Moving is a frustrating experience. For many people they dread the experience and Northern Virginia based PockitShip is focused on revolutionizing the experience and improving the overall experience. We had the opportunity to speak with Garrett O’Shea, Co-Founder to learn more about how they’re creating the “Uber for moving,” what inspires him and some of the exciting things that they are working on.
What’s your story? Please tell us about you and your background and why you started your business.
As a Former Executive SVP of RedPeg Marketing (a top 25 marketing shop), for over 17 years (where I started as an intern and worked my way up). I left my long time career in marketing to help start PockitShip. Having helped build RedPeg into a nationally recognized shop, serving fortune 500 clients, I loved the idea of building a brand from scratch. I knew PockitShip was the kind of idea that could have the potential to scale and serve customers nationwide. That challenge excited me and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to join forces with Steve Senkus. Steve is a 20 year logistics veteran who had already successfully build NonstopDelivery a nationwide last mile delivery service.
What does your business do?
PockitShip, is the on-demand moving and delivery company revolutionizing the way both consumers and retailers ship furniture, exercise equipment, appliances or other bulky items across the DC metropolitan and Baltimore, MD areas. PockitShip brings transparency to the moving and delivery industries by eliminating hidden fees and removing complicated service charges for easy-to-understand flat rate quotes and offering real-time communication with drivers throughout the delivery process. Our goal is to provide the best customer experience possible, exceed your expectations, and operate with integrity. If you are ever dissatisfied with your service, we will do everything we can to make it right.
Any entrepreneur knows that just getting your business off the ground and servicing your first paying client is a major challenge. PockitShip began with a simple website where we beta tested the concept. Would people even want a service like ours? We learned quickly that they did and wanted it for more than we had originally planned. We started the business with the idea to service the Craigslist market for used furniture and other heavy items. We realized that we could service all sorts of needs from the platform and we started moving small apartments, and joined forces with small local retailers to become their go-to shipping and delivery service. Our mission is to never fail on a delivery for a customer and to provide the best quality experience. Our vision is to be the absolute best in the business and transform the moving and delivery industry to one that is more transparent and consistent. There are over 15,000 moving companies in the US. 50% of them are less than 5 people. We believe we can join forces with both larger and smaller moving and delivery companies to help them provide a better experience by working with PockitShip. Think of the taxi and black car service before Uber and Lyft, it was severely fragmented with no national players.
What is your favorite business quotation?
That’s easy… Sir Richard Branson says, “finding something frustrating and seeing an opportunity to make it better is what entrepreneurship is all about” – That’s exactly what we are doing with PockitShip. Who hasn’t been frustrated or anxious about moving? It’s an old, antiquated business ripe for disruption and we are here to make it a better experience.
Any major accomplishments?
Successfully launching the company, having over 1100 customers in our first year, launching 4 apps back in October and launching our first new market (Baltimore) all within 12 months, feels major to me!
What inspires you?
In life, my kids. In business, it’s making a customer happy. Everytime we get a great review, I’m over the moon because we are exceeding customers expectations.
Could you tell the story of your business?
PockitShip was founded in 2014 and launched a year later in the summer of 2015. PockitShip, CEO and Founder, Steve Senkus and I have been friends and neighbors for over 7 years. Steve had the idea to create an on-demand pickup and delivery company that operated similar to Uber. With Steve’s 20 years of delivery and logistics experience he knew there was a need in the marketplace. However, he was not sure how to proceed as this concept was a consumer play vs. a business to business. With my background, I had vast experiential (consumer) marketing experience which was a perfect for for what Steve was trying to create. Steve and I had a conversation over a BBQ one night and decided that “project X” (as we called it then) could be a good idea. It was a few months later that I decided to leave RedPeg Marketing and pursue PockitShip. The next day Steve offered me the opportunity to head up “project X” as the President and CMO and the rest is history!
I came up with the name PockitShip while sitting at my kitchen table with his wife. After several months of trying to create a “cool startup brand” and paying thousands to brand experts he said, “this doesn’t have to be this hard… where do most people keep their phone?
A: in your pocket?
Q: what are we trying to do?
A: make it easy to ship via an App. And BOOM! PockitShip was born.
The switch from spelling Pockit with an “i” vs and “e” was due to grabbing the right URL and “i” lends itself more to information technology. I also just had a relevant personal experience when I sold an exercise bike on Craigslist. The guy came to my house and the bike wouldn’t fit in the back of his car. After the use of some tools a lot of sweat and a few bungee cords I tossed in he drove away with it sticking out of the back of his car and I prayed it wouldn’t fall out and hurt anyone. We’ve all had that time when the BIG ITEM wouldn’t fit in your car. That’s when the lightbulb went off for me. When Steve told me his idea I said, “wow i could have just used that” and I haven’t talked to a person yet who hasn’t said the samething to me. It’s a lot easier to start a business when you truly believe there is a need in the marketplace because you can personally relate to it. It’s not an idea for ideas sake or just a business where you think you can “make a lot of money” it’s real because then it’s personal.
Who is an entrepreneur you look up to and why?
Of course I look up to a lot of the big ones like Richard Branson, Mark Cuban, and Daymond John. But if I had to pick one, it would be local DC legend Ted Leonsis. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Ted several times and he is one of the most humble people on the planet. He’s an amazing speaker and everything Ted does is about giving back while making money in the process. He bought up all the sports teams (or close to it) in DC because of what it does to revitalize neighborhoods. He’s proof that you can both give back tremendously and profit from it at the same time. He strikes the perfect balance of what it means to be a decent human being.
What exciting things can we look forward to from your company/organization?
My team and I are working hard everyday to make customers happy. If we can do that consistently then we will be able to grow. We are planning for a significant capital raise this summer and with those proceeds we will be able to bring PockitShip into new markets. We are planning to be in 8 new markets by the end of 2018.
What are some of the things that make you unique?
PockitShip is unique for many reasons. We offer transparent pricing and instant quotes. We don’t do pricing on the size, weight, or how far an item is traveling. As long as it’s within our service area, it’s all the same price. Sure there are exceptions- For example, if an item is over 250lbs, but we know most of what we ship is under that. If it’s too heavy for 2 guys we will work with the customer to get them additional labor to get their items moved. Our app is especially unique. We haven’t seen much like it out there, it’s super easy to use and customers love it. Our driver app is one of the first of its kind as well. It was build with the driver in mind and gives our drivers a ton of control while in the field to best service our clients, and they love it.
What does entrepreneurship mean to you?
Like Richard Branson said above, I think it’s about identifying a problem and finding a way to fix it. That doesn’t’ mean anyone can find any problem and fix it. You have to have the right set of tools and skills to address the problem. Once you assess if you and/or your partner/s are the right people to tackle the problem, then it’s about building something. It’s about building a business or company that can create jobs, be a place of learning for your team members, and always striving to be better than you were yesterday both personally and with the business.
What do you think is unique or special about being in the DMV (D.C., Maryland or Virginia area) as a business owner?
I couldn’t imagine a better place to launch a business than DC and the surrounding areas. There are so many different levels of uniqueness. From the “city” to the suburbs you have tons of diverse regions and people to market to to test your idea/ business. The whole area is growing exponentially as well, which makes for more potential customers and bodes well with that PockitShip is trying to accomplish.