With Unpakt, moving out of your house or apartment doesn’t have to be a nightmare. Unpakt lets you compare reputable moving companies, compare prices, and book online. Now it’s launching in 15 cities and listing 100 movers after starting in New York. It’s like Kayak plus Yelp for movers. Unpakt could earn juicy referral fees, bring transparency to an industry laden with hidden rates, and make moving as easy as booking a flight.
Traditionally, finding a good price for getting all your possessions moved from one dwelling to next was annoying and time consuming. You would look up companies, and call them one at a time. You’d have to repeat your addresses, preferred dates, how much stuff you have, and then get a quote that wasn’t even guaranteed to be what you’d pay. With this frustration and the inherent stress of moving, most people would end up just picking one of the first companies they called and overpaying.
Screw that. Most everyone moves a few times in their life, and prices can range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. It’s a big market desperately in need of a marketplace. That’s where Unpakt comes in.
Unpakt’s website lets you choose the size of your place, and select what furniture you have or instantly go with the typical trappings. You can save your progress at any time so you never have to punch in your data twice. Then you’re shown prices for your move from a bunch of local companies, and you can compare reviews so you know they’re not gonna break everything. Pick the best company with the lowest price and you pay right there on Unpakt.
I just tried out the booking process and it took all of two minutes to plan a move. Without professional packing and unpacking, hauling all the stuff in a well furnished one-bedroom apartment across San Francisco cost around $550. Thanks to Unpakt, though, I could find a great mover for $100 less than that and avoid companies trying to rip me off for over $800.
Unpakt opened up its beta in New York City in July but now it’s launching in 15 more markets coast to coast: Los Angeles, San Francisco, DC, Boston, Dallas, Houston, Austin, Miami, Tampa, Atlanta, San Diego, Denver, Raleigh, New Jersey, and Connecticut. It’s got nearly 100 movers listing their rates in the marketplace now, meaning you can do serious price shopping.
That’s a big deal for anyone who has to move because most companies don’t publish their rate cards and there didn’t used to be any way to efficiently compare them. That meant moving was like booking airfare before the Internet existed — having to call each company individually and never being sure you were getting the best price. That lack of transparency and friction in the comparison process made it easy for movers to jack up their rates if they thought they were talking to a sucker.
Thanks to Unpakt, not only are all the prices laid out, but movers are incentivized to have the lowest. Unpakt’s director of marketing Jenna Weinerman tells me “the movers using Unpakt competitively are getting the most jobs.” She says “our goal is to shine up the industry.” The 15-person startup is bootstrapped but I bet VCs are going be clamoring to get in on Unpakt considering Kayak’s recent $1.8 billion exit.
The startup’s biggest challenge will be making sure the prices movers list on Unpakt are actually the lowest they offer. Otherwise people may worry they have to call in too to double check their rate. That’s why Unpakt is improving and teaching movers to use its price input tool, and regularly monitors and audits prices to make sure those it lists aren’t higher than if you call in.
In exchange for the small referral fee percentage, Unpakt is doing marketing, sales, SEO, PR, and reducing staffing costs for movers. Weinerman says “Over time as movers grow with Unpakt, there’s a chance they can pass the savings on to the customers.”
And even if they don’t, just saving you time on the phone and steering you away from needlessly expensive movers could be enough to get you recommending Unpakt to your friends. Otherwise, you might end up spending next Saturday breaking your back dragging their stupid couch down the stairs.
Unpakt isn’t just for individuals. Here’s the story of how one startup moving into their new office.