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.