It’s a mild irony, but the moving industry is slow moving when it comes to incorporating new technology.
It’s a problem Moveline wants to fix.
In August, the 18-employee startup moved its headquarters from New York City to downtown Las Vegas after the Downtown Project’s VegasTechFund invested in the company.
The tech company uses customer-created video tours to secure three to five guaranteed prices from reputable moving companies.
The free service begins with customers giving a tour of their home to a Moveline rep via video chat or by uploading a video through Moveline’s mobile app.
The team then creates a home inventory, confirms its accuracy with the customer and uses the list to obtain quotes from movers. After the customer chooses a bid, he or she books the move online, and Moveline collects a cut from the mover, much like online travel websites do.
Locally, Moveline works with Bekins A1, Ace World Wide Moving and Moving Relocation Specialists. Nationwide, it has 200 partners.
Nationally, household goods shipments are down 1.3 percent, but in Nevada, second-quarter shipments are up 2.6 percent for the year, compared with last year, said John Bisney, director of public relations at American Moving & Storage Association.
Bisney said the moving industry’s health is directly tied to the housing industry, which has been up for most of the year but is cooling because of rising interest rates.
As they do with other purchases, Bisney said today’s consumers often turn to the Internet, where it’s easy for scammers to create websites and pose as fake companies to steal money or hold belongings hostage.
For this reason, AMSA recommends in-person estimates to avoid fraud.
“Hiring a mover is a more significant and important decision that you need to be more careful about than with other online purchases,” Bisney said.
Moveline addresses this problem for its customers through company background checks that look into local and federal licensing, safety records and online reputations.
Moveline was founded in 2011 by Kelly Eidson and Fred Cook. Cook has a tech background, and Eidson has a consumer background.
Eidson became familiar with the moving industry while working at a marketing agency that worked with Lawrence Transportation Systems.
“That’s where I learned about the economics, the pain point and how technology could be useful,” Eidson said. “It was clear that software could make it easier.”
While they considered other locales, they decided on Las Vegas for the Downtown Project’s sense of community as well as the local talent pool. Moveline is looking to fill 12 positions immediately.
“There’s inherent talent within the community that’s designed to make people feel great,” Eidson said, referring to Las Vegas’ hospitality.
“For the first time, I feel at home,” said Cook, adding that the new headquarters solves training and communications issues.
While in New York, employees worked from home in various states, which created unique challenges.
“We don’t need people all over the country to help people move all over the country,” Cook said.
Moveline has three remote engineers, but the rest of the company has relocated.
Zach Ware, a partner in VegasTechFund, said investing in Moveline was an easy decision.
“We are excited about the Moveline team and the innovative approach they take in an industry that’s generally slow to innovate,” Ware said. “The team immediately made a positive impact on the VegasTech community, so investing in the company to help them continue to disrupt their industry was an easy decision.”
Bisney admits his industry isn’t cutting edge but acknowledges the potential.
“This is an industry where the latest and greatest tech, we might be slow to move into,” he said, “but if we can use it to create a better customer experience, we’re open to it.”
Contact Review-Journal writer Kristy Totten at firstname.lastname@example.org