Back in 2010, David Zwick struggled to get even a modicum of sleep. Zwick had just founded RedCap, a company that provides a personal driver service for its members in the South Florida area. And, although it is now staffed by approximately 200 drivers, in the early days Zwick found himself doing much of the driving, no matter what time of night.
“I would sleep with [a] BlackBerry … on my chest,” Zwick laughs. “I would hop out of bed at 1 a.m. and go drive someone. For the first year and a half, I wouldn’t go to sleep until all of our members and drivers were home safe.”
As sleep deprived as Zwick may have been in RedCap’s infancy period, he learned a lot, both about the nature of the service industry and how he could improve his company. Without knowing that the founder was behind the wheel, members would freely offer advice on how they’d improve RedCap, and Zwick made sure to listen.
Although Zwick, 47, is no longer taking calls at 1 a.m., he’s used that insight gained from those face-to-face conversations to streamline his company. These days, RedCap members no longer use phone calls, texts or emails to book a driver, which often involved a back-and-forth process between driver and member that slowed down the efficiency of the service. Instead, members have access to RedCap’s services through an app available on any smart phone.
“If we kept text, email and phone [reservations], we’d have to have staff that stayed in the office and that would raise prices,” Zwick says. “We want to keep prices down for our members. If anyone has an issue though, they can always reach out to us.”
After downloading the app, new users sign up for either a “Pro” membership or a “Premium” membership, depending on what services they need and how often they plan to use RedCap. Once they’ve signed up, it takes less than 30 seconds to book a driver.
After the member has booked a driver, how they use that driver is up to them, Zwick points out. RedCap is far more than just a designated driver service. A RedCap driver is available to take the member’s car to the mechanic while they’re at work, pick up a loved one for a doctor’s appointment, and/or even run light errands like picking up a few items from CVS or taking their dog to the groomer.
It’s clear then that RedCap has undergone tremendous growth since the days when a groggy Zwick dragged himself out of bed for yet another late-night job. For as much as he has seen the company grow however, Zwick feels there is still much left to accomplish.
“The business is at less than 10 percent of its full potential in South Florida,” Zwick says. “We have several thousand members, but I expect the business to grow 10 times that amount in the next five years, and that is just in this market.”
Let’s hope he can find some time to grab a little shuteye, too.