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Aussie startup creates ridesharing for retailers

Business

Removalist booking platform Muval is creating a ridesharing service for the commercial delivery of bulky goods, giving retailers access to spare space in a network of removal trucks transporting items across the country.

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Muval Logistics, which was launched earlier this year by removalist booking startup Muval, allows retailers to see in real time where trucks are travelling to, when they are leaving and how much space is available.

By sharing the removalist trucks with other retailers and people moving house, businesses are saving big on the cost of delivery – savings that can be passed on to customers.

The Muval Logistics platform has entered a rapidly growing market for deliveries. According to Australia Post’s 2020 eCommerce Industry Report, sales growth jumped a staggering 80 per cent year on year in the eight weeks following the declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic, meaning courier services across the country have been busier than ever before.

Muval co-founder Mahdi Chardi says the key point of difference Muval Logistics offers is that while standard courier services can move small items on behalf of retailers, Muval is one of the few providers that has the capacity to deliver “ugly” items.

“We call them ugly or bulky deliveries because it’s hard for a courier to handle and requires two people,” says Chardi.

“Usually retailers will have to call around multiple removalists to find the right carrier, but often run into problems if they don’t have enough volume to justify the costs”

“We have utilised the existing resources available in our platform – good removalists and space in trucks.

“Muval Logistics allow businesses to tap into that resource. So if trucks are moving interstate, for example Melbourne to Brisbane, retailers can go onto the website, see when the truck is leaving and book that space.

“You are tapping into a truck that is already moving and going to your destination – that’s where the cost cutting comes from.”

Subscription Furniture start-up Breeze has been using Muval Logistics to deliver almost all of their products since February.

TJ Hoon from Breeze says after trialling a number of different delivery options, including Airtasker, he soon realised he needed removalists to deliver and assemble his products.

“For a courier typically it’s a one-man operation – they can’t do the delivery and the assembly, and for insurance reasons they can’t actually step into the premises of the customer’s home,” Hoon said.

“One of the challenges we faced is that good removalists are really expensive… we used a number of removalists in the early days and realised it wasn’t viable. We then tested a bunch of smaller firms, which caused branding issues because the service wasn’t very good.

“Muval’s rates were really good so we gave them a try and they were great, both from the perspective of cost and service level, so we have been using them since.

“It’s helped us run our business… our model isn’t really viable at all if we had to go through a traditional removalist because the costs are too high… in a way (Muval) actually enable us to be able to carry out our business.”

Chardi says that by using Muval Logistics, retailers also have the ability to expand their market reach across the country, in terms of where they can deliver. He says Muval also offers greater protection than going direct to a removalist firm.

“Sometimes a removalist company will take your shipment and they will damage it and they can say ‘look it’s not our problem’, or they’ll bail out, which we see quite a lot, where they are a no show because they find a better deal somewhere else,” Chardi says.

“So we protect our commercial clients from that – our removalists would never do that – that means suspension from our platform.”

Chardi says the platform also helps removalist firms generate more revenue but cutting out wasted space in their trucks.

“Previously without Muval no one knew about that available space… if we can reduce wastage by 30 per cent for businesses and then get the retailers to find quick solutions and cheaper options, then that’s great.”

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