Idea: "Ships on Demand" Ordering Service (Looking for Feedback)

We’re all familiar with services like PushX or Red Frog Freight, that can move stuff you already own from Point A to Point B. But what if you want something you DON’T yet own delivered to somewhere outside the usual trade hubs? (And don’t want to go through the tedious and annoying “request items from buyer” interface in a contract!)

The instinctive thing–which I assume most people do now–would be to log in with an alt sitting in Jita 4-4, buy what you want, and then use a courier service. But I wonder if there’s a viable business model that can combine purchasing and delivery into one step.

PLEASE NOTE that everything below here is all just thoughts in my head at this point.
THIS IS NOT A LIVE SERVICE, just a proposition I’m asking for input on.

Since most things in EVE are ships or go into ships, I envisioned this as a Made-To-Order ship delivery service. You send the corp a fit, we build it (if we don’t have it in stock already) and deliver to your station of choice fully assembled and fitted. Pricing would ideally be structured in such a way as to be cheaper than the previously-mentioned Jita alt + courier method.

Obviously this wouldn’t be geared towards the big null-sec alliances since they already have their own dedicated logistics wings that supply their fleets with doctrine-fit ships. And I admittedly don’t have first-hand experience running a corp in EVE. So here’s where I need your help:

Question 1: Does this already exist somewhere that I just haven’t found yet?
Because that is totally possible. I doubt I’m the first player of this game to have the idea of “Amazon in space.”

Question 2: How many corps/players would be interested in this service?
I imagine that if you’re not a big null-sec group that has its own logistics team pumping out ships constantly your corp’s ship needs lie somewhere on this spectrum:

  • Our pilots supply their own ships, possibly with reimbursement from the corp
  • We build or buy ships infrequently, usually just enough to have backups in case of emergency
  • We build or buy ships regularly to supply a Ship Replacement Program

Where on this spectrum do most corps lie, and how attractive would a fitted ship delivery service like this be to them?

Question 3: What would make this service most attractive?
How fast or cheap or large would orders have to be to seem worthwhile to customers? Basically, is it even possible for an outside corporation to offer a better alternative to whatever the average corp or player does now to supply themselves with ships?

For instance, for an individual player who likely doesn’t know what ship they want to fly and then needs it now, this service would likely be too slow or expensive to be worthwhile. But to a corp that knows that X ship or Y fit is always in demand, I imagine being able to send a fit via EVE mail (or maybe even a 3rd-party tool if I could get someone who could do that) and then having the desired quantity delivered to your home base and paid via contract would be a major time-saver.

TL;DR I want to make the EVE version of Amazon/GrubHub/UberEats/PostMates, where you order a ship (fit to your liking) and have it delivered to the station/Upwell structure of your choice. Good idea or bad idea?

What if people just troll and tell you to buy them a ship then after delivery don’t take it.You lose money since you’ll have to resell it and parts on the market if it’s rigged on contracts and waste time and there’s no way they’d pay the cost upfront since it can’t be done with colateral

I think it is a good idea.

Personally, I ordered several hundred hulls this year for a project I was working on, and I ordered them directly from the manufacturer, rather than purchasing at a trade hub precisely because I wanted to throw reliable people business, and I didn’t want any suspicion of what I was doing to be ferreted out by trade hub suppliers.

We worked out the numbers and where the hulls were to be delivered, past that point different people were involved with the fittings, and yet more people were involved with transporting the fitted ships to specific destinations.

Now, this was not a common event for me; but I imagine I am not alone in doing something like this either, so yes, I can see this being an EVE business.

I think your biggest problem would be connecting with customers.

I think being flexible. My order was probably very rare, considering I’m a private individual and was not ordering on behalf of a corp. However, for a small group of weekend warriors, in a predominantly pvp corp/group, who are without an indy player/wing to supply them this type of service might be very valuable, if they knew you would deliver the ships (so you’d need to be reliable.)

Dread Saboteur does have a point. People might try to cheat you, and almost certainly a small number will definitely try to cheat you, so you’d just have to build that into your business plan.

For myself, I paid upfront for each lot of hulls/modules, once one group was delivered I placed the next order. So, while initially we were all working in good faith, each payment and delivery affirmed that good faith.

You would have to build a reputation for reliability, and vet your potential customers carefully.

And you would have to be discrete about your clients business orders, for a variety of reasons.

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You bring up a good point re: trolling. The only solution I have at the moment is some form of “down payment” system where the customer pays either the hull price or half the total cost upfront, but I’m sure that won’t deter every troll, particularly those with ISK to burn. The other downside is it would require keeping an updated price list available somewhere, and I’m pretty sure that character limits on things like corp/character bios would be an obstacle to that.

But as you mention, with it being impossible to use the collateral mechanic (without adding more steps for the customer, that is), I am wary of my initial prospective clients thinking my whole business is a scam if they have to pay upfront with no way of insuring that money, which is part of why I instinctively went for a “payment upon receipt” method. Seems there’s no perfect solution (at least that I can think of) that solves both issues of protecting the company from scams and not giving the impression that the company IS a scam!

Perhaps sending out freighters periodically to pick up unclaimed orders will just have to be a fact of life for this sort of business. I’m hoping, though that the legitimate orders will outweigh the trolls enough to make that feel like a minor grievance.

It would work if you have meta ships with meta fit’s ready to go and you have built up a reputation for delivering perfectly, the pvpers would love you.