The Rickshaw That Outsmarts the Competition

RickshawSometime after 8pm or so, there are a bunch of rickshaws for hire in downtown Austin. It’s a perfect way to get from one music venue to another.

All of the rickshaw operators ride bikes and pull their passengers around town. It’s become a very competitive little business out here.

I met one rickshaw operator that found a way to differentiate himself from the sea of competitors.

He was different, grabbed attention, and earned loyalty that beat the competition. In fact, I was so impressed that I added him to my iPhone contacts—he’s there as “Energizer Phil.”

Energizer Phil wears these funky bunny ears and is the only guy in Austin who literally “runs” his rickshaw business the old fashioned way—the way it all started in Asia—by running his passengers from place to place instead of riding a bike. He’s got a ton of energy. This guy truly earns his cash.

(And the funny thing was, he would run right past the guys cruising along on the bikes!)

His outfit, his hustle, and his uniqueness captures the attention of almost everyone on the street as he runs passengers up and down Sixth Street.

When I got out of a concert, I called him back up so he could take me to my car. And I tipped him really well. I doubt any of those regular bike rickshaws get that kind of repeat business and generous tips.

It doesn’t matter how common or competitive your environment is. If you’re willing to be creative, unique, and go out on a ledge, there’s always an interesting way to out-smart your competition.

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