The rise of the gig economy has resulted in the proliferation of food delivery services worldwide. Just like DoorDash and Postmates in America, there has been a rise in the need for delivery personnel to operate the courier. One recent startup in Ghana, called ShaqExpress is aiming to do to motorbikes what Tap 30 did for the taxi industry in Tehran

Speaking with the Founder and CEO, Anthony Owusu-Ansah, discovered what this company intends to do to transform how people and companies interact with motorcyclist by using the new app

Anthony, formally with Vodafone Ghana and Insurance firm Enterprise, resigned his office job in 2020 to get the ball rolling on his plan that motorbike deliveries with the use of a mobile phone application could become the next big ticket company.

For many including Anthony, the pandemic was the trigger to making this relevant and feasible

“Traditional catering is obviously dead or dying — but with more people working from home, having flexibility, and potential future lockdowns, this allowed us to think outside the box,” said Anthony.

After a lengthy discussion with his young Dr. wife, Elsie, they decided to kickstart.  “One of the key issues with starting our app was to look at bricks and mortar stuff,” he says, in essence, if you can get the basics right other issues will fall into place.

He added that he was fortunate to have been given office space by his father-in-law who believed in his dream and offered him space at his hospital.

Motorbikes belonging to ShaqExpress parked outside their office in Haasto

“With a start of four bikes, ShaqExpress today boasts of 30 riders and nine administrative staff. two in customer service, two in operations, and three including a mechanic in the fleet department.

The company has also invested in the security of its riders.

“Before a rider moves out we have a mechanic that checks to ensure the bikes are roadworthy. The riders have protective gear, such as helmets, jackets, and skin guards. All our riders are licensed too so you don’t have to worry about police issues”.

The CEO added that another issue facing the industry is that there are many risks and high operational expenses

“Sales are slow but expenses are very high at the moment and while the industry is not insured you are likely to record accidents on the road”

Mr. Owusu-Ansah also talks about the attitude of some customers and dispatch riders which have a telling impact on the brand but he is determined to overcome that challenge by offering good customer service and reliability

Parcels ready for delivery by ShaqExpress

The ShaqExpress boss talked about issues the ride-hailing app faced at the start of the business. He said it took a while for people to get used to the app which is normal with any new technology. The unstable nature of the internet in Ghana makes it difficult to sometimes reach connectivity since both the rider and client require internet service.

“They would rather call the office and have riders assigned to them immediately than use the app, but I think it’s better now than before. People have actually accepted the app, they enjoy the experience and once they get hooked on it, that’s all they want”.

“We have had exponential growth – further ahead of our projections.”

The company also boasts of competitive rates which have kept it on the market. “We charge from 10 cedis and above depending on the drop point on the pickup. On the app, the system calculates the charges based on the distance traveled”

The company has served over 3000 customers and is hopeful of increasing this number by 10%

So far the company has had 2,300 downloads through both iOS and Android phones.

One development, he says, is that several new delivery companies are coming online but Anthony seems confident that their strategic positioning makes them intact

 Future Plans

As for expanding to other cities, Anthony says there is no such plan for now

“We want to but it’s an issue of money. We don’t have the resources to expand yet but with the right support we might look national”

Another area of development is the company’s partnership with existing vendors and business e-commerce platforms

He hinted at another potential gold mine of revenue for the firm, as they intend to team up with food delivery websites to speed up delivery time for orders.

Anthony says considering the many industry players that have arisen due to increased demand, there is a need to have the space sanitized.