We recently connected with Chris Coady and have shared our conversation below.
Chris, thanks for taking the time to share your stories with us today We’d love to hear about a time you helped a customer really get an amazing result through their work with you.
Over 2020/2021 a customer using our products/services was able to move from being a retail customer to a business customer. She took the time and money savings to grow her business. Decreasing her cost to ship allowed her to gain greater margin per sale while having the lowest cost online. Resulting in her business growing large enough in 2022 for her to go full time and quit her 9-5. Her appreciation for what “Shipping by ELI” has done for her business helps motivate us to grow our product and service offerings. Win win.
Chris, love having you share your insights with us. Before we ask you more questions, maybe you can take a moment to introduce yourself to our readers who might have missed our earlier conversations?
In 2007 I started at UPS as a warehouse worker – by 2014 I left UPS as a Senior Account Manager. In 2015 I started ELI as a B2B service. In late 2016 we started the shipping store known as “Shipping by ELI” in Mesa, AZ. Five years later we are still in business and growing! “Shipping by ELI” is established and has a great customer base. We have moved into fulfillment, wholesale packaging materials, pickups/deliveries for businesses.
Can you open up about how you funded your business?
Funding the business was difficult. As an account executive in my prior life I built up a solid amount of strong credit. This allowed me to utilize a few credit cards for debt swaps (ex. 3% fee for $10k-20k – pay back in 12-18 months). The best strategy I found was to use one card for a debt swap, leave another open, and the last for backup. In doing this the credit cards were used to float enough money to “kick start” the business. No debt swaps ever went past due – avoiding big interest payments. Eventually we paid down the cards and freed up the credit thanks to an elaborate excel sheet. The experience was a very stressful juggling act but in the end we are left with a business that has value and we were able to avoid investors, bank financing, and actual credit card debt (15%-20%). Decreasing our debt obligations has allowed us to pay our employees more resulting in better service and job satisfaction.
Have you ever had to pivot?
The first major business pivot was to go from strictly B2B to opening a retail store front. We had never done retail but were comfortable with shipping. Over the years we have grown more confident in retail. Now we sell more than just services. Plus we have used the store front to increase our B2B side by moving retail customers to the business customer segment. Resulting in lower costs for our customers and higher revenues everyone. We are excited in 2022 to pivot-expand to doing more pickup/delivery services locally. It’s a great service that helps our local small business customers.
- Website: www.shippingbyeli.com
- Instagram: @shippingbyeli
- Facebook: facebook.com\shippingbyeli
- Yelp: Shipping by ELI
Chris Coady took all photos