The idea of sharing rides instead of calling a traditional taxi company has moved across the nation and, in fact, into 36 countries. Now a Santa Barbara, Calif., startup is making a similar move in the moving industry.
NextMover offers an alternative to traditional moving companies and to rent-a-truck do-it-yourself moves. The company helps truck owners and pickup drivers earn extra cash by helping with small-scale, local moves. They have been assisting with local moves in Santa Barbara since January, but the concept has already drawn comparisons to car-sharing services such as Lyft, which is now operating in at least 60 cities and Uber which offers ride-sharing in 36 countries.
With NextMover truck owners set their own prices for movers to consider and NextMover takes 20 percent of that. “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 vehicles can range from pickups to larger commercial trucks. To participate they 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 insurance.
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 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, Texas.
“We first started with only pickup trucks, ‘your friend with a truck,’ because we realized that there are a lot of pickup trucks that aren’t being utilized and that perhaps people would be interested in using that to make some money on the side,” says James. “We have made a pivot since then and moved to more of a larger, open marketplace. The people with pickup trucks that want to make some money on the side can still do that, but the marketplace is also for small businesses, or people who have a larger vehicle or a box truck that they use for other things. Our platform is so easy for them to use that they are willing to try it out and use their trucks when it is convenient for them.”
“When we switched to this open marketplace, we got good feedback from the truck owners and also on the consumer’s side: Not everybody needs just a pickup,” says Kehaya. “There are some people that would like it if you had a trailer. They would pay more money for that because they’ve got more stuff to move. Sometimes they want two people to come and help them, not just one guy and a truck. It really opened up the services that we can provide.”
There are, of course, limitations to moving with NextMover. It only works for local moves, and is less ideal for people with large houses who truly need full-size moving trucks and comprehensive service. “And we can’t move pianos,” says Kehaya. “You’re better off with somebody who has all the straps and equipment for that.” But Kehaya believes the demand for the convenience and cost savings that NextMover provides is plenty large for local markets.
While NextMover is only available in Santa Barbara right now, Dino’s Storage can lend a hand with available rental trucks at some of our locations. If you need a truck, just check with any Dino’s facility for a location convenient to you, or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.