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Topic: Feedback for maildrop business idea please!, new business to cut out mail drop hassle< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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DustinEllis Search for posts by this member.

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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 17 2013, 12:41 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Hello backpackers, though ive been following the company and subscribing for some time now, I have decided to hop into the forum atmosphere to seek feedback from my outdoor peers on a business venture my colleague and I have come up with. As students at UGA and huge outdoor gurus, we quickly saw a problem with the maildrop/resupply system for long distance hikers/travelers. As you may know, maildrops are often concrete, predetermined packages that you setup to mail yourself along your journey. This usually requires purchasing ALL supplies, food, and additives for your entire trip beforehand, packing it all up, researching what post offices or businesses ro send them to at what time and date, and finally you need a trustworthy resupply coordinator from back home to send your packages for you. All of that set aside, the process is tedious and you may even want to change the contents of your package along your trip. In addition, when it comes to mailing packages, letters, or money to a hiker you support, the process is pretty difficult!

What we are proposing is to create not only a maildrop business for hikers, but a total virtual and online platform where every hiker can create a profile prior to hiking and submit a list of their resupply items as well as dates and approximate locations. Once the hiker submits their resupply list prior to their journey, we will put together an estimated cost for all items as well as shipping, and from there the hiker is set. If the hiker agrees to the estimated cost, he/she will pay via paypal for their maildrop and we will have every package put together for you. Since the platform is online, there will be many other features though, to include the following:
-User profile to act as a personal blog for your hike when youre in town
-Ability to customize your maildrops and save them for future reference
-Ability to update or revise your maildrops, since our tastebuds change consistently. Essentially, youll be able to update or revise your maildrop at any point in time until the ship date you designated. Once the ship date hits, its in the mail headed your way!
-Ability for friends and family to type letters or upload pictures; we take these letters and pictures and put them in your care package for you.
-we seek the BEST locations to mail your care package to; no more "strictly pist offices". And, youll know where your package is by logging into the site and seeing what post office/business it was sent to at your convenience.

Thats it for now, we have a lot more put together but ill save it for some further responses. The overall idea is to offer a simple platform that cuts out all the strss and work required for putting together your own maildrops. We would essentially be your "go-to" guys, acting as your "trail agent". You give us the list, location, dates, and cost of the products,&#58437;and we handle the rest, on top of offering the letters and pictures from friends and family, and your own trail blog/update.

So, id love to hear some feedback! Like I said im a young entrepreneur and I love coming up with ideas to help others, and this one seems a little cool but I need some validation and feedback before moving forward. Thanks fellow backpackers and hike on!

-D. Ellis
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ol-zeke Search for posts by this member.
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 17 2013, 12:49 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I do not want to carry something to log on with.  I want my package to be where it is supposed to be, without any further input.  Planning requires acknowledging food tastes may change.  Last minute changes can be picked up on an off day, a town day, or traded in a group setting like a shelter.

I applaud your endeavor, but it is best suited to AT hikers, and this is not the best place to notify those hikers.  Have you also posted on White Blaze?  


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DustinEllis Search for posts by this member.

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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 17 2013, 12:57 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

oh definitely, you really wouldnt need to log on at all as the hiker, that may have been construed in the post. It would be an offered service but not really required. Essentially you would give us your list for all your resupply packagesprior to heading out, and we would put them all together and mail them to the best locations for you. If you do have a log-in source, however, you could create maildrops while in town completely online. In addition, your friends and family can submit the letters, money, etc. Virtually and we will include it in your maildrop package.

So, to answer your question, no login source is needed, its just another cool feature. I know a lot of ppl who set up trail blogs and update them while in town, so this could be a hub for that as well, but not the main focus.

Yeah, white blaze is my next stop lol. Backpacker has always had some wicked advice on nearly everything so I thought, why not!

Thanks for your feedback!
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 17 2013, 12:58 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

The big reason that I wouldn't use your service is because I tend to dehydrate food for most of my multi-day trips. Meaning that I would have to ship the stuff to you (costs money) just to have you ship it to me (costs money).

ps Why is this in the TPA? You ought to request the moderator to move it for you to the general forums section.


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DustinEllis Search for posts by this member.

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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 17 2013, 1:01 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

do you think if we had an inventory of dehydrated packaged foods people would use it?
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ol-zeke Search for posts by this member.
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 17 2013, 1:06 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Many of us dehydrate the same things we eat at home, sometimes even the leftovers from a meal at the house.  This allows us to regulate what goes into the meal, leaving out whatever chems or additives, as well as catering to personal preferences and allergies.  I think that is what tomas was referring to.

I was wondering why it ended up in TPA myself.  This portion of the site is mostly about politics, and other hot button issues.  BP'er also offers a cooking section, as well as the more general Trailhead Register.  


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"I would rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city on earth."  Steve McQueen
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 17 2013, 1:10 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Sounds like an interesting idea.
Keep in mind that many places out west have little to no internet/cell phone coverage.  It might work better for the AT.

My only other comment would be - using "students" and "huge outdoor gurus" in the same sentence won't hold water with a lot of people.
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Lamebeaver Search for posts by this member.
trail? I don't need no stinkin trail!
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 17 2013, 1:18 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I think it's all George Bush's fault...
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 17 2013, 2:40 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

My wife & I are planning the AT for 2015 (been in the works for 20 years). Your idea isn't too bad, but we're not planning on food drops at all - just picking up what we need as we go. So in the end, I don't see us needing something like you're describing here.

One thing that I would definitely be very interested in would be a one-call shuttle service for the whole AT. Basically we call you the day before (or morning of) we need a ride, and you arrange to have a shuttle service, taxi, personal vehicle, or anything else that might work waiting for us at the trailhead at a pre-determined time. The ride could be as little as a few miles to more than 50 miles into a major town. Obviously the return trip would be arranged as well. We would pay for the ride on our own, but you are the one making sure there is a vehicle waiting to pick us up. I'm guessing you might have better contacts along the entire AT (to arrange a decent service) than somebody visiting from Canada.  :D

Obviously this would be somewhat costly for people to use (paying for the rides themselves + a fee for your service), but I'd definitely put a pretty good value on this type of service. It's not something you're going to sell to kids right out of college, but it's certainly something that newly-retired folks probably wouldn't find too expensive (your service).  

We are planning on having a basic cell phone along with us, but not a smart phone to look up potential taxi or shuttle services on the fly. Having one number to call for transportation for the whole trip would be awesome - it would certainly make supply trips to towns a lot easier!

To be honest, this is the one factor of the AT planning that I wish I had a solid, full trail solution for. If you think you might be interested in doing something like this ... pop me an email.   happy  at  papyrus.ca

Cheers,
Pete


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