A father-sons trio is hoping their new trunk-sharing service will become the Airbnb of shipping.
Greg Smith and his teenage sons Carter and Alex of Pitt Meadows are calling people to sign up for Trunkit, their new peer-to-peer shipping service.
“People in Prince George and (Penticton) just can’t get stuff around,” Smith told the Western News. “We’re just trying to let everybody know that, ‘Hey, your delivery needs are solved.’
“Those that need to get stuff places and those that are driving all over the place paying $1.30 for fuel, well, we’re going to offset that for you very soon.”
In a nutshell, Trunkit is a new website where drivers can post trips they’re planning to take with an empty trunk. Other users who have something to ship can agree on a price with the driver, pay, and use a chat service to sort out the pickup and delivery details.
“There’ll be user reviews just like Airbnb” so people know who they are dealing with, said Smith, who is a police officer in New Westminster.
Other optional levels of verification will include profiles with names, photos and driver’s licenses.
When it comes to what to charge, Trunkit will calculate a suggested price based on the size of the item and vehicle, cost of gas, and number of kilometres. (However, Smith said, drivers can try to charge whatever they want.)
Smith said Trunkit will also facilitate payments.
“We hold the money until the trip is delivered and then we pay,” said Smith. “So there’s some security with that.”
For facilitating these things, Smith said Trunkit takes 15 per cent of the agreed-upon price of the trip and the driver gets the rest.
He said the idea came when his family was trying to move a couch from Vancouver to Vernon a couple years ago.
“The couch wasn’t worth much, so we needed to try and find a way to get it up there and we couldn’t,” Smith said. “You’re not going to go Purolator or anything else way over the value of the actual couch.”
Weeks later Smith and sons drove the couch up to Vernon themselves and couldn’t help but notice all of the empty trunks along way.
“We thought, ‘There’s got to be a way to find out who is going this way,’” Smith said. “So, the idea was born.”
They approached Vancouver-based web designer Evilnut and after about a year of development, the site is now ready to go.
The site has registered about 100 people so far, after publishing posts in Facebook groups for communities such as Osoyoos, Oliver and Penticton.
However, this week Trunkit will be uploading an instructional video to its website and has a contract with Daily Hive to start releasing video advertisements on a wider scale.
Since Trunkit is still working on insurance options, Smith recommended that early adopters start by using the service for smaller items.
“We’re getting an insurance rider that’s developed specifically for Trunkit,” he said. “But we’re still in the works with that.
“Right now Trunkit would be more for the couch that’s not worth a lot of money or a bag of clothes, a box of gifts.”
Along with adding insurance options, Smith said they have plans to expand across Canada and down into the U.S., and to develop an app if the service takes off.
He said his sons are “very excited to see Trunkit work.”
Sons Carter (16) and Alex (14) have accompanied Smith to virtually every meeting, from business lunches with website developers to contract negotiations with advertising executives.
“Part of this for me is for them to understand how to talk to adults and go to meetings and interact rather than just through texting and stuff like that, but to actually go and have a productive meeting and learn about the world of business,” Smith said.
“It was them and I that came up with this, so we do it as a team. We’re all the founders, all three of us,” he added. “Everything that I do, they do with me.”
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