There is something particularly annoying about waiting around at home for a service, whether it’s a plumber, telco technician coming to connect your internet, or receiving an important delivery that has to be signed for or that can’t be left outside.
Often this means taking the day off work or working from home after being given the vague direction that someone will be arriving between the hours or 9 to 5.
Looking to tackle the delivery space, New Zealand startup Transfervans has launched in Australia to allow users to arrange the delivery of bulky items from stores, or the pick up and delivery of items from one place to another, whether it’s a house move or Gumtree purchase.
The core purpose of the service, founder Brian Karlson explained, is to allow customers to arrange delivery at the specific time they want.
“I was in the midst of buying outdoor furniture when I realised I could only be delivered during the weekdays when I work,” he explained.
“It made me realise that he moving industry hasn’t really changed in the past few decades, so as a consumer you’re only left with bad options: asking a friend for help doesn’t always feel right, renting a van to do it yourself is inconvenient, and existing moving services are expensive and impractical. I decided to solve this problem.”
Karlson has experience in the logistics space, having also cofounded 500 Startups alumni Transfercar in 2008.
Operating across New Zealand, Australia, Canada, and the US, Transfercar works with rental vehicle operators to help them relocate vehicles between their branches for new hires by having Transfercar users drive them from one location to another for free.
Despite the experience building up Transfercar, Karlson said the usual challenges of building up a two-sided marketplace came up in the development of Transfervans.
“You need to grow supply as you grow demand, and vice versa, to keep movers interested and to make sure we can deliver on our promise. Careful planning and a reactive team has made it possible to find the right balance as we continue to grow,” he said.
“We really started by only providing instant deliveries, and our customers would get their items just one or two hours after the request was made, but we realised it is usually more practical for customers to be able to schedule deliveries whenever they want, like the following day, for instance.”
The platform works by simply having users schedule a convenient time for a delivery or house move, with pricing specified upfront and instant confirmation given. For pick up from a retailer, the customer details the invoice or reference number for their item, and notifies the store a driver will be coming in for a pick up.
“Of course we carefully select our movers, make sure they have industry experience, and we also use a review and rating system to monitor the quality of our service,” Karlson said.
Pricing is calculated according to an algorithm, Karlson explained, which looks at factors including the number of items, estimated time, and distance. The platform takes a 20 percent commission.
The startup’s target market is quite vast, with Karlson defining it as “anyone that needs a van or a truck to move anything that wouldn’t fit in the car”. It has grown its service through online marketing, as well as developing relationships with retailers, recording revenues of NZ$1.4 million.
While acknowledging similar startups overseas, Karlson believes the Transfervans model is unique in New Zealand and Australia.
To further its growth, NexTransfer, the parent company of both Transfervans and Transfercar, raised NZ$1 million from Flying Kiwi Angels in August.
Image: the Transfervans team. Source: Supplied.