Today, anything can be home delivered — groceries, electronics, large appliances, and fuel. Humsafar, an app-based diesel doorstep delivery startup, has been servicing farmers, housing societies, hotels, hospitals, malls, construction sites, industries, banquets, and other bulk diesel buyers since 2019. Speaking to Mayank Agarwal, the Co-founder of Humsafar, we understand more.
Mayank said, “I often used to accompany my father when he visited various fuel retail outlets. It was a frequent observation that rickshaw pullers would come in with barrels, fill them with diesel and ride away. I felt that the risk and effort they took to load, unload and transport diesel was not the fitting process.” He added, “This made me delve deeper into fuel delivery logistics. I discovered a significant customer base that faced challenges of pilferage, safety, and quantity due to such a rudimentary process of diesel transportation. Eventually, I decided to use cutting-edge technology to solve the problem by building a platform that would enable diesel delivery without any safety, pilferage or cost risks.”
Obviously, transporting and home delivering flammable liquid needs permission. The Government of India has amended Petroleum Regulations to enable doorstep delivery of diesel for static equipment and heavy machinery. The government has also released specific protocols that need to be followed for loading and unloading, safe fuel transportation, and rules that govern the process with adequate training. He said, “To operate in this segment, we needed to be a start-up with Bowsers that are PESO compliant, approved, and licensed. This is the necessary regulatory approval that every Humsafar Bowser supplied in the market has.”
The pandemic was a reality check for most businesses, including Humsafar. “The pandemic proved to be a challenging phase with lots of learning. Since fuel delivery is an essential service, we continued to operate and grow in this period,” said Mayank. He added, “We created unique offerings such as the 20-litre Jerry Can, which enabled us to cater to a greater diversity of customers. We have even waived off the minimum order condition to expand customer retention and added high-profile clients such as Shapoorji, Afcons India, KMV Projects Pvt Ltd, and retained existing clients such as L&T and Ferns & Petals etc.”
At the moment, Humsafar only has permission to deliver diesel to static equipment or heavy machinery such as cranes, JCBs, mining vehicles, and other large vehicles that cannot be driven to a fuel pump for a quick refill. The company does not have permission to deliver fuel to customers for use in cars. Humsafar sells fuel at the same price as a petrol station. Mayank adds, “There is only a very nominal delivery charge that the customers need to pay. For instance, the 20-litre Jerry Can service can be availed for Rupees 50 as delivery charge for areas within 5 to 10 km of the petrol pump.”
Speaking of the bowsers and how different they are compared to oil tankers, Mayank said, “The bowsers are managed and monitored by our app-based fuel delivery system. Once the bowser is dispatched to a client location, it only opens when the customer enters a specific transaction code into the app.” He added, “The bowsers are geo-fenced, and they deliver exactly the quantity of fuel that was ordered. Hence, these bowsers eliminate the quantity and quality issues that conventional fuel tankers face.”
Humsafar is operating in 24 states across the country and servicing over 6200 customers. The Co-founder added, “We have already delivered more than 68,00,00 litres of diesel to clients such as agriculturists, hospitals, construction sites, manufacturing and mining firms, and schools. We have fabricated and supplied close to 300 bowsers in the last year.” The company is looking at building 750 bowsers in 2021-2022, while expecting to have at least 500 vendor partners on its tech platform, and more than 50,000 customer transactions by the end of this year.
“Our long-term plans include greater integration of automation and tech to enhance our capabilities further. We are bolstering our engineering services, hiring more resources and setting up regional service centres to establish a solid pan India footprint,” said Mayank. However, with the Indian automotive industry moving towards EVs, Humsafar is exploring its possibilities. “We would explore finding creative solutions to make EV charging/battery delivery convenient and efficient as we advance,” said Mayank.