Mike Shekhtman started eeko Couriers, an environmentally sustainable courier service, with his two brothers in 2009. Despite starting their business in the middle of the recession, the brothers were able to make a go of it by carving out a niche.
“The growth has been exponential year-over-year,” Shekhtman said.
This year, the business was nominated for a Small Business BC award for social impact.
Before starting the company, Shekhtman worked as a recruiter. The experience reinforced his belief in the importance of treating the courier business as a people-centred enterprise as well as a logistics business.
That belief, he said, has been important to the company’s success.
While researching the business idea, Shekhtman discovered there were a lot of disgruntled employees in the courier business. So during the early years of eeko Couriers, Shekhtman and his brothers made sure to put themselves in their employees’ shoes, driving trucks and making deliveries.
“It was big for me to be in the trenches because then I understood what drivers were going through,” he said, “and what the market dictates in terms of expectations from drivers.”
The experience taught him that being a driver is a hard job.
“What we learned for the first three years was to be much more understanding and empathetic to the position,” he said. “I think a lot of people think it’s an easy job, just driving around. But you need to be alert and careful and on, eight or nine hours a day.”
He believes that approach has paid off in creating a culture that values customer service.