PICKUP hopes to pull alongside Uber with on-demand delivery | Crain's Dallas

PICKUP hopes to pull alongside Uber with on-demand delivery

  • PICKUP drivers unload furniture for a customer.  | Photo courtesy of PICKUP

    PICKUP drivers unload furniture for a customer. | Photo courtesy of PICKUP

  • PICKUP drivers deliver an appliance to a home.  | Photo courtesy of PICKUP

    PICKUP drivers deliver an appliance to a home. | Photo courtesy of PICKUP

  • Some of the PICKUP trucks have a custom wrap. The rest will at least have a magnet with the logo.  | Photo courtesy of PICKUP

    Some of the PICKUP trucks have a custom wrap. The rest will at least have a magnet with the logo. | Photo courtesy of PICKUP

For Brenda Stoner, PICKUP started out of a simple need—the business owner had to move something across town immediately.

There are so many pickup trucks driving around Texas, she thought. Surely they could be put to work in much the same way Uber has turned regular cars into ride shares.

That’s how PICKUP was born.

Now, nearly two years and almost 1,000 deliveries later, the CEO and founder of PICKUP sees herself as a major disruptor to the entire logistics model in Dallas-Fort Worth.

“Retailers in particular have a significant problem competing against Amazon and Google for same-day or next-day shipping,” Stoner said. “We give them a means to fight back.”

Typical delivery from a big box store could take a week or two weeks, which has given online retailers a huge advantage as shoppers treat brick-and-mortar stores like showrooms, then complete their purchase with a few clicks on a mobile device or tablet.

Stoner said PICKUP could turn the tide for traditional retailers by giving consumers the option of instant delivery. And several North Texas shops will give customers the option of hiring PICKUP to get products delivered the same day, Stoner said.

Shoppers can go on the PICKUP app from the store to hire a pickup truck driver. The closest available driver will get the job and call the customer to confirm information and arrive within 30 minutes, usually less, Stoner said. Most short-run deliveries cost $45 and are paid through the app. Customers can easily add tips, too.

All the drivers are vetted and have passed background checks, said Stoner, who is a single mom. Most of the pickup drivers are military veterans or off-duty police or firefighters. All the trucks have at least a magnet with the PICKUP logo, and some even have the PICKUP wrap paint job.

“I’m not going to send someone into a home that I wouldn’t send into my own,” Stoner said.

The drivers will often take the time to set up a television or washer or dryer in the home, she added.

Looking to the future, Stoner envisions PICKUP becoming as synonymous with instant deliveries as Uber and Lyft are with on-demand ride-sharing to the airport.

“When we need to move stuff, this is how we’re going to do it,” she said.

The advent of smart phones has spurred the rapid growth of other on-demand type businesses, many of them in North Texas. For example, Lash Delivery brings alcohol and food to customers with its own fleet of vehicles. The Dallas-based company was started by CEO Manil Uppal with the goal of saving people valuable time. 

"Now you can summon things to you," said Uppal, whose business expands to Houston next week. "With the press of a button, things can come to them so they can use their time for things that are more important to them and their family." 

Time is also of the essence to customers of PICKUP, which recently announced a partnership with luxury car dealer Park Place Dealerships, offering customers who buy cars there discounts on PICKUP deliveries. 

“The consumer that buys from Park Place is definitely the type of consumer who values their own time,” Stoner said. “It’s exactly the type of consumer that we’re looking for.”

There are an estimated 300,000 Park Place vehicles on the road in North Texas. The dealership’s reward program now includes a $10 per delivery discount, which can be redeemed up to five times through PICKUP.

July 8, 2016 - 2:05pm