Bargain-your-ride e-hailing service inDrive has introduced a freight service in SA that allows customers to “negotiate their price”.
Inspired by the e-hailing platform’s business model, which allows customers to negotiate their price with the driver, inDrive.Freight allows customers to send parcels of up to 20 000kg to one another, facilitated through the inDrive app.
The service's transport offerings range from compact cars for smaller parcels, to large trucks suitable for moving or business requirements.
Users are able to receive or send non-liquid items via in-city routes, track the delivery vehicle in real-time and receive their package on the same day.
The service is initially being launched in Cape Town and Johannesburg, with plans to expand to more cities across SA before the close of 2023.
The freight service, which already operates across other markets globally, is targeted at consumers and businesses.
"At inDrive, we understand the unique logistics challenges that small businesses and individuals face," said Vincent Lilane, inDrive business representative in Southern Africa, speaking during the launch this morning.
"We have introduced inDrive.Freight in South Africa to address these challenges. It is a comprehensive solution offering competitive pricing, timely delivery, and the flexibility and scalability needed in today's fast-paced world."
In 2021, the company introduced its courier service in SA, which operates using scooters, to compete with Bolt Business Delivery, Uber Connect, as well as a host of other courier services locally.
In May, inDrive acquired Master Delivery, a global software-as-a-service platform for last-mile delivery, to better position its freight and courier delivery offerings globally.
inDrive says the service operates by allowing customers to decide the shipment details, including timing, location and the choice of vehicle, and negotiate a price – all done via the app.
When customers propose a freight price, drivers can respond by accepting, declining or suggesting an alternate price, without consequences, says the company.
All drivers and their documentation are vetted for security reasons, and real-time delivery tracking tools ensure the cargo is on track, it says.
"Small businesses are the backbone of our economy," said Mike Anderson, founder and CEO of the National Small Business Chamber.
"Solutions like inDrive.Freight, which offer flexibility, affordability and efficiency in the logistics industry, are pivotal for the growth and success of these businesses."
The California-headquartered firm made its South African debut in 2019. It entered the African market in Tanzania in 2018, and has since expanded its reach to 10 cities across five African countries, including Kenya, Uganda and Nigeria.
The e-hailer operates in nine local cities: Cape Town, Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban, Gqeberha, East London, Pietermaritzburg, Rustenburg and Polokwane.