On weekends my step father likes to make extra money. He takes his big dually pick up truck over to Home Depot, Best Buy and Lowes and offers to deliver people’s purchases to their homes for a nominal fee. Bruce makes a decent amount of money every weekend but the marketing isn’t effective and even though he’s a nice enough guy, and an honest guy, there are always people skeptical of hiring the guy in the parking lot with the truck.
That’s where Mike Hanson comes in. Hanson, the founder of CraigsTruck, has designed a service that is perfect for all the people out there like Bruce. Truck owners sign up for an account on the CraigsTruck website, and people that need a truck and a driver, can find one, just as easily as you could with Craigslist.
Whether you’re looking for someone to bring that furniture back from Ikea, or a bunch of lumber from Home Depot, CraigsTruck makes it easy.
CraigsTruck is just a platform to facilitate the peer to peer negotiation for the delivery or as Hanson refers to it Consumer to Consumer delivery.
We got a chance to talk to Hanson. Check out the interview below.
Craigstruck is a platform for online and retail delivery that connects local truck owners with those who need a truck. Our goal is to provide safe, trusted, and fast delivery service for craigslist and other online or retail sources.
We are a network of everyday truck owners who are looking to make extra money by doing delivery jobs, working with people in our communities. Craigstruck has no employees. Work orders are distributed to the network of drivers as contracted work leads and drivers have no obligation to accept. We are trying to fuel community-driven local commerce, making it convenient for both drivers and customers to meet each other halfway.
It’s very simple. Customers visit our website (craigstruck.com) and fill out a booking form, providing addresses and a basic description of what’s to be delivered. The customer’s order is sent out to the available drivers in the area, the first of which accepts receives the order. The driver then contacts the customer and discusses the delivery details – if there is a convenient alley to use, intercom number, etc. Finally, the driver does the delivery!
We want to use technology to improve delivery services, making it fast and easy for people to get a truck on demand.
In layman’s terms, how does it work? (In other words how would you explain it to your grandmother)
It’s very simple. Customers visit our website (craigstruck.com) and provide minimal information to request a truck. The request for a truck is sent to all the local truck owners. The truck owner who is available and wants the job does it.
Who are the founders and what are their backgrounds?
Mike Hanson – I’ve always had a side business or startup while holding down a nine-to-five. I have 2 passions: startups and local outreach, whether its feeding the homeless or putting on a basketball tournament. To date, my most successful start up was a non-profit outreach that put on basketball tournaments and free positive rap concerts for the inner city of Seattle. My educational background is in Biblical studies from Calvary Chapel Bible College Mountlake Terrace WA.
Software Developer – Craigstruck’s lead developer has a degree in Computer Science from UC San Diego. His involvement with the company is a great story. He was new in town and having friends from out of state visit. Realizing the necessity of offering a “place to crash”, he began a frantic craigslist search for a couch and ended up ordering a craigstruck at 9:00pm that night. I personally met him at the pickup location and we did the delivery. At the time, I was energetically looking for a developer. We got to talking – I pitched him the idea and he was in! We are now great friends and colleagues.
Web Developer – Has a degree in Computer Science from UC San Diego. He has a strong interest in user-centric design and the next generation of web technologies. Designed and coded the current Craigstruck website. He fit right in, having known the software developer since junior high school.
Where are you based?
Seattle WA, though we have drivers in many cities throughout the U.S. (and are always looking for more!)
What’s the startup scene/culture like where you’re based?
The startup scene in Seattle is vibrant. We’ve been privileged to meet others who have successfully gone through similar struggles and have taken strength from their stories. Craigstruck was made aware of TechCocktails startup mixer a few months back and became a featured startup. We made some great connections at the event and have since been thrusted into the startup community.
Another great aspect of the culture here has been our customers. They choose us over bigger named alternatives and made Craigstruck a reality. We are really grateful for their support.
How did you come up with the idea for Craigstruck?
I was a full time online trader for 2 years, buying and selling furniture from classified sites. I was able to mark up the furniture over 300% sometimes just because I was able to include delivery. I did well but the business model was not scaleable. I decided at that point to simply take the delivery element of the business and focus on that. I loved the idea of consumer to consumer delivery, which already existed in fragmented parts but wasn’t consolidated with safety features. I called it craigstruck, bought the domain, filed for and received the federal trademark, got the 1-888-craigstruck number (this was tough), built my own website (which was terrible at the time) and went for it!
How did you come up with the name?
The obvious reasons.
What problem does Craigstruck solve?
People often need a truck to move large items or bring their recent purchases home. Craigstruck exists to connect local truck owners with local truck needs in a way that is affordable and efficient. We are the most efficient consumer to consumer instant truck dispatch. Additionally, we provide local businesses with reliable truck owners.
What’s your secret sauce?
Keep it simple. Removing the hassles and obstacles of other delivery options. Scheduling is simple; the customer picks a convenient time. Logistics are easy; drivers are contractors who run their own businesses.
Customer service. Our drivers have received countless positive reviews and often go out of their way to complete the job exactly to the customers satisfaction.
Are you bootstrapped or funded?
BOOTSTRAPPED! We are probably the most bootstrapped startup you’ll ever come across. I sprung for a reliable truck and went into business. Everything else is sweat equity and grind. I gorilla market like crazy, my best day of truck orders was the day after the Bumbershoot Festival in Seattle. I painted my wheels bright green, threw ice cream truck music on and circled the festival for 3 hours in my truck. I have covered Seattle with signs and flyers. I have done all my own SEO acquiring great domains making us #1 on Google for “craigslist delivery”, “couch delivery” and “appliance delivery”.
We are hesitant to take investment money and we have been approached multiple times. It has been both rewarding and difficult starting from scratch, but it reflects the values we are trying to promote: local, small scale, and personal business.
What’s one challenge you’ve overcome in the startup process?
To single out one would be tough, but I would have to say the toughest would be consistency. Recruiting truck owners can be very sporadic, up and down. We’ve observed patterns with advertising and orders depending on which day of the week it is, holidays, etc that have been challenging to understand.
Our unique business model has helped greatly however, as our network of drivers is both flexible and scaleable (it costs drivers nothing to be in our network). But we’re also extremely determined, and no set back has lasted.
Who are some of your mentors and business role models?
My father. He was an entrepreneur and savvy businessman. Although I wasn’t involved in much of the actual businesses he ran, I inherited from him an “I’m my own boss” attitude and courage to be the one responsible and in charge. Now experiencing constant business challenges amazes me as to what he was able to accomplish.
I would also have to say my good friend Derek who used to mentor me on Friday mornings in a past venture. I read the E-Myth because of him. I was also really inspired by the owners of Northwest Riders a small clothing startup I have watched grow organically through passion and hard work.
What’s next for Craigstruck?
We want to grow our business by signing up reliable truck owners across the country, and increasing the knowledge of our services wherever there’s a need. With respect to potential investments and visibility, we mentioned the TechCocktail startup mixer which helped us into the startup scene. We made a connection there who had already started, built and sold a company, and was very interested in us and our business model.
We recently launch our new website and informative videos! We’re constantly improving and expanding our ordering systems and as an example our new feedback survey associated with each job.