By Dacia Rivers
These days, the cutting edge can be a swiftly moving target. The companies that get to the top are those meeting customers’ needs in a high-tech, fast-paced, on-demand world. It takes a brilliant business plan, perseverance, innovation, money and patience.
Our appetite for on-demand services continues to grow, and the business owners who find themselves at the forefront these days are often those who can provide a quality service as quickly as possible. When it comes to trusted, on-demand delivery, Brenda Stoner, CEO and founder of Dallas-based PICKUP, has created a business that provides same-day service for anything a client needs moved. Anything.
“We returned a tuxedo the other day,” Stoner says. “We moved an eight-foot cactus at nine o’clock at night.”
In PICKUP’s first year in business, the success has been measurable, with customers also using the service to transport large purchase items home from retailers who are unable to provide same-day delivery, including furniture stores and warehouse club stores.
Using the PICKUP app, consumers can schedule a pickup at their earliest convenience.
“Typically within 25-30 minutes you can have a guy with a pickup truck anywhere within the 10,000 square mile DFW area,” Stoner says.
PICKUP contracts with a team of trusted drivers, who show up in their own open-bed pickup trucks, ready to deliver. Stoner ensures that each driver is as safe as possible by running background checks, combing through driving records, inspecting vehicles and providing worker’s compensation coverage. Many of the PICKUP drivers are retired military veterans and firefighters, looking to earn some extra cash using their trucks in their downtime.
PICKUP is currently available in the Houston and Dallas areas, and Stoner has her sights set on a wider scale.
“We plan for world domination,” Stoner says.
Stoner got the idea for PICKUP when she was closing up a former start-up business and needed to move items across town. Frustrated when she found no good options for moving a four-foot box across Dallas in a day, she considered how many empty open-bed pickup trucks she had seen driving around Texas, and she decided to unite the two.
Originally an engineer at Texas Instruments, Stoner began her first start-up business in 1994 in the semiconductor industry.
“I love building something that didn’t exist before,” Stoner says. “Patching together a solution, building teams, and mostly creating value for people who deserve it. This has probably been the most fun project I’ve worked on.”
Stoner admits funding was the difficult part of getting PICKUP off the ground. It took her about six months and 150 meetings to raise enough money to get the business going.
“It’s a testament to persistence,” she says. “It’s exhausting, and some days are dark.”
Changing consumer behavior is another issue Stoner has found in her cutting-edge business, but once a customer has used PICKUP, they instantly realize the value.
PICKUP’s drivers go a step beyond other delivery services, too, carrying items indoors and helping to unbox large items if needed.
“We hope to make a great experience for the customer and the driver.”