What’s Next With ShuttleBee.
Why we’re looking for 251 families to enroll by January 15 for next year. . . .
. . .only 247 more needed!
Our service is costly for two reasons:
1) We pay our drivers great wages, nearly 5 times what an uber driver would expect to make per hour. We do this to make sure we’re on-boarding excellent drivers, and ensuring low turnover.
2) Our insurance premiums are extremely high because we are still a new company
We will never compromise on #1. This is how we ensure quality, reliable drivers who can your transport your children safely and provide you with peace of mind.
On #2 however, we have identified a solution that will significantly lower our insurance premiums, and this will lead to decreased costs for ShuttleBee.
But to do that we need to show our insurance company that we have 251 families enrolled for the '19-'20 school year by January 15.
Please consider enrolling today by reserving your spot for next school year for $199. Estimated pricing for the year will be posted on Dec 15th. Your payment won’t be processed until your route is confirmed for Fall 2019.
Enrollment for the 2019-2020 School Year
Begins December 15, 2018
Ends January 15, 2019
251 Families by 1/15 needed to meet our minimum policy premium, which will take 4-6 months to put in place.
Question: So, am I signing up for service?
Answer: You’re holding your spot for service. You’ll have a chance to finalize your answer if we’re approved for insurance. And since we’ll still need to limit what we offer next year (we turned away just under $800K worth of work last year), we’ll prioritize anyone who signs up inside our service area. If we can’t serve you, we won’t accept your fee. But once we all decide together to move forward, your fee won’t be refunded after that.
If you think you’re looking for routine service and you think you can get at least five children on-board to split the cost (or less and you’re willing to divide the cost), then I recommend signing up. (And of course, consider the source of that sage advice :)
Question: What is the cost of service?
Answer: We don’t know yet, but we are committed to two things: competitive pricing and competitive wages. We’re going to probably offer 2 tiers of service: “guaranteed” which is backed up by an on-call driver at a higher cost (probably for schools and organizations) and “trust and track your driver and pay for emergency pickups in their absence as needed”. Marketing on this needs some work, obv.
Question: Are sign-ups dependent on particular numbers for morning and afternoon routes? Or does that not matter?
Answer: While I won’t turn away enrollment fees, one parent holds the “spot” for the group, meaning new customers can join existing routes later in the year. Keep in mind that we’ll need to meet our minimum enrollment of 251 families, so the more signups we have from people who are looking for service, the better shot we have at meeting our goal.
Question: Will my child still need to travel in a group?
Answer: We’ll still arrange carpools for routine pickups as a primary service, but you’ll have more flexibility on the days per week, locations, number of students, etc etc. based on what the group wants. Wednesdays only? Shouldn't be a problem, since we don’t have vehicle-and-capacity issues. We’ll be able to offer variations we can’t today.
Single pickups are akin to chauffeur service, I’m just not sure where we’ll land on this yet. We’re launching in-vehicle monitoring which might be optional for groups, but would be mandatory (and added into the cost) for solo trips.
Question: I’m a current customer. Do I need to enroll?
Answer: NO, but it will help!
Question: How will service differ than how it is today?
Answer: On the go-forward, you’ll have an exceptional driver who is well-vetted and well-trained and well-insured. You’ll have GPS access and access to telemetrics from driving behavior. We may include in-vehicle monitoring, we’re still evaluating. You’ll have the ability to request a new driver (with cause). All of these things will remain the same.
Here’s where things start to get different: You and your driver will co-manage the route. Your driver will check in an hour before the route to let you all know that they’re on the way, and they’ll turn on their GPS so that you’re sure they are. But all in all, you’ll manage the daily relationship with your driver — not ShuttleBee. And your driver will arrange substitutions for their days off, and manage any challenges directly. We’re here to manage anomalies: if your driver doesn’t show of if their vehicle doesn’t pass a pre-check, we may charge extra for emergency support — or, we maybe we offer a higher level of service at a higher cost that includes emergency support. We’re also here to monitor for safety, promote continued training, reward excellent performance. Details on this will be published before we submit your payment, and after we’re approved for insurance.
If you’re a current customer, let us know if you can help us with market research by asking you some questions on the topic.
Question: I would like to know pricing after enrollment. Do the $199 just covers holding your spot and insurance? Or will that apply to your cost for services if accepted?
Answer: Thanks for reaching out! I'll add your question to the FAQ section, so let me know if this isn't clear:
$199 will go towards the price of enrollment. I'll post tentative pricing on December 15th, but I won't truly know until our policy premium is issued. At that point, I'll have 30 days to pay the policy in full for the year (in April) which is why I'm working to build a solid list of interest now.
Right now, 180 days of one-way service is about $1650 for the year, and that's with the costs divided by eight students. Next year, it's likely that our cost will be $80 per pickup for a minivan. So if a minivan can hold 6 children (and sometimes it will hold 5 depending on availability -- so first come first serve), you're looking at $13 per pickup. OR -- if they can pickup a second set of children in the same window of time (which can happen sometimes in the afternoon) then the cost can go down.
Note -- we do not price our service for solo transportation. The insurance cost is just prohibitive for us at this time. I'm asking one person in a group to basically hold their spot. Once insurance is approved and you approve pricing, you'll have several weeks to organize your carpool group, if you haven't already done so.
PS -- I've never taken an annual fee for service we couldn't serve.
Question: Why are we asking for annual fees so early, then potentially cutting off enrollment, basically, mid-January?
Answer: First, we need to have the $$$ to prepay insurance if we go down this path, which will be due in April. More importantly, we believe we may need more infrastructure to keep kids safe than what we have today, beyond what we’re able to manage with current revenue alone. Showing committed customers means that we are worthy of investment. Which we will begin actively seeking to support, if this goal is met.
We’ll begin enrollment again in October 2019, but we need to make sure we can manage the growth in front of us responsibly.
HopSkipDrive and Zum have raised $50MM to be the leaders in this space.
Food for thought.