They start parcel business in the midst of – and thanks to – the crisis

-“Excuse me. Can you get me a washerman? “

-“Yes. Of course I can!”.

If the question seemed strange to Lenín Gutiérrez, owner of the parcel company ‘Ya Llegué’, which makes deliveries by motorcycle, the answer was more so for the client, a citizen who was building his house in San Jorge, about four kilometers away, and eventually he would need cement and sand delivered as well.

Like Gutiérrez, more than half a dozen entrepreneurs found a space in their cities to start home package delivery businesses (Door to Door, or Door to Door, as this type of service company is known), which emerged around the socioeconomic crisis of 2018, and underpinned by the quarantine that citizens applied voluntarily in response to the covid-19 epidemic.

The fear of being infected with SARS-CoV-2, induced people to stay at home, while companies looked for forms of organization to operate remotely, or with a reduced presence, in cases where that was possible. .

CONFIDENCIAL spoke with three entrepreneurs who took advantage of the possibilities offered by technology to offer a service: Edwin Espinoza, from ‘Ay Voy’, which operates in Chinandega, and Keyner Sáenz, from ‘Mandados Express’, which serves in Matagalpa, as well as with Gutiérrez, from Rivas, who said that the one who made the heavy request was “one of our special clients”, who told him “it doesn’t matter how you are going to do it or how much you are going to charge me, and he was surprised because we gave him a positive response and on the same day ”.

If he can be proud of having made such a voluminous delivery, Espinoza can boast of the level to which he has taken his business, which already has an App of its own design, as well as Sáenz, who claims for himself the honor of being the first in detecting the existence of that need, and having put to work.

Mandados Express, in Matagalpa

Sáenz started his business on December 22, 2017, “because we were always eager to undertake; thinking about what business to start, and I saw that there was a need ”for a parcel company, so he searched the Internet, and could not find anything similar in Nicaragua. The closest thing was Mexico, which inspired him to start.

As in this type of personal undertaking , it began with the help of family members who became its first clients, as they were the first to request its services. The customer base grew “due to word of mouth, but also because people identified that this need existed”, until the interview with Radio Stéreo Yes, which reached 200,000 people, was its definitive boost.

After that, he looked for every business that could be a potential partner, especially those that had their own delivery system, to convince them to work with Mandados Express, because that meant savings for them in salaries, fuel, vehicle maintenance, etc. ., And he achieve it. “Even the restaurants came with us,” he recalls.

If at the time of launching the service, he and his cousin Heberto Leonel Sáenz, took turns on the only motorcycle available, after the radio interview on Stereo Yes, they repaired a motorcycle that they had available and bought another, to be able to hire two more couriers .

Then came the April 2018 Rebellion, which boosted the business because people were afraid to leave their homes. 2020 had the same effect, to the point that if before 2018 they made 60 to 70 errands per day, the demand rose to 150 daily, and made it necessary to hire additional staff, up to 14 couriers, of which ten are still with the company at this time, plus five in the administrative area.

Contracting their digital advertising with Diseña, a company specialized in the field, made clients see Mandados Express as a more serious undertaking, which helped to strengthen its presence in Matagalpa.

Today the service has become so diversified that they receive orders from abroad to buy and deliver bouquets of flowers for a birthday; make purchases in the supermarket to deliver it in the city, previous payment by Western Union; in addition to paying for basic services, online shopping, taking dogs to be vaccinated, etc.

Claiming to be the first company of its kind in the country, Sáenz says that “after us, others arose in Nicaragua, and now they work with me. I located the companies that work in the rest of the departments to create a network of shipments throughout the country ”.

‘Ay Voy’, in Chinandega

Although the specialty of Edwin Espinoza, owner of ‘Ay Voy’ is computing, and not language, he knows well that the correct way to write the name of his company is ‘Ahí Voy’, but he wrote it ‘Ay Voy’ thinking in which the writing reflects, as accurately as possible, the way in which that phrase is pronounced in Nicaragua.

‘Ay Voy’ is an initiative that emerged in September 2018, after Espinoza was fired from the microfinance company for which he worked, which was forced to reduce staff to face the socioeconomic crisis that broke out that year.

The service started as a sole proprietorship that actually had two employees : Edwin himself, who did the shopping and delivered the errands, and his wife, who was the first person in charge of taking the orders over the phone.

When Chinandega became the first capital of the covid-19 in Nicaragua, people felt the fear and realized that it was better to outsource the risk, entrusting their purchases to Espinoza, who was forced to hire additional couriers to face the increase in demand, while refining and increasing the digital options available for their customers to communicate with the company.

The most important application is WhatsApp, because “people are used to doing everything on WhatsApp”, but Espinoza took advantage of his computer skills to design his own application, which has been available on the Play Store since February 19. “Along the way, some updates have been made, because new businesses have entered it,” he says.

As designed at the moment, the application has a section for restaurants and fries, as well as a section for fast food such as pizzas, hamburgers and hot dogs. Also a trade section, which includes a toy store; and one of assistance services, to bring fuel – even outside the city – to a driver who requires it.

They can also provide a taxi, a locksmith, a nurse, and even a doctor, who pay a commission to put them in contact with customers, “and even ATM service, so if someone needs us to bring them cash, they ask us the transfer, (including the respective commission); we withdraw the money, and we take it home, “said the small businessman.

Given the multiple payment options offered by banks, ‘Ay Voy’ receives orders from clients abroad, who point out the products they want to deliver to their relatives in the city – which sometimes includes cash – and pay the online service.

“The Internet is not only for entertainment, but to use the tools that it offers us. Now, with this new reality, we try to adjust to the demands of our clients ”, he explained.

The entrepreneur revealed to CONFIDENCIAL that he has already taken the next step in the direction of expanding his service area and going beyond the city of Chinandega, after last week he began to put up announcements to inform that they are already serving clients in El Viejo.

“At this moment I am attending personally. When we’re positioned, I’m going to hire someone from the place to take over. Later, I will do the same in Chichigalpa to add cities and municipalities ”, he explained.

‘I already arrived’, by Rivas

Lenín Gutiérrez, owner of the rivense ‘Ya Llegué’, is, of the three, the most novel in that business, which began on April 29, 2019, in part, at the request of Edwin Espinoza, who was his co-worker in the microfinance company from which they were both fired in 2018.

He remembers that he was unemployed for several months, until the company that had fired him rehired him in February 2019. Edwin had insisted many times that he start a parcel delivery business in Rivas, but that seemed crazy, an idea that he he was reinforced by the opinions of his friends.

In April 2019 he decided to invest $ 100, sure it was money he was wasting, but he started putting ads on Facebook. “It was a tough fight, creating expectations in social networks, thinking not of generating an income for myself, but to help two sisters, and a friend,” whom he supported on weekends.

His reason is that he was still working for the microfinance company, but also because at that time he had a small business of four to five people, which provided collection services to another microfinance company.

Remember that the first day they ran an errand. Only one, but he told his staff not to be discouraged, and began visiting local businesses to offer his delivery service. “To those who asked me why I called ‘Ya Llegué’, I explained that it was because a friend from Chinandega called his business ‘Ay voy’, so in Rivas it is ‘Ya Llegué’, he confirms.

From that early period, he remembers that “Edwin encouraged me. I told him I would continue, and here we are ”. In fact, since he could no longer attend to all three jobs, he resigned from the microfinance company in June 2020, to focus on a business that grew as the Covid-19 epidemic increased.

The pandemic increased the request for errands, which went from oscillating between 40 and 50 per day, to 60 and up to 70 per day. This led him in the moments of greatest demand, to have five messengers, plus one person in the administration of the business.

In addition to the fear of contagion, digital options such as WhatsApp and Messenger were decisive to facilitate his day to day, with customers contacting him from within and outside the country, although there are others who prefer to call by cell phone, be it to order a purchase at the supermarket; a birthday cake, or cash.

Lenín has no plans to offer his services outside of Rivas, because he feels that the relationship with his clients is based on absolute trust, which can only be generated between people who know each other. In any case, if you have to make a delivery outside the department, you have the network of similar companies that have coordinated to take packages beyond your environment.

About author


A vernacular business entrepreneur, Rachel initiated her startup from scratch with experience serving various well-known firms. She loves writing and devotes her spare time writing business news for Euro News Daily.
Rachel Cambron
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