Moving – There’s an App for That

It is an idea who’s time has come: a mobile app which helps you get a fast quote for moving, and then helps arrange all the other details.  If you think about, we will all be moving this way in the future.

There is a special kind of dread that comes with preparing to move your home.  The excitement for a new job, a new prospect, or maybe a new school, might be palpable but counterpoised by the need to get all your stuff packed up, shipped out, and unpacked.  Wouldn’t it be great if you had a tool that would manage all this for you, and you could keep it in your pocket?

(Copied from Thinking Matters blog)

The Offering

So naturally there is an app for that.   Muva is a new offering (http://themuva.com) that aims to take the hassle out of moving.  I spoke with the founder, an affable Australian named Andrew Ritter, to get the background.  Long ago he played professional tennis, then worked in real estate for a while, but now he believes the time is right for an app that takes the bother out of moving.  The company tag line is “Make Moving Magic” which is the way an Australian might say to mean that your move will be uncomplicated, reliable, and expertly performed.

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It turns out there is some magic in the approach he is taking.  Imagine downloading an app, taking a short video of your home and belongings, and then within one day getting a quote on your move?  Normally you would have to call a couple places, make appointments for them to come and view the house, you have to be there to show them around, and then they get back to you with a quote.  The old process can take anywhere from a week to several weeks and that is when everything works well and everyone shows up on time. Getting a quote within a day certainly qualifies as “magic.”

The Muva app streamlines the quote process allowing you in some cases to get a quote in a few hours.  It is not just more convenient for you.  It turns out that coming over and making a quote has been one of the expensive parts of the process for the moving company.  By eliminating the need for the moving company to send a person out to do the tour with you, it allows the company to make a lower cost quote to you.  With the Muva app you should save time and money.

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I asked Ritter how many vans and workers he has.    “None”, was the answer.  He explained that what he is doing is like Uber which has no taxi cabs, or AirB&B which has no property to rent.  Moving companies are highly regulated by the state, and you will be getting those same movers who have been in business for 50 years or more.  His job is to simply streamline the quoting process, then to allow you to track the move to completion, providing all the final paperwork.  Everyone benefits from the power of digital transformation.

Are there any limitations?  Ritter explained that right now he is rolling out the service carefully.  He has covered southern California for a few months, and will be adding San Francisco and Silicon Valley in the next week or so.  Like most wise startups, he needs to make sure that the quality remain top-notch, but he hopes to expand coverage across the nation as his capability expands.  Most importantly is he needs to identify the best and most reliable movers in each geographical region and then train them in how to respond with a quote.  To me, it sound like the kind of thing that will spread like wildfire as soon as people know about it.

A Look Inside

The app itself is quite straight forward.  You first enter zip code from and to to make sure the desired regions are covered.  You then enter the normal details of the address you are moving from and how accessible the locations are to trucks at either end.   All the kinds of things that movers worry about.

Then comes the “magic”.  It prompts you to take a video in the app.  You walk around the house, trying to get everything included.  They instruct you to try to get a complete view of all the larger things that need to be viewed.  There is a nice video showing how to do this.

The movers apparently can make a reliable estimate just by looking at the video.   You then submit the application, and within one business day you will have a quote.  It is so easy, that it would seem that everyone should try this — at the very least for the “second quote” so that you are sure you are getting the best deal.  Who knows, you are likely to find a great deal in the process.

Summary

This is one of those things that seems such an obvious good idea, once you realize it, you wonder why no one thought of it before.  One might speculate that moving companies are working to make apps.  I looked around a bit.  Some moving companies seem to have new apps, but always only for that one moving company, which is not useful until you have found the mover.  The Muva does this work of finding the mover for you.  When looking across all of the existing apps, none of them have an integrated video capability, and that is the key to the saving that Muva brings.  I am sure there will be lots of copies, but at the moment Muva appears to be the first app to focus directly on simplifying the moving process.

How often will you use this?  It is true that most people don’t move very often, and so it might be years before you find yourself needing to use Muva.  But there is one important thing to consider:  moving is always a very stressful time for the people being moved.  There are hundreds of details that need to be taken care of, and usually in a very short amount of time.  In the midst of that stress, anything that can make life a little easier will be highly valued.  It seems, The Muva is a highly valuable service that is coming at the right time.  It truly is, Moving Made Magic.

Virus Update

I am writing this as the new corona virus is beginning to spread in US, the WHO has declared it a pandemic, and the president has finally called it a national emergency.  School attendance has been canceled in my county and many around the bay area.  The universities closed their classrooms last week.  A lot of people will feel disruption.

In these days of “social distancing” Muva allows you to get a quote without having to have anyone come over.  There is an advantage even here in being able to work remotely.   In times of crises, plans suddenly change.  For example all those college students who suddenly learn they have to move home.  Having the flexibility to get a quote quickly and effortlessly could — like so many digitally transformed industries — be a huge relief and an antidote to the stress that is otherwise unavoidable.  Maybe Ritter should make a special discount for students and other people displaced by the virus?  He says he is working on it.

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