Just as some folks have church nights, scout weekend outings or some other organizational event to attend, we come to Ohio every second weekend of each month. My husband, Jeff, and I have been making this trek from the Chicago area regularly since the summer of 2013.
Well, certainly, we get to see our Ohio family much more often. We also enjoy meeting people and have made many new friendships over the past several years.
But, more importantly, we got into this business of intermediary transport of Filipino balikbayan boxes because of what we were hearing from our friends and family. We listened as they complained of poor service from other agents or simply the lack of any such service for balikbayans in smaller Ohio communities.
We decided to test a unique “door-to-door” service, based on a regular route with a published monthly schedule here on our existing website, Padyaks.com. After all, how many of you want to heft 150-pound boxes into your vehicle and drive an hour or two to the nearest balikbayan box drop-off location? Then, we signed up as an agent for LIPS, a company with a proven track record in cargo container shipping – a company run by folks who are eager to prove they are the best shippers in the balikbayan cargo business.
Yet…we sometimes ask ourselves, “Are we crazy?”
Building this kind of business relies a lot on building relationships. We thrive on meeting and serving both our new and regular customers face-to-face. And, while traveling to each customer’s home at no extra charge is not the easiest or most cost-effective way to run things, we believe, in the long-run, it is the best way to maintain a solid reputation for good, reliable service.
There are some who tell us we need an office or someplace where Filipinos can drop off their boxes at times other than our scheduled trips. Yep. We get that…especially now, as we’ve been getting more calls from way up in the northeast corner of Ohio. How can we provide door-to-door service from our usual stops in the Dayton, Columbus and Cincinnati areas and expect to add Cleveland to the mix during a single weekend run?
Add to that another big challenge – getting that first box to a new customer. Not everyone just happens to have an empty balikbayan box lying around – certainly not one as sturdy as the Mighty Box from LIPS. But we’re working on these issues, and we hope to make improvements in the months ahead.
We’re still here.
There were some big hurdles thrown our way, just as we started out in 2013. First, it was Super Typhoon Yolanda, followed by the cargo container backup in Manila and, more recently, the increase in customs inspections of balikbayan boxes in both the Philippines and the U.S. These events all caused delivery times to soar to four months or more, affecting ALL shippers.
To those of you who understood and stayed with us, thank you! We’re still making our monthly trips, and, fortunately, shipping times have come back down a bit, recently.
Please tell your friends…and we hope to see you again, soon!