Reports suggest, and I have independently confirmed, that moving is one of the most awful, stressful, painful processes you can experience in a lifetime. Yet the cost of living in NY forces many to move around each year, when their lease expires, popping from place to place.
I’ve lived in New York since 2007, and I’ve moved no less than eight times. My biggest move was also my most stress-free move, and I have to thank Moveline for that. Moveline is an NY-based moving startup (backed by TechStars) that helps you source quotes from moving and storage companies by getting a video inventory of your stuff, either on Facetime or via sent in video. Moveline books the move for you entirely, leaving you to simply pack up and be ready on moving day.
The company has just announced that they’ll be expanding — currently Moveline only supports local NY moves and in-bound NY moves. As of today, Moveline will support any long-distance move within the continental US, and local moves in the following cities: San Francisco, Boston, Austin, Los Angeles, Seattle, Washington D.C., Atlanta, Chicago, Portland, Phoenix, and Denver (as well as NY and NJ).
The company has also added payment features (which I used), letting users pay for their move on Moveline, ensuring the same quote they were given at the very beginning of the process.
With timing matching up between the announcement and my move, now is a great time for a hands-on review of a service that clearly solves a huge pain point for most people.
I tried my best to handle my own moving service alongside Moveline’s products, just to measure the difference between going it alone and having Moveline’s help. Getting quotes from movers is a painful process — every mention of a piece of furniture is followed by six or seven questions on dimensions, weight, fragility. My phone call with a single moving company lasted 45 minutes, and that was just for one quote.
On Moveline, I simply booked a time to Facetime with a Moveline coach, Brittany. She was flexible (I changed my appointment a few times) and punctual when the time came to chat through my inventory. She didn’t need to ask too many follow-ups, mostly because she was seeing all of my stuff in real time as I walked her through the apartment. The whole process took no more than 20 minutes, and that includes all of my questions about payment, storage options, etc.
Storage vs. Moving
One of the best things about Moveline is that they help you make the tough decisions on what moves, what goes into storage, and what goes into the trash. I had a fairly even distribution between those three categories, and had specific questions about how the prices would change if I, say, decided to bring my couch instead of store it. After I told Brittany about all my questionable items, she let me know what would cost more to store instead of trash, and which items would have a negligible effect on my end-price.
Perhaps more importantly, Brittany was always around when I changed my mind. It’s common to go back and forth on these decisions (what stores and what goes), and even though Moveline had already given me a quote and accepted my acceptance of that quote, she still walked me through my decisions in a way that kept the price the same. That’s the promise with Moveline: the quote you get is the quote you’ll pay. Nuf said.
In New York (I’m unsure about other parts of the country), movers often give you one quote over the phone and then jack up the price when they get there. I’ve heard ridiculous arguments from moving companies: “the stairs are steeper than we thought they’d be” or “we count a flight of stairs as 10 steps, and you have 12 steps per flight.”
When you’re struggling to get your stuff in the right boxes, and labeled, the last thing you want to hear after spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on a move is that your moving quote’s been jacked up. Remember, at this moment on this very day, you’re likely a little hard-up for cash considering you just signed a lease on a new apartment.
My biggest concern when using Moveline was that I’d have everything settled, and then movers would show up and hike my price anyway. But Moveline came through on its promise. The movers and I didn’t even have a conversation about price — I simply signed the papers that had my same quote on them, and we got down to business.
As an added bonus, Moveline sent a coach, Alex, to oversee the move. The company often sends coaches to nearby moves to make sure that everything is moving along well and that there are no issues. Alex asked me a few questions about the movers, and using the service, and he even helped me throw some big trash bags out while movers packed up furniture.
His presence was calming. I wasn’t just using some faceless internet service to move (which could let me down at any time). I was using Moveline, and Moveline was there to look out for me. I can’t express how crucial this is to a service that handles such an important, tedious part of our existence.
Moveline doesn’t charge your card until two days before the move. That includes the cost of moving and the first month of storage, if you’re doing the storage thing. From there, Moveline sets you up with where you handle monthly storage payments, and makes sure you’re happy with your moving experience.
The quotes I sourced on my own from moving companies and storage companies couldn’t beat the prices I got through Moveline, and lose out far and away in the convenience vertical.
Since Moveline services customers who are in the middle of a move, the company can’t rely on repetitive use from its customers to sustain the business. With service as good as Moveline’s word of mouth will most certainly spread the word around to people as they move throughout the year.
However, there are greater opportunities here. Getting people reliable quotes is only the beginning. Moving sucks from beginning to end. Moveline has the chance to facilitate the entire thing, past getting quotes and match-making you with movers.
Moveline could help with standard packing practices: don’t put all your books in one huge box, cushion lamps and fragiles with t-shirts instead of buying bubble wrap, and don’t forget to use your luggage for things that don’t require a box. This would be an awesome service on its own, but can go to a deeper level.
Moveline could tell you how to pack boxes so that they’d be easiest to unpack at the new place. They could tell you how to label boxes so you know where to have movers put them down when you arrive. They could hook in with Container Store to let you know how much you’ll need to spend, and what you need to buy, to best organize your stuff in the new apartment. They could even track moving expenses for you, knowing full well that moving costs extend far beyond movers and a new apartment.
The possibilities are pretty endless, and founder Kelly Edson is well aware of this. Eventually, once enough people have seen the light, we’ll see a more full-featured service. For now, however, the company is focused on spreading the Moveline gospel to other parts of the country.