In this fast-growing era of e-commerce, the demand for delivery services is greater than ever. Vendors like Lalamove, MrSpeedy and GrabExpress are constantly growing their fleets to keep up. In fact, Lalamove expanded in Penang and Johor recently in April.
But the demand for delivery services also means one higher carbon footprint, mainly because these supply services run on fuel-based vehicles, such as motorcycles, cars, or vans.
This was where Jordi saw a gap in the delivery services market and, as a bicycle enthusiast who wanted to monetize his hobby, he founded Express bicycle in 2016. However, Jordi has not been with Vélo Express since he migrated.
It’s not your average fleet of delivery services
From its beginnings, Vélo Express has been attracting the attention of many, such as Jordi himself, who was both passionate about cycling and wanted to make a living from it.
Because bicycles have their limitations, their services are currently only available in these areas:
|KL City Center||Major KL|
They can cover up to 20 km in a delivery radius and their prices range from 5 to 25 seconds, depending on the distance traveled. This price is pretty standard when compared to other delivery couriers like GrabExpress and Lalamove.
On average, Vélo Express takes just under an hour to make a delivery, which frankly isn’t too much to look forward to, unless you need to do something urgently.
Among those they can deliver include groceries, packages and documents, in addition to performing printing, banking and other tasks.
Vélo Express has no application to book a cyclist, but you must call 03-41611766 to make a personal reservation. While it may seem like a less convenient accessibility method, it makes sense because the computer is still small and would probably be overloaded with requests if they had an app.
Bring your own bike
Since Jordi left Malaysia, Vélo Express has now been taken over by Syahril, who started as a part-time. He was not happy with his full time job and decided to quit as someone needed to manage Vélo Express.
Today, Vélo Express has 2 managers, 2 full-time cyclists (including Syahril) and 8 part-time workers. Anyone who wants to join the company should have their own bikes and their equipment currently uses a combination of fixed gear bikes, road bikes and cargo bikes.
Fixed gear bikes are the usual ones you probably have at home, road bikes have changeable gears and are suitable for long distance cycling and cargo bikes can carry heavy objects.
“We can carry anything up to 5 kg with our special messaging bag, our bike carrier can also carry up to 5 kg and our cargo bike can carry up to 15 kg. The boxes in front of our bikes are they call it racks that help us carry extra things, ”Syahril told Vulcan Post.
Take on challenges along the way
Sometimes the MRT or LRT is used to assist your delivery services on long distance travel, but the team will assume these additional charges without passing them on to customers.
“The heaviest thing I delivered was food and sand animals weighing 15 kg, which we delivered with our cargo bike. And the strangest thing we had to deliver was a big drawing board, ”Syahril recalled.
“I think there’s no difficulty in delivering things, but a difficult challenge is when someone asks for a lot of things at the same time that requires more than one messenger.”
Cyclists with Vélo Express can earn from 200 to 1,000 RM per month, depending on how many jobs they hold. Vélo Express also currently works with 6 collaborating partners (toasters and local restaurants) who help deliver food and coffee beans. These collaborators will pay on request, which will allow the team to earn immediate income when their services are needed.
During the pandemic, they would request their services about 5 to 10 times a month, which Syahril admitted was not so much compared to that time when they worked with law firms and law firms. Now that these offices are practicing WFH, Vélo Express had to find other segments to serve.
It’s a job that really requires passion
Although its concept as a delivery service is still unique, in Malaysia it is unlikely to be easily scalable. After all, despite operating since 2016, its base of operations is still largely in the Klang Valley.
Also, there is no other player in this space that we can find, which points to it being a difficult concept to achieve if they pursue the benefits, and maybe not even worth it.
Every day there are many challenges ahead of the team, from fighting the misconceptions that a bike-based messaging service is less reliable, to navigating dangerous KL roads thanks to poorly planned and maintained bike lanes.
If Vélo Express wanted to expand to other states, they would have to open small offices in those areas and hire more labor, such as team leaders, to oversee and grow operations there.
To add, Syahril was clear that the team does not earn a fixed income and also agrees that, with the fact that cycling to and from deliveries is a very laborious process, it is not the most attractive job for your standard malaysia.
Ultimately, it could be concluded that Vélo Express is a job best done by those who primarily have a passion for cycling and have other sources of income to support them.
According to our interview with Syahril, it also does not appear that the team is pursuing growth in terms of expansion. Raising brand awareness, collaborating with more local brands and small businesses and improving their facilities and customer service is what they are focusing on.
- You can find more information about Vélo Express here.
- You can read about more Malaysian companies we have dealt with here.
Featured Image Credit: Mior Syahril of Express bicycle