Saturday, January 19th, 2013
This week in Spotlight on Business, we were lucky enough to interview Rob Durie at FROGBOX. An environmentally-friendly moving supply company, FROGBOX deliverers large, green, easily-stackable containers to you when you move, retrieving them when you’re finished.
If their boxes look familiar, you might recognize them from Dragon’s Den. On the show, all of the investors liked FROGBOX and two invested.
Not a fan of the show, but the boxes are still familiar? If you’ve ever worked in the back room of a store or a warehouse, you’ll notice that FROGBOX uses the type of hard-shelled boxes favoured by people who have to move a lot of inventory all the time. To me, renting the sorts of supplies that the pros use makes a lot of sense. The boxes are eco-friendly, sturdy, and you don’t have to make desperate, repeated trips to grocery stores and LCBOs to find them.
FROGBOX is a franchise, which means that when I sat down with Rob I was talking to the Ottawa region’s one and only director. He tells me that his ability to make moving less stressful for his customers is what makes his job worthwhile; it’s why he’s willing to work at this all day, every day. At Kickit we love that kind of passion, and it’s great to see that Rob’s commitment is paying off. FROGBOX, as a company, is growing quite quickly; they are now in 22, soon to be 23 cities, in Canada and 3 in the USA.
How did FROGBOX get started?
FROGBOX began in 2008, and I started my franchise in 2011. The company was started by a man named Doug Burgoyne. Doug was tired of his job in communications and had the idea to repurpose the boxes that he used commercially. FROGBOX was started in Vancouver. As an environmentally-conscious city, it was open to the idea of the business. The name FROGBOX comes from local frog preservation efforts. Franchises started spreading after that (with 15 in business when Dragon’s Den took place) and the rest is history.
As for myself, I was also looking for a change of pace, too, when I opened my franchise. I had a job that I could have stayed in forever, but I needed more than that. I partnered with Peter Hauderowicz of the company PODS and started Ottawa’s FROGBOX location.
What motivates you?
I like seeing people happy, and our customers are usually very impressed with our services. Moving is difficult, and my job is to make it easier. If a customers needs me there at 10 am, I’m there at 10 am, rather between the hours of 10 and 8 like other companies are. If they need to reschedule, we can do that, too. It’s about making the move easier.
In the entire two years I’ve been doing this, I’ve never had any negative feedback. After our customers use FROGBOX, we ask them to fill out a satisfaction survey online. They tell us that our location in Ottawa is 93% successful at what we do; the company overall is at 90% success.
What’s your marketing strategy like?
At FROGBOX we rely heavily on word of mouth. Our presence on Dragon’s Den really helps. So does providing quality service – people will recommend you to their friends. It’s also always a good idea to try and provide service to people who are in a position to do you a good turn in exchange. For instance, I helped a local realtor with a move, and she recommended me to her clients. Networking like this is beneficial to everyone – customers and companies alike.
In general, we try to do things that are free as often as possible. When the company was started out Vancouver, this meant using Craig’s List. In Ottawa, we use Kijiji and other free services. We like Google Docs, too. As a company, we believe in working locally and without creating a negative environmental impact, and working in this way helps us with our goals.
What advice would you give to a start up?
Find something that you want to do and do it well. You’ll never know what you’re missing until you try.
And last but not least, what’s your best moving tip?
Save some stress, use FROGBOX!