Does the Moving Industry Need Disrupting?

Does the Moving Industry Need Disrupting?


A feature at the news site OZY, has profiled a handful of startups that are purportedly poised to “disrupt” the moving industry in the Seattle-area. “Before they pulled up,” the article says of these new business models, the only real option had been the do-it-yourself, U-Haul-type national companies, or local two-guys-and-a-truck operations.”

But that’s not really true. Box Brothers has been in business since 1985, and for a good deal of its life its store locations have been spread across four states, offering everything from moving boxes to custom crating to relocation services. Far from being a “two-guys-and-a-truck operation,” we’re equipped to cross-country shipping services or local relocation services in Los Angeles, Seattle, or elsewhere on the West Coast.

So we think the history of our own company raises the question: Does the moving industry really need disrupting, or is it just a matter of current customers not fully exploring their options before picking either an impersonal do-it-yourself carrier or an unproven local service?

It’s also unclear whether any of the startups highlighted by OZY offer a better alternative to either of those. The article compares one of them to Uber. But are you really better off paying a stranger with a pickup truck to move your precious belongings, as opposed to paying for a reliable and highly experienced Los Angeles shipping service?

Another of the new startups simply partners with existing shipping services to help them fill un-laden trucks that are already heading to your destination. But a business that has been successful for as long as Box Brothers ought to already be maximizing the efficiency of their shipping services.

So while the customer experience will probably be the same for you either way, you’re just as well calling a many-guys-and-many-trucks operation that has been in the business for three decades, rather than a startup that isn’t really changing the way your belongings get moved to your new home.

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