University Shipping & Storage: $100k ARR Business
I'm a proud co-founder of University Shipping & Storage, a student-run storage business that services students all along the East Coast north of Durham by offering the transportation of belongings to and from Duke, along with storage services over the summer and fall semesters for students. Three friends and I move over 200 Duke undergraduate students in and out of their dorms every fall and spring (and each student has on average 6-7 items). Out of those 200 students, 50-75 of them opt to ship their belongings to their house, so we rent and drive 16' and 26' trucks along the East Coast between Durham and Boston.
Note: University Shipping generates over $100k in revenue every year
Above: The Ushipping Team (I'm on the left... in flip flops)
Learnings and Takeaways
University Shipping has been an incredible learning experience for me. We don't outsource anything – my friends and I do everything: physical labor; customer interaction; truck driving; email marketing; pricing; website design; legal; taxes; and more. There's no better way to "get my hands dirty" than this, and I've practiced over and over again how to deal with the unexpected. I've learned how to deal with customers who might have a problem or disagreement, or how to deal with a full truck that breaks down in the middle of the highway (true story).
I wrote a Python bot that web scrapes the Duke freshmen class's Instagram page, and it generates a list of 1000+ freshmen names. From there we get their emails, and that's how we reach them over the summer!
- Website design and upkeep
- Schedule building and logistics
- Physical labor (of course)
- Technicals (i.e. DNS, DKIM records, etc.)
- Customer interaction
- Truck driving