The ‘Uber of Shipping’ now wants to be the ‘Kayak of Shipping’

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(This post originally appeared on The Washington Post)

Both UPS and Fedex have recently announced they’ll be raising their ground shipping rates 4.9 percent after the holidays, and some additional fees will kick in sooner. That’s not good news for small businesses with tight margins, but a new tool may help.

It’s from a company called Shyp and if your business is in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco or Chicago, you’ve probably heard of it because that’s where the company currently operates. Shyp likes to call itself “the Uber for shipping.” You take a photo of your package, request a pickup, print a label and a courier will come to your location and do the packaging and delivery.  The service starts at just $5 per pickup (plus the cost of packaging and shipment which is discounted based on volume) and you can track all the shipments on a mobile or desktop app. Shyp’s couriers are either independent contractors or employees who get paid per job – very similar to Uber’s driver model.

So Shyp is like Uber. And now it wants to be like Kayak too. Kayak is an online comparison site for plane fares, hotels and other travel services. To expand its services outside of its region, Shyp is going to do the same.

This week the company announced an updated mobile app that will provide a comparison of shipping costs similar to what Kayak does for travel costs. According to this VentureBeat report, the updated app will allow businesses and individuals anywhere in the country to enter in the origin, destination and dimensions of the package they want to send and will immediately see a comparison of shipping rates from multiple services  Once selected, the user can then print out a label wirelessly or send it via email.

The company will charge for the label printing but that seems like a small price to pay for finding a lower cost carrier. For Shyp, the real value will be in the data. Shyp’s CEO plans to use the information gathered by this comparison tool to figure out future markets where the company can expand.

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