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58.9 F
San Diego
Thursday, May 30, 2024

Website’s Services Are All About Getting You Moving


CEO and founder: Sharone Ben-Harosh.

Revenue: Not disclosed.

No. of local employees: 14.

Investors: None.

Headquarters: New York, N.Y.

Year founded: 2012.

Company description: Unpakt is a new online platform that digitizes and simplifies the entire moving experience from start to finish. Think Expedia for moving.

Key factors for success: Unpakt provides every customer with the ability to inventory items in their home and immediately compare moving prices and companies. It offers assistance in getting a good deal and good service from companies.

Local moving companies such as Bekins Moving Solutions and Manpower Movers are jumping on board with a revolutionary service offered by Unpakt that compresses the arduous task of planning a move into one convenient website.

Launched in summer 2012, New York City-based Unpakt says its website takes customers through the moving process, from comparing movers based on reviews, pricing and profiles, to choosing various services such as packing and unpacking or technology installation, to booking and managing their moves online. Not just an online booking site, Unpakt becomes a dedicated moving advocate, so if something is broken during the move, Unpakt will step in to help.

After customers visiting the Unpakt site enter the locations of where they’re moving to and from, as well as the current size of the home and the ideal moving date, they progress to entering an inventory of their furniture and number of boxes, along the way selecting options such as storage, supplies and packing services. Customers are also able to make special handling requests such as assembly, crating and removal of TVs or artwork from walls. After entering details of the move, time and addresses, the Unpakt site will provide a list of suggested movers with information about their number of years in business, number of employees and trucks, as well as display a price quote for the moving job by each mover.

Unpakt is paid a small percentage for each move arranged through its website.

Accurate Price Quotes

Unpakt General Manager Daniel Cooke said the movers are held accountable to the price quoted, which takes the lengthy process of negotiating prices with brokers out of the equation.

“In half an hour or less, they’ll (customers) see exact quotes and exact pricing for their job on the spot,” Cooke said. “When a customer gets to the price page on Unpakt they can click to the website of the mover, get basic information about the region it services, and does the mover do long distance, and does it have insurance. The price is probably the number one determinate to choose a mover, but we provide as much information about the moving company as we can and that’s what we call the mover profile,” Cooke said.

The Unpakt service went live in San Diego in late October, making it the 32nd city in which the service is available. Other major cities served by Unpakt include Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Connecticut, Dallas, Houston, New York City and Washington, D.C. Cooke said San Diego’s status as the eighth largest city in the country and its ranking as one of the top places to live nationally make it a destination for many movers, and, therefore, a prime location for Unpakt to do business.

Local Movers Sign Up

Local movers that have joined the Unpakt team in San Diego include Across Town Movers, Gorilla Moving, and Sav On Moving.

The local Bekins Moving Solutions branch, one of 18 nationwide locations of Bekins A-1 Movers Inc., came online with Unpakt the second week of November.

“We have always strived to do business with consumers on their terms rather than making them adjust to our way of doing business,” said Lance Grooms, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Bekins. “We see the Unpakt online booking method as a way to get in touch with a new generation of the buying public.”

Bekins’ goal is to work with Unpakt to ensure the customer is provided with an accurate quote for the requested services. The services are coordinated with Unpakt through a management system that is integrated into the Unpakt website. Bekins has the ability to update its pricing in real time in order to accommodate for seasonality and capacity. In order to ensure the customer receives accurate pricing based on the information provided, the general manager of each branch goes through several pricing scenarios before the official launch.

Unpakt is seen as complementary to, launched in March 2010 as an online resource for complete, accurate moving estimates, scheduling appointments and booking a move.

“We’ve seen a tremendous response by customers using the site and we see our involvement with Unpakt to add another way for consumers to find us and provide them with the level of service they’ve come to expect from the Bekins brand,” said a Bekins representative.

Miramar-based Manpower Movers, a 30-employee company founded in 2004, signed on with Unpakt recently to stay competitive in a challenging market, said the company’s general manager, Brian Casey.

“It’s another method of marketing for us,” he said. “It’s a free service for us and another way to have a presence on the Internet.”

Casey said Manpower Movers is always looking for ways to increase its Internet presence, such as working with a company to manage search-engine optimization, and is in the process of developing a new website to enhance its user-friendly and interactive features. Casey said Manpower’s tech-savvy customers are becoming more interested in being able to generate their own price estimate and schedule the moving jobs themselves. The company is also putting together instructional video to keep the customers on the website longer.

Just recently, Casey said he’s begun considering a recommendation to exchange online links with referral sources such as apartment managers, real estate agents and self-storage facilities, so they can have a presence on each other’s websites and hopefully improve their rankings.

Casey said the Unpakt collaboration is so new the company hasn’t had enough time to gauge its effectiveness, but he complimented the site’s capabilities.

“I am pleasantly impressed with the sophistication of the site,” he said. “It’s intricate enough that we can put all of our inventory items in and the customer can plug in their household items in the inventory and it will generate a fairly sophisticated and accurate quote. Usually this requires a walk-through inspection, but the way it’s set up if the customer does a good job of inputting the information that can generate a price quote without doing the walk-through inspection.”


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