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One-Stop Comparison Shopping for Moving Companies

September 15, 2013
URL: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/227375

What It Is
While it can't relieve all the stress from the sucky process of moving house, Unpakt.com is doing something about one of the most frustrating tasks: finding the right movers

How It Works
Customers enter details about their move into the website--including date and location, number of boxes and specifics on furniture--and within seconds receive fixed quotes from insured moving companies that have been vetted by Unpakt. Customers can then book their move through the site.

As long as the customer inputs accurate information about the inventory and special services like packing and storage (which can also be booked through Unpakt), the price listed on the site is fixed. If customers discover that they have more or fewer items than originally listed, they can log on to the site or Unpakt's mobile app and adjust their inventory, even up to moving day.

How It Started
Sharone Ben-Harosh, founder of New York City's Flat Rate Moving, seized upon the idea of bringing to his industry comparison services like those for airfares, such as Kayak.com. He hired developers to build an algorithm that evaluates specific items to be moved and calculates the cost per item based on movers' operational costs and markup. The site launched in July 2012.

The Business Case
Unpakt takes a 13 percent cut of any job booked on the site; the rest goes to the moving company. That's a hefty service fee, but the upside is that Unpakt provides an easy way to compete for new business 24/7 without the additional personnel and time associated with sending out an agent to a customer's home to measure and write up an estimate. That model has persuaded more than 250 moving companies across the country to sign on. Revenue in May 2013 topped $190,000.

What's Next
With Unpakt's services now available in 50 U.S. cities, Ben-Harosh has set his sights on the international market. "If you want to move stuff from the U.S. to London or if you want to move from London to Paris," he says, "we will be the site to handle it."