By Nancy Dahlberg

Member Spotlight | Ship Sticks

Business: Ship Sticks picks up, ships and delivers golf bags and luggage to customers’ hotels, clubs or homes. 

Launched: 2011

HQ: West Palm Beach

Employees: 80

CEO: Nicholas Coleman

Website: shipsticks.com

No. of golfers served this year: More than 300,000

“Efficiency, convenience and cost — If you can nail all three of those and add value in the process you have a good opportunity to build a great business.”

That’s sage advice from Ship Sticks CEO and co-founder Nicholas Coleman, and his high-growth West Palm Beach-based company is showing how it’s done.

Ship Sticks picks up, ships and delivers golf bags domestically and internationally to customers’ hotels, clubs or homes. According to Coleman, Ship Sticks offers a simple, efficient alternative to traveling with your clubs in an airplane and, by leveraging the buying power of the masses, tamps down the pricing to make the service palatable and affordable to all traveling golfers.

“Prior to Ship Sticks, it was a very expensive proposition to ship your golf clubs, and the process was disenchanting to end consumers because consumers didn’t understand the difference between the quoted and actual price,” said Coleman. “One of the problems we were solving was to commoditize the price of golf bag shipping and to make sure the quoted price was the actual price so the consumer would never have a bad experience.”

How’s the company doing? The numbers tell the story.

This year, Ship Sticks will ship more than 300,000 golf bags to golfers in destinations worldwide, and the West Palm Beach-based company is growing at a high double-digit pace. Since its launch in 2011, the company has grown from two employees to 80 and has outgrown its HQ four times.  It’s brought on about 4,000 partnering facilities that use its technology and service, said Coleman, who worked on Wall Street, started two internet gaming companies that were sold, and worked for a hedge fund before starting Ship Sticks.

Ship Sticks charges from $39.99 and up depending on whether people want overnight, one day or five day service and how far they want to go. Shipments include $1,000 of insurance and customers can add additional coverage.

“Being a company of golfers for golfers … we were able to deliver A-plus customer service and in turn build a brand that was trusted by PGA of America and by professional golfers as well as the consumers,” said Coleman, a 2 or 3 handicap golfer himself.

What’s next? Ship Sticks has quietly added skis and luggage as other options for people to ship. Ship Skis is being test marketed and Ship Sticks will be launching a luggage vertical in Q1.

“We will also be launching an app that will allow people to schedule and ship directly from their phones and they won’t need to use a printer to print the label,”  said Coleman. “We will keep refining and bettering our process and making sure our customer experience is awesome.”

Coleman said he’s happy with his decision to launch in Palm Beach County, the epicenter of golf. West Palm Beach provided economic incentives that helped the company build out a bigger space and in the hiring and training of employees.  Now its headquarters on Datura Street is 12,000 square feet and Ship Sticks is outgrowing those offices, too.

Still, he says, recruiting talent is a challenge for the county and the city. New condo and office buildings are going up and BrightLine is a big deal – five of Ship Sticks’ recent hires live in Fort Lauderdale or south of there and use the high-speed train to get to the office — but he also believes focusing on improving the education system will pay dividends.

It’s just going to take a while, Coleman said.

“Typically people don’t think of Florida as a tech hub. They think of it as a vacation, and you have to shift the mindset from the beach to business. If you can get beach and business in the same sentence, well, more power to you.”