A small startup called NextMover may be poised to disrupt the moving industry. The company helps truck owners and pickup drivers earn extra cash by helping with small-scale, local moves.
They have only been assisting with local moves in Santa Barbara, Calif. since January, but the concept has already drawn comparisons to car-sharing services such as Lyft. Truck owners set their own prices for movers to consider and NextMover takes 20 percent of that. User feedback has also shown a preference for "keeping it local."
"On the average we are about 50 percent cheaper than similar services. But it turns out that's really third on the totem pole," says president and CEO Alexander Kehaya. "The convenience and the community aspect are the things that people consistently tell us when we show them our website and talk about what we do."
Truck owners—whose vehicles can range from pickups to larger commercial trucks—must emerge from a vetting process that includes interviews, a background check, and vehicle inspection, before they're allowed to participate. Consumers can choose among truck owners depending on budget and needs, as well as driver bios and user ratings. NextMover is currently assuming insurance responsibility for these initial moves, but the company does ask truck owners to carry commercial truck insurance.
"Professional moving companies don't always step up and take care of you. We are going to do that," co-founder Max James says. "Part of the thing that our platform provides is security for everyone in the sense that the price is what it is. It's a rate you set ahead of time and if it's processed through our system, nobody's going to come to you and say, 'Hey, we are holding your house hostage until you pay us for it.'"
NextMover is currently only operating out of Santa Barbara, but the company is preparing to secure more funding in order to expand to other cities. Kehaya says they've already signed up a few hundred truck owners in other cities, such as Austin.
"This is an extremely fragmented market," says Kehaya. "There are just a lot of old incumbents that are ripe for disruption, and we're really excited about that."