Subscription Deliveries

Mark B: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. We're here with Mark Huggan of Phantom Couriers in Vancouver, one of the 100 fastest growing companies exploding right now as they expand rapidly during the Corona Virus 2019. Silly season.

Mark H: 2020 man. 

Mark B: 2020. It's 2020, and it's COVID 19. I got it.

Mark H: You're not the only one.

Mark B: That last workout just killed me. So how's it going, Mark? 

Mark H: Today's a fantastic day. Totally positive day. Everybody was happy. 

Mark B: So subscription-based deliveries. We were talking before we started here that you've had a real big growth in that. What's going on there? Give us some examples.

Mark H: Okay. Let's take for instance, an orthodontist. People come in, they're assessed, they're given the program that's going to make their teeth straight. So they're happy and suddenly, because of the pandemic, they can't come in to pick up their Invisalign style braces. So they know that every six weeks your teeth are moving this way. 3D printers are printing braces.

We've got one really smart orthodontist who quite possibly is going to buy every single orthodontics office in the lower mainland. But this guy, super smart guy, said, "Look, my people need their braces". So he fired them off to us. We had 500 smiles we had to deliver. We picked them all up and helped on the back-end due to a lot of bad addresses. People move so we did all the admin around that. We really cleaned up his supply chain and nailed it. And then everybody got their braces.

So we did same day courier, overnight courier, like two day for everybody that this guy services from Lion's Bay to Abbotsford, Chilliwack, and all points beyond. Got them all out there. He was happy because what had backed up over 22 days was out in three and customers were like, "So what's going to happen next month?" And he's like, "Well, Phantom, will be back!" We cleaned up that list so going forward he can focus on getting more clients in the door, getting more braces on people that want to have a better smile, and do what he really loves, which is fix smiles and just get that automated system going out.

So he's pretty happy and all his admin people only have to show up once instead of like, Mark will be here at 10 and Brian will be here 10:15 and the next guy will have to wait until 11 because, you know, social distancing. We were able to safe drop them all with photographs, call the person, and leave them at the door. The customers can do what they want, like if they want to leave it and wait two days or if they want to pick them up with tongs or whatever. It makes everybody comfortable and it made that business get back into functioning. It's awesome. I'm pretty happy to see that one. It was good.

I made the decision on January 1st to take care of myself. Oh, COVID-19. Things happen. Lots of dieting, people eating healthier, and seeing counsellors and stuff. And so everybody knows the name Jenny Craig. So Jenny Craig in the US they got going with Postmates. There was nothing to fill the void up here in Western Canada so they called me up and now we're picking up frozen and chilled food from the nutritionists and taking it out to people in these really cool thermal bags with ice packs. We're doing that for Victoria, the lower mainland and Kelowna.

So, you know, a big footprint. We're getting a lot of work done, dropping off the bags and not having the customers return them so there's no fear of contaminated bags going into the system. So that's not cheap for Jenny Craig and they caught the ball and they're like, "we can't give these bags back. Just write them off." You know, it's the cost of COVID. So that's really cool. And admirable. You've got to admire somebody who's not trying to cut costs here. They're really taking care of their customers because if somebody gets where they want to get, and if they get that goal, they're going to tell a thousand people. So that subscription-based thing was pretty cool to talk to them about. It was a good deal. I liked it.

And then of course, local entrepreneurs that like Ecom, Shopify and Etsy entrepreneurs, there's just billions of them. Everybody's got a great idea, you know. Face masks for one thing. People are stitching them up and they're like, I'm going to sell this in my Shopify website.

Expect all these delays for Amazon and Canada Post because they have the plugin and you're kind of a slave to the plugins for FedEx, UPS, all that stuff. So I've been calling around like, "How do I get a plugin?" They're like "Give me $30,000." And I'm like, "How do I get a plugin? I'm not giving you $30,000."  Like, forget it man. I'm not going to do it. 

So I kinda did the old Phantom Courier DIY way and we've kind of hacked up a good push notification system that we'll be testing out with a couple of stores in the neighbourhoods where our office is.We'll probably have to get somebody to transfer it into the digital waybill system we've got and we might use Zapier to automate it. So we're going to have a push to Phantom to Zapier to, Digital Waybill. It should work and this could put a big crack in it and make it nicer because if your customer is waiting four or five days for this thing, they're going to forget about it. Then they get worried. Then they start calling you. Then you gotta stop what you're doing and deal with it. But if we can do it, we'll do it same day. They're going to be impressed. They're going to come back. So these opportunities are evolving and they're pushing us to, think of how to solve problems.

Be problem solvers. This is what we love to do because the day flies when you're solving problems, you know. It's like, Oh, I gotta think about this. This is cool. Try it. Works good, didn't work good. I now know what to do or not to do. So we're having a pretty awesome week. 

Mark B: Awesome. 

Mark H: Everybody's stoked, it's like good work. You know, like people are happy. It's hard work and we're making it happen is what we'd like to do. 

Mark B: You also mentioned you might be looking for a virtual assistant.

Mark H: Oh yeah. I've got so many ideas. It's like, my staff here are, you know, project managers, operation managers, CSRs, call takers. A lot of times I'm like, "Can you just do this? Can you just develop all this for me? Can you go get some data and filter it out for me?" And it's like, "Yeah." But it never gets done. So I'm definitely looking for a really good assistant, and obviously it's going to be a virtual assistant at this point, but somebody might want to jump on a team of a very fast thinking, growing company. It's fun. Thanks for asking. Are you applying? 

Mark B: I have a gig. 

Mark H: I know you do. You've got a good gig. Right on.

Mark B: So there you go. If you need a package delivered any time anywhere, Phantom Couriers are the guys to call. You can reach them at (604) 899-5447. You got to call and book cause they're busy, but they're working seven days a week.

They are delivering to the Sunshine Coast and Nanaimo now soon to be in Kelowna within the next couple of weeks. 

Mark H: We're always there, but we're going to be full-time. Our hours on weekends are limited hours from 10am to around 3pm, but if you call us at 2:59 and need something done quick, we're there for you. So the weekends are expanding rapidly. Clearly Contacts, a big client of ours, we always do their same day. We're having a talk tomorrow, so we might be rolling out their weekends and that'd be great because it will keep the couriers more active. So if you need us later in the day, we're there for you.

Mark B: Phantom Couriers. It's all happening. If you want a package delivered, give him a call. Thanks, Mark. 

Mark H: You're right on, man. Thank you.