Errand agencies thrived as nation was inundated
As unusually bad weather keeps people indoors, delivery businesses boom
As torrential rains wreaked havoc across the peninsula in July, denting the bottom lines of insurance companies and travel agencies to the tune of millions of dollars, at least one sector profited from the mayhem - home delivery.
Business has been booming for the errand agency Anyman.
Anyman’s popular shop and deliver service will send a deliveryman to pick up your already-purchased goods and deliver them straight to your door.
But that’s not all it does.
The company will even send someone to a funeral to dole out “condolence money” on behalf of a customer.
Anyman processed 15,000 orders in July, which was an increase of about 30 percent from June. The company partly attributes the jump in its popularity to bad weather keeping people indoors.
When the company was founded it promised to deliver documents and books within an hour. It became a hit almost overnight, spurring copycat companies to jump into the market. Now, dozens of similar companies compete by delivering - and doing - just about anything.
Over the past month, the service has been especially popular with young singles.
“I feel so troublesome to go outside to eat or shop on rainy days,” said Kim Ji-hun, 29. “It is a very convenient service [...] I think I have used it more than five times last month.”
The service charge ranges from 6,000 won to 8,000 won ($7.40). But on top of that, customers are billed according to how far the driver has to go. For other tasks, like changing light bulbs, (yes, the company does that, too) an “intensiveness” fee is charged.
Other popular requests from customers in July were picking up and delivering baseball tickets, getting cold medicine and paying condolence money at funerals. Not only bad weather but social incidences also tend to be good for Anyman’s business.
When sexual harassment cases at elementary schools shocked Korean parents, some working couples in Seoul even asked Anyman’s delivery men to pick up and bring their children home safely.
Anyman’s owner, Yoon Ju-yeol, 41, said many factors are at play. “Customers’ orders sometimes reflect social moods. Working couples asked us to escort their children home when they were scared by crimes last year.”
According to the industry sources, the number of similar agencies exploded from 10 to some 200 in last two years.
By Nam Hyung-suk, Kwon Sang-soo [firstname.lastname@example.org]