As a former power seller on eBay, Kevin Gibbon sold hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of merchandize, but hated dealing with shipping. "The current way to ship things can be really time consuming, difficult—kind of a pain in the ass," he tells Fast Company. "I found most of my time was spent on shipping fulfillment."
Drawing from that experience, he decided to create a service that picks up items ready for shipping, packages them, sends them out using the cheapest or fastest option (depending on the customer's preference), and fills out required customs forms—all for a $5 pickup charge, plus the cost of shipping. Cofounded with Joshua Scott, Shyp on Wednesday opened up its service in San Francisco, where the company was in a private beta since July.
Using Shyp's app, when customers request a pickup, they take a picture of their items using their smartphone camera. The app then shows the estimated arrival time for an assigned driver who picks up the items and takes care of packaging and shipping. Once the order is processed, customers are emailed a tracking number.
In addition to its flat charge, Shyp makes money off charging retail price for postage. Because of Shyp's volume, the company receives discounts from its carriers. Since January, the company has processed thousands of shipments, Gibbon says. Shyp will also pick up and send returns of online purchases, in that instance making money from just its $5 fee. It waives the charge when a customer sends off multiple packages.
As a new service, Gibbon says the company, which raised $2.2 million in September, has to create trust, and it aims to do so by conducting background checks and in-person interviews for its drivers. "We make sure they're as professional as possible," he says. "They always arrive promptly and instill that level of trust." The company offers $1,000 of insurance in addition to what the carriers provide to cover items from pickup to final destination.