Phantom Courier Expansion
Mark B: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. We're here with Mark Huggan, Phantom Couriers, Vancouver's favourite courier service, and we're talking deliveries. How are you doing today, Mark?
Mark H: Excellent, thank you.
Mark B: So,expansion plans. You guys are expanding where?
Mark H: Sort of locally. Sunshine Coast. We're definitely up there everyday and we've got couriers in Nanaimo now. We used to use contractors. So we would get it here, put it on a plane or a helicopter, fly it over there and get somebody else to do it. And now we've got our own Phantom staff in Gibsons and Nanaimo. It makes a big difference. I didn't notice how much of a difference it would make until we started doing it.
I was like, this is incredibly excellent. You know, I trusted the other contractors we worked with, but it was not as seamless. And now it's perfectly seamless. I love it.
Mark B: So what makes it seamless now compared to how it was?
Mark H: Just simple little things like the proof of delivery we use. Our system gives us an automated proof of delivery and we used to have to wait for the contractor to contact us, and then somebody here, would have to put it in or else we'd be like, "Was it done?"
Sometimes it's because they were an analog courier and we have a lot of digital back end so there was just that lag. And now there's no lag. For instance, today at 3:30, we got an order from a wine shop on DavIe and we had wine in a helicopter to Nanaimo, Nanoose Bay for dinner. They wanted their special wine but couldn't find it. They got it in Vancouver. We helicopter it, put it with Michelle and boom, it's done.
So that was, you know, 90 minutes later in Nanoose Bay from Davie and Burrard. Pretty cool. Which, even just by ferry is many hours and an epic day long trip, basically. It's worse because they're not serving french fries or anything on the ferries anymore and you have to stay in your car now. Now, you stay home and couriers and helicopters do the work for you. I mean, like, that's sweet. It's way better.
Mark: And you guys are doing a lot of grocery delivery over there as well?
Mark: Yep. We're working for a new chain that's got a few places. It's good because this is spawning from social distancing. You luck out if you pick the right time to go to the grocery store. You just walk right in. But if you have to stand outside and there's 30 people and you're six feet apart and the line up is down the streets, it gets old fast. Our way is safer too. They order through the grocery store online, it's ready, we show up, take it from the social distancing table thing and bring it over to the house. You'd leave it on the steps and people can deal with it as they wish. You know, they can leave it outside as long as they want. They can touch it with gloves, there's no confusion. It's really easy and straightforward and customers have a lot of control. So it works out better. That's been building like crazy here.
Mark: So what about the Sunshine Coast? What kind of deliveries are you doing up there? That's ferry-only access as well.
Mark: Yep. And there's not a lot of ferries. So we're usually on the 7:15 in the morning ferry going over. So we will meet our courier David up there, and we've been, right now I'd say 99% of the stuff we're sending up there is PPE stuff, so protective clothing and equipment.
My friend, Jeff Cripwell, is a car dealer. He commutes and he's like, there is a huge need for same-day couriers to and from Gibsons. Because Jeff lives there, half the time they'll forget something at home. We could have it easily picked up by our courier, put on a ferry, and delivered to them. There's no unescorted cargo at any point. Somebody has to go and hand it off and that's fine. Just get somebody over there. It's a short ride. We had a bike messenger go out on the weekend, just rode his bike up there, got on the ferry. $13 fee for crossing. Dropped off this big box to David. Boom! He's back riding around in West Van. So we're dialed in, we've got all the schedules, and it was a surprisingly wicked success. I didn't think it'd be so great and people are appreciating it.
Mark B: So for the Sunshine Coast, are you going right from Gibsons all the way up to Nanoose Bay, or how much of the...
Mark H: Nanoose is on the Nanaimo side. So that was a totally different thing.
Mark B: Sorry, sorry. Wrong place.
Mark H: Yeah. So all of the Sunshine Coast is accessible once you get off that ferry. We've gone up to, well, I don't know where this clinic was, but I was watching the GPS thing go fairly far up, and I was like, "Oh, look at that!"
Mark B: Madeira Park, or..
Mark H: Yeah, if I was to look at the map, I kind of thought he was heading towards Squamish, parallel to it. I was like, "What's going on?" So I don't know where that address was, but David's all over the Sunshine Coast and whenever I look at it on the map, he's sticking around the perimeter, but he covers a huge area.
Mark B: And what about Nanaimo? What kind of area are you guys focused mostly on? The city of the Nanaimo or are you going up to Parksville, et cetera?
Mark: Well, we haven't really done that yet, but the city of Nanaimo is basically where we've been doing our same day, inner city stuff. But Parksville is like a hit. We do it all the time. I've never considered it and we usually just get overnights with that kind of stuff. But you know, if people want to same day, now we're capable. We always had to meet a courier so before, if we wanted a same day to Nanaimo, the contractor we had was in Victoria. So they went from Victoria, which is super south all the way up, and if you missed them, you're out of the game even if it was at Harbour Air sitting there. If that guy didn't hit it at one o'clock, and he only stops once, you're hooped. Now we can go over as many times as they fly. It's at our depot. People can pick it up at any time so it makes the scheduling and routing much easier.
Mark B: And you guys have access to all that, where the courier is right on your computers and you can connect with them and find out exactly what the ETA is, all that sort of stuff, if customers have questions?
Mark H: Oh yeah, 100% and it's so seamless. The customer even knows where they are really because of our digital waybill app. But it's way easier. I love it. I'm surprised how much I like it. I was like, "Oh, this is relaxing. You're in my world."
Mark B: So there you go. The start of the beginning of world domination from Phantom Couriers in Vancouver and if you need service in Nanaimo and the surrounding area or along the Sunshine Coast. Forgive me for not recognizing which Bay it was at the top end the post.
Mark H: I can't give directions.
Mark B: Call Phantom Couriers (604) 899-5447 to book your appointment. Thanks, Mark.
Mark H: Right on. Thank you.