09 October 2015 12:00:08 IST

Making lives easier for the common man

Raj Baiju

Meet Raj Baiju, who started Rush2You, a local delivery network that offers services in Trivandrum

Raj Baiju, a youngster from Trivandrum, liked spending his holidays relaxing at home. His mother, however, had other plans for him: every now and then, she would send him out on an errand, making him longingly wish, “If only there was someone who would do these odd jobs for me…”

Most of us would wish the same and leave it at that, but not Raj. He thought, ‘Why not do it myself?’; and in September 2013, he founded Rush2You, a hyper local delivery network that offers a range of services from home delivery of restaurant orders to aiding in house shifting. Or, as Raj tells me during our conversation, “I transport anything from biryani to washing machines, as long as it’s legal!”.

In short, Raj began to take up odd jobs not just for his mother, but for the whole of Trivandrum.

Selling the idea

The going wasn’t all that easy in the beginning. Following a market survey and a two-month trial run that received positive responses, Rush2You started out as a one man show, with Raj driving his car around the city to carry out services. He tells me about how he used to go around unabashedly distributing advertisement flyers, evoking curiosity of people, who wondered why such a crisply dressed young man was doing so.

Raj’s biggest obstacle was perhaps the pessimistic mentality of the average Malayalee, who was reluctant to trust a stranger and his new idea. Finding employees was difficult too, and he had to deal with people quitting at short notice, setting him back heavily.

But Raj knew that his idea had traction, and he persisted long enough, until people gave in and decided to give Rush2You a try. “If they try us once, they’ll call us again,” Raj tells me, “Because not once have we let anyone down.”

His claim sure seems believable, as two years later, Rush2You has become the undisputed leader of delivery and logistics market in Trivandrum. It now has 11 employees and several vehicles, offering its services on all days of the year (except when there’s a hartal , adds Raj). What started out as home delivery has now expanded to inter-city logistics, with an average of 50-70 orders being undertaken everyday. While the firm was set up entirely with personal funds, its expansion was undertaken by ploughing back profits.

Further evidence to Raj’s claim can be seen on Rush2You’s official Facebook page, where customers have given it raving reviews. ‘The most reliable door delivery system for anything under the sun’, says one, while another gushes, ‘Best delivery network in the city’.

Serving a variety of needs

Rush2You’s clients include people who don’t have the time to go grocery shopping or pay bills; elderly citizens who need help running errands, and businesses such as restaurants, that conduct their deliveries through this service. Unconventional requests are also not uncommon. For example, a recent call was from a mother who wanted them to deliver her child’s forgotten homework to his school!

The demand-based nature of the firm, where reasonable charges are set as per the nature of the request, is undeniably appealing to all categories of people. The minimum rate for deliveries is ₹90, and an amount of ₹3,000 and above is charged for bulky transport facilities, such as house shifting.

Becoming an entrepreneur

Raj always had an entrepreneurial streak in him, so setting up an enterprise of his own was the perfect option. A degree from Shaheed Sukhdev College of Business Studies, Delhi, and a key position as Procurement and Sales Manager at Diesel Point LLC, Abu Dhabi, provided him with the knowledge, skill and training to go about running a business.

According to him, while Delhi taught him how to survive and changed his outlook of the world, his stint abroad was a positive influence on his work culture and managerial abilities. On the other hand, his job also convinced him that he couldn’t exist in a constrained environment and that he needed to be his own boss.

The road ahead

Raj is now planning to expand Rush2You’s operations to Kochi and Kozhikode. He rules out entering cities outside Kerala, as he feels that the most likely and favourable scenario at present is a buyout of Rush2You by a bigger company in the same sector (which wants to enter the Kerala market). He is also now seeking funds through venture capitalists.

As for his personal plans, Raj has just received a Masters Diploma in Journalism from the Press Club, Trivandrum, which was one of his childhood interests. Though he can’t take up a full time job in the field due to his business, Raj still intends to work in the line. Unlike many who dream of moving to bigger cities, Raj is quite happy with his peaceful life in the sleepy city of Trivandrum. His earlier years in Delhi and Abu Dhabi with hectic schedules have made him realise that big cities are not the most relaxing to live in. “That’s what travelling does to you,” he says, “You get to know what it’s really like to be abroad, and you get out of that bubble of fascination.”

When asked about setting up another business, he responds in the negative. Why? He smiles and says, “I’m happy.”