By STEVEN NALLEY
Every college student has the idea at some point or another, John Bass says.
Bass said he and a friend now living in Dallas named Chad Barnes had the idea while studying at Mississippi State University as early as 2002, before the Facebook and Twitter Bass now uses to advertise his business had even been invented. Now, Bass says, when you look on the business’s Facebook page, many have posted messages saying they, too, always wanted to start their own delivery service.
“Everybody’s talked about it,” Bass said. “Everybody will say at one point... ‘I wish McDonald’s delivered,’ or, ‘I wish Taco Bell delivered.’ I just actually did it.”
Bass is the owner and, currently, sole proprietor of Lazyguys Delivery, a business enterprise that delivers restaurant take-out, groceries and other items to homes in the Starkville area.
Customers can place orders through either a phone call or a Twitter post, Bass said, and he will handle the rest. For instance, a customer wanting take-out food from a restaurant does not have to call the restaurant and place an order before calling Lazyguys, Bass said; he will take down the order and then call the restaurant for the customer.
Bass said while there is no guaranteed time limit for delivery, he wants to ensure customers spend no more than 30-40 minutes waiting. He said customers can also call him hours in advance of the time they actually want to receive their order.
“So if you know you’re going to need lunch at the office at 1 p.m.,” Bass said, “you can tweet me or call me earlier and let me know.”
Lazyguys does not deliver alcohol, and Bass said that isn’t just because he would need a liquor license to do it.
“Even if you do have a permit, I’m not sure that it’s legal to deliver anyway,” Bass said. “That’s just a road I really don’t want to go down. I feel like it can only lead to trouble for me and other people.
The $5 delivery fee may vary, Bass said. For example, grocery orders with more than five items cost $1 extra per item, he said.
“If people want five two-liters and a loaf of bread, I’m not going to charge them extra,” Bass said, “but if they want eight different items that are on every different side of the store, we might charge them $1 extra per item.”
Tips are also encouraged, Bass said, as current gas prices make the profit margin for $5 deliveries slim.
“I realize that is a low fee, but I like to keep it in college student range,” Bass said. “So far, I think, most people realize that, and they’re tipping pretty well.”
Lazyguys also accepts a different kind of tip, Bass said, a donation in cash or soap to the Global Soap Project. This charity distributes discarded or recycled soap to population in need to improve global health, Bass said, and he has already partnered with about 50 hotels from around the state donating soap to GSP through him.
“I just find it an absurd problem, that in the U.S. we throw away... 3 million bars of soap a day, in the U.S. alone, just hotels,” Bass said. “At the same time there are, like, 3 million people dying a day in African nations because they can’t get their hands on clean soap. Cholera, pneumonia, stuff like that, these are diseases that could be averted just by simply washing your hands. It doesn’t make any sense to me. I kind of felt obligated to do it.”
Bass said Lazyguys also has a website in the works - lazyguysdelivery.com - where a line of vintage-style T-shirts will be available by delivery, providing an extra source of revenue for the business. Bass said the T-shirts would also provide alternatives to an expensive, currently limited selection of MSU-themed vintage-style T-shirts available on the Web.
“(Our shirts are) going to be $20 apiece,” Bass said. “It’s going to be a month or two before that actually comes to fruition.”
Bass said he has seen delivery services flourish on their own merits. During a stint working at a ski resort in Copper Mountain, Colo., Bass said, he discovered a delivery business called Gourmet Cabby in Breckenridge, Colo. that had been open for 10 years.
“I you think about it, they’re really only going to have a lot of business during the winter months,” Bass said. “We’re the biggest university in the state. I know 20,000 isn’t a whole lot, but it’s not a little bitty town. Not only can I cater to the University, but there are plenty of offices and stuff I can cater to. There are businesses like it; there are several like it in bigger towns and other places. That made me even more sure that it would work for me, when we saw other people were doing it and making it work.”
Lazyguys has only been open since August 9, and Bass said the most deliveries he has made in a day so far is 12, but he expects that to increase to the point where he needs to hire a fellow delivery driver. The increase in business has been steady, he said, and Lazyguys already has a following of about 200 people on Facebook and 400 on Twitter.
“I see the need for it,” Bass said. “There’s nothing like it around here.”
Lazyguys is open on Tuesday-Wednesday 11 a.m.-1p.m. and 5 p.m.-12 a.m. and on Thursday-Saturday 11 a.m-1 p.m. and 5 p.m.-1 a.m., but Bass said customers can call at any time at 662-546-0666.
“If we answer,” he said, “we’re open.”