The Power of the Crowd: Moving in the 21st Century

Jon Fesmire |
We all know that moving is a pain. You have to pack your things, rent a truck, haul everything into the truck at your old place and out at your new place, then get it all unpacked and rearranged. It’s great when friends can help, but some people are stuck doing all that hard work by themselves.. Traditional movers have been around for a long time and can do most of that work for you. However, with the power of the Internet in 2015, a new possibility has opened up: the power of the crowd. We’re all aware of the crowdfunding phenomenon with sites like Kickstarter, Indigogo, GoFundMe, and others that help people either get projects funded or help them to raise money to get through hard times. Then there’s Uber, the crowdsourced transportation service giving traditional taxi companies serious competition. men lifting a small dresser. Companies like Bellhops and Lugg take the idea of hiring a mover and bring it to the crowdsourced space. These services either use a network of individual movers who check in when they are available (like Uber), or with bids from partner moving companies. You hire whom you want and arrange pick-up and drop-off details. You still have to pack your boxes and arrange your new home, but the most exhausting part, the heavy-lifting, gets taken care of! Though each of these companies is based on crowdsourcing, they are far from clones of each other. Let’s explore the most prominent of the bunch.

Bellhops

College is a time to study, socialize, prepare for the real work world, and to have fun. Bellhops employees are young college men working part-time to help pay for their books, tuition, and daily life, and to get real-world work experience before graduation. Bellhops focuses on smaller moving jobs, such as apartments, condos, and two to three bedroom homes. Need to move a home office from one room to another? That’s also something Bellhops can do. Hiring Bellhops involves booking helpers on the Bellhops website, receiving an email with the pictures, contact information, and brief biographies of the college students assigned to you, and scheduling a moving time. You verify their hours when they check in and out. The company then encourages you to review your Bellhops for the sake of future customers. Bellhops guarantees their work by providing refunds on extra time if a job takes too long and paying you for items that a mover inadvertently breaks. The company employs over 8,000 students and operates in 120 U.S. cities, so check the website to see if they’re in your area. It’s easy to figure out how much you will be charged since the billing is $40 per Bellhop per hour, with a one hour minimum. The company strives to be friendly and helpful, considering its Bellhops not as movers, but as “friends that help you move.”

Hire a Helper

Hire a Helper is at the other end of the crowdsourced moving spectrum. When you want to hire a moving company and quickly compare prices, check this company out. Moving companies contract with Hire a Helper, which is both a moving comparison site and booking site. On the company’s site, search for a professional labor-only moving company by inputting how much you have to move, where you’re coming from, and where you’re going to. It will then search for movers and present you with estimates from each. Before you choose which business you want to hire, you can check the pricing, reviews, and credentials of each. You reserve a mover with a credit card, they call to confirm, and you schedule your moving job. The payment goes into escrow until the move is finished. Through this process you hire a traditional mover, but through one site that allows you to pick which you think is the best. Once you have your provider chosen and booked, you arrange the truck rental.

Lugg

If you live in the San Francisco area, check out Lugg. This company picks up in San Francisco and Emeryville but drops off anywhere in the San Francisco Bay Area. I would say that Lugg is the epitome of what I would expect crowdsourced delivery to be. You use the Lugg app on your iPhone or iPad, or go to its site via an Android or other device. You set your pickup location and add a photograph of the item. Two movers are sent to help you and arrive within 25 minutes to move your item from one location to another. Some of the applications for Lugg include moving, getting a large purchase home from a store like Costco, having your purchases from Craigslist delivered, sending donations to Goodwill, and hauling away junk items that are difficult to dispose of, like old couches or broken tables. They will even pick up items you want delivered without you being at the pickup spot. You can find the details for this service on their site. All items are insured, the movers have been professionally trained, and they work from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm. The rates are reasonable, with a base fare of $30.00, plus $2.00 per driving mile, $0.60 per driving minute, and $0.75 per labor minute at each location. The app will give you an estimate when you book so long as you include pick-up and drop-off spots. Lugg has a solid five star rating on Yelp with over a hundred reviews. San Francisco loves this company.

uShip

uShip is a transportation marketplace that operates in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and parts of South America. It handles local or long distance shipping. You can book a moving company through uShip on the Web or via the uShip Mobile app, which is available for iOS and Android devices. When you’re ready to move anything from a small package to the contents of your apartment to a boat, you start the uShip booking process. The site or app will ask you questions about what you’re shipping. For instance, if you’re shipping the contents of a one bedroom apartment, uShip will need to know what floor your apartment is on. If you’re shipping a car, it will ask for the year, make, and model, if the car has been modified, and for you to include a photograph of the vehicle. Once you submit your request, the details get sent to available uShip providers, who then bid on the job. You can specify an amount if your funds are limited, or simply see what the offers are. uShip informs you by email each time a new bid comes in. Essentially, you’re holding a sort of auction, and once your auction has finished, you can pick your mover. Since uShip has service in most areas of the continental U.S., Canada, Mexico, and parts of Northern South America, chances are it is available in your area and will get your possessions where they need to go.

Kanga

Kanga is similar to Lugg, but for Atlanta, Georgia. Using the iOS or Android app, you can get just about anything picked up and delivered locally, from your restaurant lunch to the wide-screen TV you just bought from a local retailer. Kanga’s employees, also called kangas, work the hours they want to. When you put in a request to have something moved from one site to another, you can arrange for a nearby kanga to do the job. Everything is handled on the app and through the company, so there are no papers to sign. You can shop for something at a store’s website and purchase it, and a kanga will bring it to you. Clearly, Kanga is not a moving service. In fact, kangas don’t have to be professional movers, just good drivers with a clean record. However, if you are moving locally within Atlanta, Georgia, and discover you don’t have room for a couple of boxes, a desk, or another item or two, Kanga can help you quickly.

TaskRabbit

Like the preceding companies in this article, TaskRabbit can help you move, but they also do much more. TaskRabbit helps with many aspects of life including yard work, handyman duties, organizing your closets, research, assembling furniture, and office administration. You could hire Taskers, which is what TaskRabbit calls its employees, to help move your belongings from your old place to your new one, pick up and assemble your new desk, and sort your clothes into your new closets. Prices are not available until you put in a specific task. At that point, you will see the hourly prices of Taskers available for the job and can book someone or not. You can cancel any task up to six hours before it's scheduled to start. If you cancel within that six-hour time frame, you will be billed for one hour. Payments are handled securely online once the task is completed. All tasks are insured, and you can call their customer support line 24/7. For physical tasks, TaskRabbit currently operates out of 19 metropolitan areas in the U.S., including San Francisco, Los Angeles and Orange County, Washington, Chicago, and New York. Virtual tasks, such as various personal assistant or research duties, are available everywhere.

Craigslist

At last, we come to the old standby for all sorts of local commerce, Craigslist. Searching your local listings, you will likely find a large variety of movers including local moving companies looking to broaden their customer base and individuals who want to make money helping people move. It’s possible to find the same types of services that the other companies offer on Craigslist, including having someone deliver your breakfast, picking up your latest large purchase, and so on. You could find someone to help organize and put away your things in your new home. Use search terms like “moving help.” Most relevant posts will fall under the “services” section for your county. Two men unloading a moving truck. With Craigslist you will likely get a great price and most users are friendly and helpful. The disadvantage is that anyone can put up a Craigslist advertisement, so most of the potential movers will not have been vetted. If you don’t find a mover you feel you can trust on the site, you can put up an advertisement yourself requesting one. If you want to work exclusively with a professional company, try any of those listed in this article that are in your area, but don’t discount Craigslist. The site has helped millions of people get things they need, but still be smart about whom you let into your home.

Conclusion

Whether moving to a new home or just trying to get a very large package home from the furniture store, today’s crowdsourced moving companies can provide the help you need. Crowdsourcing is creating a revolution on how we fund businesses and projects, help those in need, and get around town. The crowdsourced moving trend is bound to grow, so keep these companies in mind, and look for others, whenever you need moving assistance.