Ride-hailing platforms across the world have come to solve the challenges faced by the transportation industry. Leveraging technology, these platforms have been able to solve last-mile transportation problems. However, there are underlying issues like overcharging on the part of these cab drivers.
The challenge isn’t just customer-centric alone as cab drivers often complain of the fee they remit to their host-hailing platforms. Owing to this development, Pickmeup a ride-hailing platform headquartered in Delta State, Nigeria was founded to combat the current ride-hailing challenges faced by urban & rural users across the country.
“So we decided to create a platform more favorable to the drivers and the customers. We provide easy web and mobile transportation, flexible ride options, transparent pricing, real-time tracking and confirmations, up-to-the-minute ETAs, Ride Ratings and a feature-rich API for a seamless “last mile” logistics solution.”, a statement from Pickmeup website reads
We caught up with Michael Okaredje, Founder and CEO of Pickmeup who told us how he was convinced that there was a better way to service passengers and treat drivers while increasing their pay so that drivers can make more profits.
Michael has a background in computer science and has built a long-standing career in the oil and gas sector.
Today, he sits on the board of one of the most successful constructions and energy companies in the South-South region of Nigeria.
However, his decision to venture into the startup world was born out of a desire to address the lack of ride-hailing services in Delta State and the sizeable un-serviced market in Nigeria and Africa at large.
“That was what prompted me to found Pickmeup. I decided to develop a product based on my extensive knowledge of the terrain and the consumers.”
How Pickmeup works
Michael explained that Pickmeup is a transport technology platform that allows people to book a safe and reliable ride in minutes using their smartphones.
“Designed with a simplistic UI for users with multi-language support, Pickmeup is an all-rounded dependable platform for customers & drivers.”
The app appears to be extremely simple and very user-friendly – people can download, and within seconds set up a personal profile with a name, phone number, other information, and payment preference, which could be card or cash. And then they can start booking rides immediately.
The Pickmeup App automatically detects users’ current location when prompted and they can request to be picked up from that location.
Pickmeup connects users to the closest available driver. Users can also type an address or drag the pin to a different location and request to be picked up from that point.
Users will get instant notification with the trip details when a driver accepts their request and they can track the arrival of the driver on the map in real-time.
Users’ driver name, photo and car details will be displayed on the App to know what to look out for. Users can also decide to call or chat with the driver via the App.
Users get notified on their phone when the driver arrives at their pickup location.
A user can then go ahead to meet the driver, check the license plate and match the driver’s photo before getting in.
“The driver will take you to your destination and you only pay after the ride is complete. At the end of the trip, pay the driver (if cash payment option was selected) and rate the driver so that we can continue to provide the best riding experience always.”, added Michael
Pickmeup’s competitive advantage
On what the ride-hailing platform is doing differently from competitors, Michael explained that the startup offers a superior experience built on convenience, reliability, and unmatched customer service, all powered by a proprietary technology platform.
“We also offer the most affordable rides while providing a better quality of service. This move has been successful so far, as users are generally impressed with the company, turning them into brand evangelists, helping to get even more users.”
Riders get to enjoy features such as live chat support to resolve queries in real-time, greater fare transparency, and the option of favoriting a driver to prioritize them for future rides.
This according to Michael enables them to have a level of control over their experience as well as incentivizing drivers to offer a competitive service.
“We’ve discovered that the addressable customer base is beyond just smartphone users. While smartphones are crucial to Pickmeup’s operations, we also have a central dispatcher platform that allows us to receive bookings from customers over the phone, dispatch drivers to them immediately and easily integrate them into our system. Our competitors don’t have a central dispatcher hotline that caters for these on-demand bookings.”
Explaining further, Michael said that Pickmeup takes a lower commission of 15% against the 20% and 25% collected by two top global ride-hailing platforms operating in Nigeria.
In his words, drivers have to wait for weekly payouts with no flexibility offered by our competitors, leading to their drivers prioritizing cash trips and resulting in cancellations of card trips.
“We have built a digital wallet system where drivers top-up at will and effectively pay us our commission on each ride.
They can also request a pay-out of accumulated funds which can be processed within 48 hours. This means we can offer drivers greater flexibility over their earnings.”
According to Michael, the relationship between drivers and Pickmeup’s two major competitors is very poor, with constant disagreements and protests.
“We are proud to look after our drivers and believe they are the backbone of this business, this is something that sets us apart.”
Benefits for riders and drivers
On why anyone would prefer the Pickmeup option for ride-hailing, Michael said that there are several reasons its users choose the platform.
The first reason is cost as it is a huge value proposition. Emerging market consumers are very demanding, they want the best value for money, without compromising on quality.
“And our pricing structure enables this, we are efficient in our pricing structures to give consumers the best price they can get while guaranteeing quality.”
Secondly, Pickmeup convenience sets them apart. Consumers are busier than ever, there are more choices for each product or service than ever.
“We provide a platform that takes out the time investment and the inefficiency in accessing day to day services, giving them back their time, while maintaining consumer choice and variety.”
Lastly, Pickmeup holds itself to a high standard of customer support, with a team that is focused on quick and conclusive issue resolution.
Also speaking on Pickmeup’s benefit for drivers on its platform, Michael said there are several benefits for drivers that signup to drive on the platform.
First, they earn more with Pickmeup, since the platform takes a lower commission than the competition, and provide them with a robust supply of ride requests.
Secondly, they are able to consolidate their earnings on one digital wallet, and can liquidate any time, giving them independence on their earnings.
Lastly, a digital record of their earnings history allows them to build a formal credit history, which they can use to access credit.
“Our drivers also enjoy free training and free vehicle inspections. We use a proven business model that caters to the welfare needs of drivers.”
Moving forward, Pickmeup expects to become one of the dominant forces in the ride-hailing industry in Africa.
“Good to note that while we have started with ride-hailing, the long-term goal at Pickmeup is to become a hub for digital services. We will be launching our “Super App” soon, which will allow users to order rides, food, and pay for daily essentials, all on one platform.”, Michael concludes
In February, Startup Grind, a global startup community designed to educate, inspire and connect entrepreneurs around the world selected Pickmeup as one of the startups to watch in 2021.
Featured Image: Michael Okaredje, Founder and CEO, Pickmeup