Marvin Walker & His Day Runner App... Mobility Tech That's a New Surge for the Future.
"Day Runner, it’s a hybrid between Fed EX and Uber,” explained Marvin Walker, forebearer of the design.
“It's an on-delivery platform that’s accessible through your smart phone, where customers can go online and find the closest delivery professional, within close proximity to pick up their items. We cater to corporate America as well as the general consumer market.
For instance, if you’re at IKEA and you bought a couch, and they said it takes 4 days to deliver; you [would] pick up your day runner app and find the vehicle size that you need, to bring that couch or dresser home. You can get a driver with the same amount of ease that you would get an Uber.”
“Walker partnered with Black Enterprise in becoming a sponsor for the Entrepreneurs Summit during their official kickoff press conference.”
Photo Credit: Black Enterprise.
(From left to right)Councilman James Mitchell; Economic Development Director of the City of Charlotte Kevin Dick; Black Enterprise President and CEO Earl ‘Butch’ Graves Jr.; Day Runner, Inc. Founder & CEO Marvin Walker; and Lu Yarbrough of Nationwide at the Black Enterprise Entrepreneur Summit press conference in Charlotte. (Image: Day Runner)
The entrepreneur is a native of South America, Guyana. He migrated to the United States when he was 5 years old. The calculated businessman grew up in Bronx, New York. Always looking for that next best thing, he joined the Marine Corps when he was 22-years-old.
"I haven't lived in New York since I was about 16 or 17-years-old. I went to Arlington,Virginia. I saw some guys dressed in nice, blue suits, looking good. I wanted to do what they were doing, so I joined the Marines. When I got out [the Marines], I moved to Denver, Colorado, and then I came back. I've been living in Charlotte for about 7 years. Charlotte is where I call home.”
Walker also frolicked in the entertainment industry for a little while.
“Once I got out the music industry, which was 2008 or 2009, I didn’t know what I was going to do. I knew I couldn’t make that same money anywhere else. I’ve always been an entrepreneur; and didn’t want to get a job, so I was listening to this book, The Millionaire Mind (by Thomas Stanly and William Danko). The book basically talked about how millionaires became millionaires. They don’t get jobs. They find unique industries to get involved in. Either you’re the first to get involved or it’s an area where you only operate in it [that business] fairly well.
I got into it (running courier routes) , bought a vehicle, bought a tax ID, and then I realized that I wasn’t making any money (once getting started).”
Walker went into the trade business with another professional who seemed to be knowledgeable about the courier service. Unfortunately, everything isn’t always what it seems. Walker found himself being cheated and swindled out of his earnings along with his routes.
He didn’t have a contract, and basically, there wasn’t any grounds for Walker to put up a legal fight. So, Walker took the clout he developed, and kick-started another delivery service with virtual panache.
You can bet your bottom dollar that he learned from that cut-throat situation. Walker progressed the service in such a way that competitors couldn’t mock the blueprint even if they tried.
“The first thing I did was called my dad, and told him about the app. I sold my house, and emptied my retirement. I looked online and found developers to build my app. I thought, ‘What if I created an app that functioned like Uber, but instead, I’ll add benefits and perks to the system?’
I put my house on the market, and the same day, I got an offer."
That must've been a swanked piece of property to go so quickly!
Walker had to think fast on his feet. Even though he didn’t have the actual product, he needed to get finances on the books so he could the materials to exhibit.
Basically, Walker founded Day Runner, and manufactured the dream with a standard PDF before creating an actual product.
“I held contracted recruiting seminars at different hotels. I told guys about my ideas. I went to Richmond, Virginia, where I had a bunch of drivers. I rented a conference room at the Marriott, and posted an ad on Craig’s list that we [Day Runner] was looking for drivers.
I contracted like a boss, so that drivers could make profit and not wages.”
17 people showed up at the first meeting. Walker eventually secured 15 substantiations after breaking down the fundamentals of his business. They promised to join; however, that didn’t guarantee contractual agreements, so Walker tried again.
“I decided to try this in Charlotte (NC) since most of my drivers were in Charlotte. I rented out the Marriott Hotel.
38 drivers came out,” Walker said.
"This time, I had a notary republic there, and I had a membership agreement. I let potential members know that if they didn’t have the money, I could finance them. Out of the 38 people, 28 people signed up on the spot.”
Still, with no app, Walker managed to advance a multi-million dollar courier service just on good faith alone, raking in a whopping eighty-thousand dollars during the first month of business. Those who hung in there, believed in the blue print... they eventually cashed out.
According to Walker, there are different levels to the Day Runner courier service, where drivers are able to buy into their agreements like stock. Motorist pay their way in, but triple on their returns.
"Day Runner is just like the entertainment industry, fans want to communicate with their favorite artist. Well, apps give us the ability to connect with our consumers.
I told my drivers, “This is not my app, this is our app. We will invest in the app together, we’ll buy companies together-- And that’s what I do.”
Walker created the app in the semblance of Uber and lyft, so that means it differs from your typical DHL delivery. He also gave drivers an opportunity to choose their shares, making them feel more like partners instead of laborers.
“One of the great things is if a driver doesn’t show up because he is in an accident or the vehicle breaks down, the Day Runner has a rapid recovery feature built into the program. We’ll find a driver within a close proximity [to deliver your packages]. Normally, with traditional services, you have to call around and locate the package. [With us] the customer will get what they want, and the driver will still get paid for the that portion of delivery.
It’s little things like that, making Day Runner totally better than a lot of these other platforms and traditional courier services… And that’s the reason drivers are signing up in droves.
'With any vision that you have, if you believe, you just need to stick with it and see it through. Trust me, there were many day's that I wanted to quit, but my assistant and my drivers kept me going. It looked bleak because I had no idea where the routes were coming form."
After selling his house, Walker slept in his office for the first several months. He did what he needed to do to not only start, but save his business from the entrepreneurial suicide, where businesses crash and burn before they can even take off.
"I enjoyed every minute [of the journey] because I've studied successful people's failures. I learned what they had to put into it [their commerce], so when I'm going through these things, I know I'm doing it right."
Walker recently signed a contract with Amazon. His app is contracted through LabCorp in addition to Ralph Lauren.
Walker donated one-hundred-thousand-dollars to the Harvey B. Gantt Center for Community Programs.
"It was a pleasure. It was the first time that I had visited something like that in Charlotte, so I was looking around and I saw that Bank of America was the biggest sponsor-- That troubled me. I knew that this was a black event, and a black cause for our children. I didn't understand the reason that the bank was the biggest corporation that sponsored, and not one of these black businesses that all these successful blacks have[in Charlotte]. I thought it would be a great opportunity."
Walker made it his business to take part in the arts so that the African American Community, the blacks could have something to be proud of.
“Let me be clear, I take no credit in this alone. It's me and my members that believe in me. We find different charities in the markets that we're in, and we donate. Collectively, we're practicing group economics."
The booming entrepreneur wants his members to have a business that generates revenue.
"I'm up at three and four o'clock in the morning everyday because of my responsibility to these people that are believing in me. It doesn't matter what type of membership they choose. They are depending on me and I have to deliver."
Currently, Day Runner is stationed in Charlotte, NC. The company has about 4,000 drivers who transport in 10 markets.
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