UNPACKED

This startup has figured out how to make moving cheaper and less stressful

Obsession
Explosive Growth
Obsession
Explosive Growth

Moving is one of the top five most stressful life events in no small part because it’s so expensive: The $12 billion industry is notorious for slapping customers with last-minute fee hikes.

That’s what the founders of Moveline, a startup based in Las Vegas, have set out to change. The company, brokering between customers and some 200 moving companies, doesn’t charge additional fees beyond the base quote.

Customers use Moveline’s app to Facetime (or video call) a “move captain” who is given a virtual tour of the customer’s home or apartment. The captain then provides three to five guaranteed quotes, from lower-end to high-end services. For example, here’s how much it would cost to move the contents of a three-bedroom house from Arizona to Virginia this month: Using commercial movers would cost around $8,700, vs. $8,300 with Moveline.

Co-founder Kelly Eidson came up with the concept for Moveline by initially developing an online platform for a moving company to exchange shipments with other moving companies. “I had done a bunch of research on the space before realizing that clearly the moving industry had no technology infrastructure really to speak of,” she tells Quartz. “If you’re a moving company in New York and there’s a customer moving to Phoenix, you can’t get that truck back to New York at a profit unless you find other shipments to be able to fill the truck and be able to get it back.”

After pivoting to a consumer-facing model, Eidson brought on co-founder Frederick Cook and the pair have raised close to $8 million in funding since launching in 2011. Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh and his Vegas Tech Fund played a significant part in their recent $3 million Series A this spring. Eidson and Cook, who is CEO, chose Vegas for the same reason Hsieh moved Zappos there a decade ago: its deep reservoir of seasoned hospitality workers.

“That was our main deciding factor in being here over any other tech ecosystem,” says Eidson. “We knew we were building a company that had to be very effective at scaling customer service and we had to be able to scale that effectively.”

Since relocating, they’ve more than quadrupled in size to 92 employees, adding about 10 employees every month. They’re currently operating in 120 cities across the US.

But even more than the cost savings, it’s the centralization of data that is perhaps most useful for consumers. Entrusting one source to filter and vet providers is a lot easier than hours of Googling, phone calls, and home walk throughs, only to settle on a company that you can only hope is trustworthy.

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