DoDo delivers anything you need
Personal assistant service can handle anything from a power converter to a birthday party
Some days, there isn't enough time to do all the errands you need done. In other cases you don't even know where to start looking for something, like a power adapter or some exotic spice.
A recently launched service in Prague called DoDo (Doruky.cz) functions like a personal assistant and can get you almost anything once you send an SMS or a message over Facebook. The company has a website at Doruky.cz as well.
“It's a 24/7 personal assistant dedicated to people who need to do more things than they have time for,” DoDo's Veronika Ondrůjová said. “It is for busy people and for people who do not know Prague so well.”
Right now the service supports English in Czech, and more languages may be added if there is demand.
A typical customer is someone with a career and family who needs help to manage their time.
Another target audience is expats who do not know where to find ingredients for cooking or over-the-counter medicines. DoDo can buy those things for you and deliver them to your home. Demand has been growing every week since the company launched at the end of 2015 as word slowly gets out.
Requests can be quite specific. If you want to cook a meal after work but have no time to shop, you can ask for meat from one shop, vegetables from another and wine from a third place. Delivery can be set for a specific time as well. This is an advantage over calling one store that delivers. You can get exactly the items you want and have them all arrive all at once. “It is a helpful tool. You will save your money, your time and your energy,” she said.
One large group of customers is spouses on temporary business or diplomatic postings, who don't know the shops in the city well and also don't know the Czech words for various household items such as different types of flour and baking powder. They also don't know where to find traditional foods from their home countries. DoDo can help with these day-to-day tasks so the families can settle in. “This can be a tool to help families assimilate into society and make them more comfortable in their home,” she said.
DoDo is also familiar with the local ethnic restaurants and can deliver traditional foods already prepared, even if the restaurant itself doesn't offer delivery or the client doesn't know about the restaurants.
And the service is not expensive. In many cases the items cost the same as if you bought them yourself, due to B2B discounts that DoDo gets from its business partners. Price is agreed on before delivery, so there are no surprises. “You will not recognize it on the final bill. You are not charged per hour or per item or kilometer or anything like that. You are not charged any ridiculous amount above the basic price. Many times DoDo is able to find the products cheaper than in a normal shop,” she said.
It can also head off potential domestic problems. If you were supposed to pick something up on the way home but got delayed at a local pub, you can send an SMS to DoDo and have the ice cream delivered on time for your children, even if you miss dinner.
“DoDo also helps with presents like perfume and flowers, small gifts, and so on,” Ondrůjová said. In some cases, the assistants can offer a bit of advice on gifts and pricing.
Not all of the requests are for small items. A group of students from China came for a workshop. DoDo got lunch for 18 people. “We also found a special converter for electricity with all the holes [for different country's plugs]. It is not so easy to find to find in a shop, but DoDo has its B2B network,” she said. “DoDo has connections to the distributors and is able to find special technical equipment.”
Help with birthday parties is also possible, as there are many items from different shops that could take all day to find — balloons, a cake, candles, paper cups and even gifts. “DoDo will deliver all the paper plates, the table cloth, everything you will need,” she said. While they are not party planners, with their experience they can help point out if something important has been forgotten, especially if the party has a theme. They can also give some advice on which vendors prepare which types of cakes, and who has certain types of flowers for example. But you can also chose your own favorite bakery or florist.
One steady customer is a couple that has breakfast delivered at 7 am every Sunday so they don't have to rush and can have a nice morning together.
In the summer, popular requests had to do with getting children ready to go to camp. “You realize you don't have a raincoat, the proper medicines, a bathing suit. You can call DoDo and they can deliver it to your door and you can finish packing for your children really fast,” she said.
The service can also be used to do errands like pick up dry cleaning or shoes from a repair shop. One unusual request was for keys to be delivered to somebody's girlfriend because she was locked in the apartment. “Everything is possible,” she said.
The service is also usually fast. “All the DoDo delivery people are quite cheerful and reply quite quickly.”
But all requests have to be legal. Age checks have to be made for anything involving alcohol and cigarettes, but so far this has not been a problem.
You can contact DoDo over Facebook at www.facebook.com/dodoruky or find out more at www.doruky.cz/en
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