wine to my car. Flip the seat forward, put it in the backseat, drive around, forget I have to pick up a million other things and then unload the car with all this wine. So wine stores, it's super easy. It's super trackable. 

So they put all their eCom orders on their shelves. We send them up the waybills with the barcodes and the tracking numbers. And off we go. And we've got special pricing from wine stores because the volume is really high, so they can instantly go for a discount on the rates. It's usually a much larger like, spectrum of timeline available for deliveries. And sometimes specific deliveries are required because person's going to be home, like I'm here 2:30 till 3:30, blah, blah, blah. And those are easy targets to hit. 

There's wine everywhere. And I mean, hey, the gods gave us the wine. We might as well have it. It might as well have it delivered, the cost is nominal. I mean, good bottles of wine, like say a good starting bottle of wine, it's like 40 the bucks. The cost of delivering an entire case of 12 bottles might be as low as $10.

So why would the wine stores not want to incorporate that? That's like, when you break it down, it's nothing. The customers are happy to get it sooner they buy sooner. And the people usually reorder before they've even finished their first case because they like to have lots on stock and it's like collecting anything and a good wine and COVID, your home a lot. You might as well enjoy yourself. And I don't know, the wine stores in Vancouver are brilliant. There's lots of them. I encourage everybody to call up their local wine store and get their wine delivered. Call Phantom and we can get it done for you. If you own a wine store, look us up. We're seven days a week. We delivered until 8:00 PM from 8:00 AM. And we're there for you. We have an excellent system. It's bulletproof and we enjoy doing it too. The couriers love doing the wine because it fills the gaps from their document and small package delivery. And nobody ever has been unhappy when they received their wine.

At the beginning of COVID, we had to do proof of delivery by photograph. And we've got people just posing, acting like crazy goofs and having fun, big smiles and, you know, acting out of character, just enjoying it. So it's a great way to get your wine delivers by career. And they're in and out in a couple of seconds, you get your wine. It's really noninvasive and it's happy times, right? Fine wine and good times. 

Mark: This wasn't a big thing for you pre-pandemic, right? 

Mark H: It was big. Like Marquis has been an excellent customer. Okanagan Estate Wine has been a big customer. We've done billions of cash calls for people that sent to Legacy, any boutique wine store, but when COVID hit, it was the number one thing we did.

It was incredible. People were stuck at home. They had nothing to do, might as well have some wine and look out the window. And then it stayed. And it's our fastest growing vertical, next to that is weed. And you know, after work stuff. Food, wine, weed. Okay, you're not working, you're living. So enjoy yourselves, you know, winter's on its way. Wine makes it painless and having it delivered, it makes it extra painless. So yeah, we're happy to do it. 

We're looking for more customers. We're looking for more happy people. So if you own a wine store or you want wine delivered just off a credit card, call us up. We're super reasonable, super efficient, super happy to do it. And we'd love to hear from you. 

Mark: Yeah. So if you want the details for your wine store or for your wine particular predilection that you'd like to get delivered without all the hassles of trying to pick and choose, and you know exactly already what you want, you don't want to go into the store. You want it delivered right to your door without any kind of issues or risks. Phantom Courier (604) 899-5447. Or if you're a little bit out of the exact lower mainland area, like on Vancouver Island, I know they deliver wine out there 1-844-899-5447.

Mark H: Totally. Yeah. We fly wine to the island all the time and here's something else that's good for people. Say something comes up and you're not available for the wine, we can either reattempt it or you can come and pick it up from our storefront at 329 Howe because that's going to be open super late. And a lot of people are like, I can just pick it up and be like, yeah, we'll hold it for you on the shelf. There's not an extra charge. It's just come and get it. And it's a nice thing. The wine store has been asking for that too. So we're there. We've got you covered that. 

Mark: Phantom Couriers.

Fulfillment and eCommerce Delivery Services

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. I'm here with Mark Huggan of Phantom Couriers in Vancouver. Vancouver's best, fastest growing courier service. And we're going to talk today about fulfillment, the last mile delivery stuff. That's been exploding with all this e-commerce stuff going on because of the pandemic. How are you doing Mark? 

Mark H: We're doing excellent. Thank you very much. How are you? 

Mark: Good. So fulfillment centres, fulfillment warehousing, delivering the last mile. How does all that work? 

Mark H: Well, it's called 3PLs, third party logistics. And so for instance, say you have a product and you had to import it from Asia and it comes in by container. And then, you know, it sits on the dock. It gets put on the truck, he gets take it to a fulfillment warehouse where they cross docket. So unstuff the container and say inside of it is like dishwashers, PPE equipment and I dunno, headphones. So obviously it's to get distributed into the warehouse and then as the eCom businesses that sell them, or so like a brick and mortar company that maybe is providing like safety equipment for hospitals and stuff.

 The order, then it needs to go out. The last mile. So what we do is we go down to the fulfillment warehouses, pick up a large order of stuff and start distributing it. So it might be going down to like the Portland Hotel Society and then a women's shelter and men's shelters on the downtown Eastside, or it might be going all out to elderly care centres and homes and things like that.

So we'll pick it up and we'll just run it all out in a route. And everybody gets their order pretty quick because they're waiting for it. It's a on time kind of crisis, right? We're waiting for containers to get destuffed. You know, customs brokerage is great. The EDI document is great. Everything's being imported quickly, but still, those hours that people are waiting for it. They're usually running out of supplies as we deliver. 

And then with any eCom companies, there's a lot of drop shipping that goes on. So say like the headphones I mentioned, like say maybe somebody who's got a drop shipping company and they've got a hundred clients that are waiting for their headphones, the waiting and waiting and waiting. And you really want to get them there soon so that they'll go back to your website and order something else that you're providing. So drop ship entrepreneurs are really good. And then on the reverse side, what works extremely well. So there's a lot of eCom entrepreneurs and drop ship guys that do other things as well, like say Shopify and Etsy kind of people.

They do a lot of shipping that gets out mail. So we'll do a run and pick it up from all these entrepreneurs. Take it down there, have it consolidated and onto a pallet and take it down to the United States underneath like one document import and then put it into the US postal service. So fulfillment works both ways and cross-docking is great because the warehouse is empty at night and needs to be filled up.

So we'll fill it up with things going export and then empty it out with things coming import. And it's huge. We, you really never think about it. Like all the Amazon stuff. It's exactly the same thing. It's all fulfillment of orders. It's decentralized, then it's centralized and then it's exported to the final mile.

And final mile shipping is what courier is all about. You know, it has to go from second to last place to the very last place. And that's where we come in. We take it to the very last place people get to enjoy their products. And so any fulfillment warehouse guys that are out there looking for more bodies, because so much is imported.

As you know, we don't manufacture a ton and on the West Coast here, we're an import community. So things that are coming in, we can get them exported pretty quick out to the customer. And it's the third party that's going to be happy because the fulfillment warehouse is not the customer. The customer is the person doing the importing and you know, they're biting their nails. They have to perform. 

So when they have a high performing courier company like Phantom and an excellent fulfillment warehouse, like any of them, like Evolution Fulfillment, for instance, or Shanker,  it's great. Just to go in there, pick it up and we have excellent EDI import to our website. So all you have to do is really download a spreadsheet. Boom. It's all there. No typing, no messing around. Once we set them up with the forum, all they have to do is export, import, drivers show up, packages get delivered. Proof of delivery is sent and it's sent to the importer, as well as CC to the fulfillment warehouse, if that's necessary. So it's completely transparent.

People are very satisfied. And it's a vertical we love and since we are Phantom, it's Phantom Couriers, but really we're Phantom Global Management. And 20 years ago when I incorporated, my vision was global management, not just doing local P and D. So this is really good for our import and export because that's how we're scaling is on the backs of our clients and the good work we provide. So it's a really fun, fun, vertical, and it's where we're going to scale the most. 

Mark: So this year, this might be a difficult question because I haven't kind of pre-prepared you, but how much do you think the growth has been in this area since the pandemic has hit? 

Mark H: Well, I can answer that. When I was just looking at a company snapshot of our biggest clients, traditionally, our biggest clients were law firms and engineering firms. And they were big, I mean, big enough to be proud of that. We were almost like super stoked. Like this is a massive client. We do a lot of deliveries for, and then suddenly the fulfillment just took off. And today Trey in our office was showing me some of the graphs and I was like, that's incredible. It's flipped the script.

The number one thing is like we talked about before is like wine for same day. And then the next one because of the volume is different. It comes in as containers come in, it is fulfillment warehouses. So since, you know, the wine store might do a hundred sales in a day and a fulfillment place might at 25.

So we measure them by the deliveries, but it could be a lot more, many more pieces than just twenty-five their cases in cases of it. And then our next vertical that's exploded. Is, there's no barrier to customers that don't have an account that just want to get something done. The eCom. So the, like the one time cash call credit card, you just call in or go on our website and just order that's the third largest vertical now.

And then after that, it goes straight up eCom, like manufacturers have contact lenses and glasses. So more commercial, like manufacturing and import like the Evolution Fulfillment. Those are really growing sectors. They will totally catch up and push away, like the retailers that are using us locally.

And it's a good one. I want to get more clients obviously. We do a really good job and nobody's ever had an issue. So if you've had an issue and you wonder why maybe we can come down and have a talk and we can show you the problem or talk about it and get you what you want. And then you're going to get what you need.

And that's where Phantom steps in. And that's where we're successful, is listening to the clients and finding out what the problem is. There are people don't have to waste valuable time doing the same thing over and over, like checking in with courier because they could be doing something else.

They can be, do something that's more productive for the company or they could just be taking it easy and being creative. And at that point, the companies will grow because you know, a relaxed, creative staff is the kind of stuff that will identify problems. But if you're under pressure, it sucks. So it helps out all over the place to just to have somebody you can depend on. That's where we come in. 

Mark: If you want a trusted button down, tight operation, doing all your deliveries for you, Phantom Couriers in Vancouver, (604) 899-5447. Or if you're outside of the greater Vancouver area, +1 844-899-5447. They deliver pretty much across BC into Alberta, into Ontario. So they'll look after you. Phantom Couriers, any package anywhere? 

Mark H: Phantom Couriers gets it there. 

Mark: Thanks Mark. 

Mark H: Thank you.

New Downtown Location

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. I'm here with Mark Huggan of Phantom Couriers in Vancouver, BC. One of Vancouver's best courier companies one of BC's fastest growing companies. And frankly, one of Canada's fastest growing companies as they're expanding right across the country. How are you doing today, Mark?

Mark H: We're doing excellent. Thank you. 

Mark: So you're opening a new retail location? Right in downtown Vancouver, 329 Howe Street. What's going on there? 

Mark H: Yeah, we were lucky. A jeweller that had his jewelry store there for 25 years, moved over to Granville to be closer to the jewelry district. And they had this excellent space available and I quickly snapped it up instantly.

I was like taking it. And we took it. So it's 700 square feet. It's on Howe Street. It'll be open seven days a week, 12 hours a day. It will be an international shipping centre. And be excellent for anybody who wants to walk in. Google business drives a lot of business to our office, but they have to enter the building and take the elevator. Now it would just be straight walk in. 

Imagine you're going to check in your luggage at the airport. There'll be the terminals there with the scale. And anybody wants any luggage forwarded, it will be excellent for students that are returning home. Anything going internationally and being open late at night, it will be excellent for all returns. Like if anybody's got a return number, for anything that they've ordered online, they can bring it to us and we'll facilitate the return. It's great because you know, people get home, they forget it's six o'clock. They're like, dang. But we're right downtown. Right by the Convention Center, right in the hotel district, right by the cruise ships when they return, right by all the conventions and it is going to be gangbusters. It's going to be awesome for everybody because it'll be so available. 

Plus we still offer our pickup and delivery. So if you can't make it down there, we can just pick it up and bring it to the shipping centre and get it going. There'll be boxes there, everything, mailboxes, it'll be pretty awesome. 

Mark: And of course you're serving all the plethora of businesses that are right there in downtown Vancouver. 

Mark H: Yeah. You'd be surprised how many, you know, established businesses walk in all the time, they don't know that couriers will come and pick it up. I don't understand how they miss it because you know, I'm forest for the trees. But yeah, we're there for them. They'll know where we are. It'd be super easy to find us. It's got excellent curb appeal from what we've rendered up in all the drawings.

So people will see it. I mean, I'll have the Phantom signal flaring out the window. You won't miss us. You need us. We're there for you. You can walk in, we'll come pick it up, whatever you need. 

Mark: If you're in downtown Vancouver and you want fast service and you want it delivered, you want to get out of the office for a second and you want to drop your packages off or you're jumping off a ship or you're an international student, any of the above the new Phantom downtown retail location. When's that going to open Mark? 

Mark H: Well, I think November 1st we should be ready to rock and roll. We'll be doing a soft opening, getting her going through October. And then by November 1st, that place will be fully manned, stocked and fully operational 

Mark: 329 Howe Street. Phantom Couriers in Vancouver. You can reach them at (604) 899-5447. They'll deliver anything anywhere in the world. +1 844-899-5447. Right across Canada. Any package anywhere. 

Mark H: Phantom Couriers gets it there. 

Mark: Thanks Mark. 

Mark H: You betcha.

Virtual Event Deliveries

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. We're here with Mark Huggan, Phantom Couriers in Vancouver. One of the 100 fastest growing companies in British Columbia and frankly right across entire nation of Canada growing like crazy, having fun, doing all kinds of cool things. How are you doing Mark? 

Mark H: We're doing great. Hello. 

Mark: So today we're gonna talk about something mass distribution. 

Mark H:

What's that? Okay. So first in the film industry, whenever they have a release date or they, you know, finish a project, they usually send out a gift to all the staff, all the artists, everybody that's in it.

And usually they will we'd have an event like an event space. But with COVID, and the fact that we can't get together now, and can't stay past 10 o'clock, they're doing these virtual things where they're sending out to everybody, all the artists, all the contributors to their residences where they're living and/or working. And they all open them up at the same time on this massive production. 

So they may rent a big space to show it all off and get everybody in together, sort of a like an award or something, but everybody's opening these things up at home. So we've got like gift bags, like the Oscars gift bags. Nobody's going to be in the audience. They're going to be at home now opening the gift bags and they're worth, you know, thousands sometimes. They're great gifts for great artists. And so we do massive distribution. We're doing one right now for 350 artists. And they all want to open it up at the same time.

So, and of course, like the runtime on it is like, I need it by Thursday. It's like, okay, so you gotta be tight. You gotta know what you're doing. And you basically are working from an old mailing list. It has wrong addresses and you have to do a lot of quick corrections and it keeps you on your feet. So they're massive. We're doing one for that. 

We're doing one for a Summit that's coming up. And the same thing. It's going out. Like before COVID, they were going to rent out the, in Abbotsford, the Event Centre there, it was really big. All the people in the Valley were really excited. In fact, one of the keynote speakers was going to be Oprah and it got cashed out and I was like, Oprah in Abbotsford, that's sweet. But anyways, now we're sending all this stuff to the participants and to everybody that bought a ticket to their place. I'm getting them rocked up pretty hard. 

And BC Cancer is sending out a big gift basket thing for their donors. And so, you know, usually they would have galas. So all the galas are going virtual and we're there to help them and get the projects finished. The last mile for the gift baskets. Because it's a big part of the event is getting your swag. And it's excellent advertising for the sponsors. So the banks, all the contributors, all the platinum sponsors, they want to make sure that they're front and center. So they're not going to get wrecked. They have to be presented nicely. You have to do a good job. It's a white glove service for these people because they're spending a lot of money for a good reason. So it's fun. 

Mark: So this is just because of the pandemic right now and the changed world we're in right now, but some of this will continue on, I suspect, after things go back to whatever the new normal is. What do you think? 

Mark H: I mean, pre COVID, we do all the Vancouver Canucks seasons ticket parking passes. Right. Cause you know, people want to get their parking passes. They're everywhere. I mean like Cranbrook sometimes. There's some diehard fans. They're out there. So yeah, before COVID the thing, now it's sort of ramping up to a different thing and probably after, you're right, it's going to stay a semi normal because now they can reach a wider audience.

Not everybody can make it to the event. There's a lot of people with reasons why they won't be able to travel and now they can participate. So I think we're going to see a hybrid in the events world because the events world is a tough, tough business. They're not going to die just because we can't get together.

They're going to reinvent themselves in this very unique way. I'm glad to be part of it. 

Mark: So there you are. If you've got an upcoming event that you're suddenly going virtual and you need stuff delivered anywhere in BC or Alberta, or even Ontario, the guys to call...

Or the world man.

The world even. Phantom Couriers, you can reach them in Vancouver, (604) 899-5447 or across Canada, +1 844-899-5447. They'll get it there. They'll get it done. They'll make sure your clients are all happy. Thanks, Mark.

 Right on. Thank you.

Bio Transport

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. I'm here with Mark Huggan, Phantom Couriers in Vancouver. Vancouver's best couriers, fastest growing. One of the fastest growing companies in British Columbia and in Canada, frankly, they are expanding right across the country. We're gonna talk about shipping stuff. How are you doing today, Mark?

Mark H: We're doing good. Thanks. How are you? 

Mark: Good. So Phantom Couriers is now bio transportation certified. What does that mean? 

Mark H: Well, it's just a bunch of paperwork, but, you know, it's this regulation stuff, but it was for a big account that we got that just needs excellent management for the next two years for some medical sampling and testing.

So it goes across Canada makes three stops, dips into the United States and then heads over to Europe every day, seven days a week with return shipping. So picking up these samples from hospitals and universities, flying them out to Europe, where in Germany, that's where, other countries are sending them there too. This is the North America and the one city in the States Minneapolis. And off we go. So it's a big deal. 

We just had to fill out some paperwork, answer a million questions, be legit, know what we're doing, and you know, we've been in business 25 years. So that helped us a lot because there's a lot of startups out there. And with 25 years experience. And being in the freight forwarding business before courier, it really gave us a leg up on just understanding what they needed. So we heard what they needed and we were able to rise to the occasion. It's good. It's really a big step. It's a good thing for us. 

Mark: So do you think this is going to help you a little bit since we're in the middle of COVID still, when there's vaccines around and they've got to be distributed to, you know, 8 billion plus people.

Mark H: Well, I hope so. I mean, there's going to be a lot of last mile. That's going to be really, you know, necessary, just from what we've experienced with PPE distribution. That when there's vaccines, I mean, how much better is that going to be? So we're already embedded in that logistics infrastructure for everybody that has the PPU, which are people treating or people at risk.

So vaccines are gonna head to them first and with our niche, what we've got, we're able to handle it and deliver on time, which I think is going to be very helpful for when there is a vaccine. It will be distributed quickly. And the people that need it will get it. There won't be any waiting.

Mark: Right. So you guys do a bunch of other bio transportation stuff already. Give me some examples of that. 

Mark H: Well you know, everybody's favorite bio is a Botox, you know, there's a lot of it that's for strictly cosmetic and there's a lot of it that's for surgeons. So we move a lot of it to the Diamond Center on Laurel Street for VGH. Lots of doctors in there are using it for whatever. They treat a million things with Botox more than we just know. So, you know, I didn't really ask what you're doing with it, but it's live cultured in Richmond. And it has a short, short life. So cosmetic Botox, they might inject it in a few days later it activates as the poisons affected your body and you swell.

And the other kind of Botox affects differently and it has a short half life. So it needs to be administered very quickly because it is a toxin. So if it's past its time, it's not going to be used on the person and it has to be destroyed. Expensive. And, or it's a total waste, right? So it's very expensive and important thing. It's really big time. 

And then there's a lot of people, you know, we distribute medicines, like hepatitis. There's a lot of medicine going out for hepatitis and people are happy to have it. It changes their lives for the better. And a lot of it is also life cultured. And we have to get that on a certain amount of time. And it can't be, the temperature has to stay the same. So we have to have it checked before it can be delivered. Like there's a thermometers on the box. And if they're not within a range, forget it. It's like, you know, that can't be done. So luckily we're always nailing that. 

For the BC CDC, we're doing lots of, like vaccines and stuff to go for all sorts of things that the human has come in contact with for the last couple of hundred years. There's all sorts of illnesses out there that are treatable and rural areas have to get them. And they're often temperature controlled. So we have to keep them at a specific temperature, get them on the plane, identify them that they need to be kept at a certain temperature for the airlines. Then when they're put on the last mile, and we're out in Bella, Bella, Bella Coola. Atlin, our couriers and or our partners are all up to speed on them. And it's super important. 

And a lot of times we just deal straight with the clinic, tell them our flight info, and they've got a nurse or a doctor or a practitioner down there to meet the plane because it's like, get it, go now. 

So it's a lot of like last minute logistics where you gotta be on top of it. You might have to stay late at work that day, but it's getting the job done. And that's what we do. 

Mark: And that's that specialization of the rigorous checks and balances and systems that you guys had in place after 25 years of being able to know exactly where stuff is when it's there, that you've been checked properly and getting it there on time.

Mark H: When you take responsibility for something like that, you just don't put down the phone and go for coffee. You have to watch it all the way, because you know, you take your eye off the ball and that's when it goes crazy. You don't want that to happen? It's hard to undo those mistakes. So you want to keep them from happening all the way. So you really have to watch that a hundred percent. There's no automation and things like that. It's hands on you experience that makes it happen. You know, it's a touchdown. It doesn't happen by computer.

Mark: If you need stuff on time, on delivery, that's critical. That has to be checked. That has you want systems in place so that your stuff, your deliveries, get there on time in Vancouver, in Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast, right across the Toronto. Phantom Couriers. You can reach them at (604) 899-5447 in BC or across Canada, +1 844-899-5447. Any package anywhere?

Mark H: Phantom Couriers gets it there. You got it.

Driver Onboarding

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. We're here with Mark Huggan of Phantom Couriers in Vancouver. One of Vancouver's best courier companies. Voted best in Vancouver. One of the hundred fastest growing companies in the province of BC expanding right across the entire country. And today we're going to talk about something that's really quite important and illustrates a lot of the systems and procedures that these guys use in order to make sure that your package is delivered on time and in good shape over and over a hundred percent of the time. And we're gonna talk about driver onboarding, how you doing Mark? 

Mark H: We're doing excellent today. How are you? 

Mark: Good. I think this is going to really show the level of detail that you guys use in order to get the job done right the first time. This is for new drivers. So how does it work? Give us the deal.

Mark H: You know, 365 days a year we're running ads on Indeed and Jobillico. We're always looking for new drivers because we're always growing. So there's always somebody coming in at the lowest common denominator at the bottom of the bar, the lowest level.

And we have to speak the same language to all of our drivers, even if they're the most senior driver to the most junior. We speak the same language because that's the language our customers are speaking to us. So we have a pretty short and condensed, like a minimum effective dose onboarding procedure that starts off with binder that is ready to rock.

They get it and they keep it. And it's full of everything, all of our systems and procedures and how we like to do things so that we can communicate to the customers because our customers are communicating with their customers. And we're just the conduit. So it has everything from pretty simple stuff like turn on phone, log in to thing, right down to the end of the day, when you're shutting off.

So how to collect signatures, how to get proof of deliveries, how to register your vehicle for insurance, how to get the proper mileage for your tax deductions. There is a million things in this book and we go over them. At each page, they have to sign off on. So if there's ever a problem, we can coach them by saying, Hey, this seems to be confusing. Why don't you come into the office and we'll go over it and then we just flip to the page. Here's the example. Here's what happened. Let's compare notes. And then they learn and they go up. Because everybody thinks it's just getting in a car, go and then you're like, how much money did I make today?

And you're like, well, you know, you only did like four things and other people did 22. So they need to practice. So this onboarding procedure helps people get going and you know, a lot of great people come through the door and everybody needs money. So our job is to make sure customers get delivered and our couriers make top dollars.

Do, you know, the least amount of work. Most effectively make the most money. It's just economics. So we have a pretty big onboarding thing and there's texting involved, there's email pictures involved, there's reading, only really four things that you need to know as a courier. 

Where is it? Where's it going? Was it ready? When does it have to be there? But then you compound that with 16 other deliveries throughout the day, and you have to keep, there's a method to keep track of all that. And so it's pretty simple stuff we use. Cover and move, you know, you have a bunch of things you need to do. And this one is due now at Mark's house.

So you go to Mark's house and when you drive, but off to Mark's house, dispatch knows it. You're at a point in time and your point of reference on the map. What's next. So we can measure like you have some time, why don't you go over to Jim's house and pick up a package for Sally. It's due two more hours on your way. So we cover and move all the way. We keep it really simple. 

So we prioritize and execute, and then we listen to what the drivers have to say to us, like bad traffic, then we can go to the text, watch out for traffic here. So decentralized command, they tell us what's going on. Total communication all the time. 

I'm probably being conservative when I say that myself probably have over 2000 conversations a day with drivers, and they're quick, they're short, they're concise, but there's a lot of communications going on. And it's overwhelming for somebody who's not familiar with the courier industry. And people who have been here for five, six years, they're just like another day, but it's overwhelming at first. 

That's what we have the onboarding, which gives them support. And then we call them in on the first pay period and review and show them like their progress with a graph. And it's pretty great. It's good for longevity. 

Mark: So you guys really focus, the core of your business honestly, is communication then basically. That's what I'm hearing.

Mark H:  Yeah, that's what people do communicate. So it's natural. You know, that's all we do is communication between the customer, the courier and the end user all the way down the line. It's not what I thought it was when I started the company. I thought I was gonna be burning around doing this, but I soon understood that is important and it's communication. That's all we're really doing. Like deals need to be done. It's communicating, you know, it's 100% of our job. 

And then if a customer calls, we need to get concise information from a courier. And if it's not on our system and it's out there, he's got it. Decentralized command. Here's the reference number, what's the status? And he's like, well, let's due it four o'clock it's 3:45. I'm a kilometre away. It's exactly with our GPS, we can tell the customer so they can be relaxed. Our system has it, but a lot of people don't have the time to look it up. So we need to ask for them. And we do that. And it's just concise information because then they can go and say, look, Mark, it's going to be there in four minutes. It'll be there ahead of schedule. And then you're like, great. I'll call them then. And then we'll seal the deal. 

And so it's all right down the line and it's fun stuff keeps you very busy all day, but it's rewarding, right? Because there's a lot of satisfaction at the end of the day. And our on time numbers are really good. Obviously when we train somebody, we put them on the longer duration trips. So that they don't, you know, they're not late. And then as they get there, they go from unconsciously incompetent to consciously competent.

We start putting the higher priority trips on them and then they can accept more work. And then they're happier too, because they can get stressed out and quit. We don't like that. We don't like turnover. And like every business it's 80/20. And turnover's expensive and nobody feels good, getting a new job and then not liking it.

So we try to make sure that they're the right fit and that we fit for them too. So we always have a trial period, get to know us.

Mark: There we go. If you're looking for a courier that goes the extra mile to make sure their drivers are happy. To make sure that they're very well trained and continuously trained. To make them better and communicate with you about all your packages that need to be delivered, when and where and how they're getting to where they need to be. These are the guys that talk through Phantom Couriers. You can reach them at 604-899-5447  or long distance for the rest of the country, outside of the Vancouver area, +1 844-899-5447. Call them they'll deliver it for you. Thanks, Mark. 

Mark H: Right on man. We will with a smile. We love it. It's what we do

Typical Courier Day

Mark Bossert: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. I'm here with Mark Huggan, Phantom Couriers in Vancouver. Vancouver's favourite couriers. One of the 100 fastest growing companies in BC. They're growing right across the entire country of Canada. They're booming busy, and we're going to talk about a typical day in the life of a courier today.

How are you doing Mark? 

Mark Huggan: Doing good, how are you? 

Mark Bossert: Good. So there's some new things happening because of this whole pandemic thing that we're in and social distancing. How was today? 

Mark Huggan: Well, today was pretty standard operating and huge, gigantic. I just brought up my list of clients and just alphabetized and I'm going to start with 'A' and give you a few examples of what we were doing.

Working for law firms today, straight up doing real estate transactions and banking, gotta get that done. 

Same law firm, which is a family practice. They do family law - with COVID, there's lots of mom and dad don't live together, don't live together, they got the kids, it's better to have sets of rules. It's important. And so the couriers are going between the two lawyers and helping everything get settled down and the sooner the better, right? Because when two parties need to agree on something, the third party in the middle is where the money is. So working for the lawyers, it's a lot of family law going on right now, everything has to be redone. And it's super important to the mom and dad and kids that, that gets done smooth, then we're here to help. 

House builders. They started building all those spec homes and that is totally different, right. Nobody knows what to do with the market. They're doing staging things to try and sell them, like removing showcase pianos for staging, which is a big deal. Helping out the stagers.

We're doing the millwork, we're bringing back counters and cabinets and doors and stuff like that, working for all the mill workers. 

And of course, the financing. A lot of a spec guys get construction loans, very important. They pay them back super quick, but they're always back and forth. When any change happens that has money, that change notice has to go to the city. It has to go to the guy that's holding the mortgage. Cause if they wanna increase it by a day, they can, and if they're late with the courier, super big trouble. We've worked like that with a lot of builders and it keeps them in the cashflow because they're expensing like mad, you know. Like huge. It could be millions of dollars of a build, you know. 

We got people changing locks, now, right. A lot of people are leaving. Employees with keys are not returning them, so the locksmiths are just going crazy. At UBC, there's over a million doors. So we're out to UBC, constantly dropping off the locks. The locksmithing trucks go out there  in the morning, and then they're like, they forgot a box of fobs or something. Always to UBC for locksmiths, really huge. 

And then of course, there's little eCommerce businesses, like a local jeweller, she had to ship stuff out, down to the United States, to mail it out to our customers that are still buying. So Etsy and Shopify stuff are going good. 

The animation studios are just kicking it off, because with the film industry, paring it down and making smaller sets and bigger studios. It's going to be a lot of diminishing returns. The animation studios are doing a lot of work for live action, so there'll be more CGI green screen, Vancouver is well known for that. Just tons of it, like all day, everything. 

From desks and chairs to mouses to software, to cables, to scripts, to everything. We're moving tons and tons of that kind of stuff. And with everybody moving around with all these big studios, lots of UPS batteries for computers, just in case there's any weird power outages. 

Because in a big studio they've got them, but they can't count on an apartment. Just having a car hitting a power pole and zap, something's gone. It could be millions of dollars of hard work for a team. Who knows where the editing processes. So when we get those calls, it's like, Oh, I didn't even know that happened. You know? 

Just lots of good sending of course, up to Bella Bella today, we sent for the BCCDC, lots of pharmaceutical drugs because they still have to get to remote areas. And now that the airplanes are flying, they're loading up with as much non-perishable medical supplies as they can get in case. More lawyers, lots more pharmaceuticals. And it just repeats as we go down the list. 

They're calling couriers more and more. Offices are decentralizing. Pharmaceuticals are going up, and then life is normal. There's people that are starting to get married and stuff, and we're moving around wax castings for engagement rings and diamond rings and stuff like that. That's nice to see that people are able to get married again. The diamond trade's always been good to Phantom. Phantom's always been good to it. Tons of contact lenses, glasses, sunglasses, for Clearly Contacts. So the list goes on, and then it goes on, and on, and it scrolls down forever. 

We did 30 standup desks today. So we rolled a big three ton truck into a distribution place in Coquitlam, and picked him up and dropped them off from Coquitlam to North Van, and looped all the way back through Vancouver up to New Westminster. So lots of standup desks. They're heavy. And popular. Get into the stand up desk business, people. There you are. 

Mark Bossert: I'd get in the courier business. Apply for a job at Phantom. They're always hiring. There's the guys to call. And it's a business that is always interesting. There's always a challenge is always a problem to be solved. If you're a problem solver, or you need a problem solved, even more important. Call them. They'll get it done. (604) 899-5447. Or Canada wide +1 844-899-5447 Phantom Couriers. Any package anywhere, Phantom Couriers gets it there. Thanks Mark. 

Mark Huggan: You bet. Problem solvers.