Whitestone Post now has 25 businesses using its overnight service, and growth is expected to continue, says owner Murray Bell.
Murray and Liz Bell, who operate Whitestone Taxis, started the business a few weeks ago as a way of utilising quieter periods during the night.
Mail is picked up in person from businesses by 4.30pm, which is sorted by destination into Oamaru and national mail. Ninety per cent of local mail is then delivered during the night, with the remainder delivered by 10am the following morning.
Mr Bell said they handled 1000 letters per week and postage cost 70 cents each, with the service proving popular because alternative systems took three-to-seven days to deliver.
“Everything has worked out the way we wanted,” he said.
“We spent a lot of time planning and sometimes plans work.”
He said from a cash flow point of view, the idea worked well, as accounts were distributed quickly, which often meant income was also received sooner.
Mr Bell said initial growth would have been much quicker if they had entered the market before people purchased large amounts of New Zealand Post stamps to beat the forecast price rise from 70-to-80 cents.
He said many people brought three-to-four months of stamps just before the July 1 increase.
The company operated seven cars and three vans and were well positioned to cope with increased growth, Mr Bell said.
“While we are coping easily with the current volume of mail, all we have to do if the business continues to grow is put on more night drivers.
“They don’t have to have a passenger licence like taxi drivers and we have enough vehicles to cover increased volumes.”
Soon, individuals will be able to post letters in the company’s new steampunk post boxes, which have been designed out of old domestic gas cylinders.
Two have already been made and just need to have a steampunk-themed top put on them. Six will be available for use around Oamaru.
By LINDA MCCARTHY
PHOTO: LINDA MCCARTHY
QUICK DELIVERY: Murray Bell, of Whitestone Post, is pictured with a mailbag and remodelled domestic gas cylinder which is to be used as a post box.