How we’ve ended up helping customers move their homes while being a B2B company
As a young company, we try very hard to have focused learning . Senga uses the lean startup methodology and we are building the company, as much as possible, in the same way we would if we were in Lagos or San Francisco or Berlin. This means being as clear as possible about what hypothesis we are validating, information we need to learn, the milestones we need to meet and the customers we want to serve. This can lead to intentional inflexibility — we want to do what we do very well so we won’t serve all kinds of customers at once. We plan to be the best at what we do this side of the planet.
Senga matches freight shipper to transporters. Our primary set of customers are businesses with repeat needs for transportation. However, after we launched our public beta, our first few requests were from individuals asking for help in moving apartments. At the core of our offering is the facilitation of a truck and driver moving things from one point to another. Now, if there was one thing we were pretty sure about when starting out, it is that we are not a moving company. But, we needed to validate whether we could successfully and repeatably facilitate movement of goods in the methods we have designed, and household items can be bucketed as goods. For our first inquiry, we expressed to the customer that if he had all his things ready and some friends to help, we could send a driver and a truck — a bit of a souped up, upgraded U-Haul; he was agreeable. U-Haul is a company in the United States that offers trucks for rent; these trucks are used primarily for moving. They don’t come with drivers. A customer reserves one, drives it, pays a daily rate and a mileage rate. U-Haul can save one anywhere from 50% to as much as 75% of one’s moving costs when compared to hiring a moving company.
We quickly noticed that we knew everything our drivers liked doing — what kinds of jobs they preferred, in what cities, and so on. Many of them like moving jobs and we also know who are best at them. So, we shifted to a why-not? scenario. Why not give the customer what they need if we have the supply and they understand the constraints? Our drivers can sometimes arrange for extra help if a job calls for it. We take extra care in telling our customers that this is a service extended by our transporters and that we can facilitate. So far, so good. The rates are unbeatable when compared to moving company costs since we simply price for movement from point A to point B. And, when extra help is needed, the labor fees are relatively low.
So we said yes to the the second, and then the third, each time holding our collective breath worried that something might go wrong. Each time, the customer expressed joy and promised to return and some already have. What does moving primarily entail? A truck, a driver and people who respect your things.
What we’ve learned is that our customers are telling us the many ways they want to use us, and that some controlled, inexpensive flexibility doesn’t hurt. As a team, we continually ask ourselves the range of customers we can serve once we have a fully automated system. For now, before we say “no,” we make sure we have a really good answer to “why not?”
You can reach Senga by submitting a request online at www.senga.co or by calling +254 712 473642.