Credit Christoph Hitz No Credit
If you are living in a crummy apartment in New York City, chances are fair that there are two major impediments to moving. The first is finding a new place (for which in the past I have recommended StreetEasy). The other is actually gathering the absurd amount of belongings you have somehow managed to accumulate and toting them across town to your new place.
Zootly, an app that has just been âsoft launchedâ in the city, claims to help with the move. It connects migratory New Yorkers with moving companies, differentiating itself from the competition by staking its reputation on the quality of the movers it lists.
According to Rudy Callegari, Zootlyâs co-founder and president, the company puts potential movers through a stringent vetting process. âThere are over 500 moving companies in New York State,â he said, âand weâve identified only 137 that weâre going to approach to be on our system.â
Zootlyâs background checks are indeed comprehensive. It examines the usual Internet ratings: Google, Yelp, Angieâs List. But Zootly also talks to the stateâs Department of Transportation (which records complaints against moving companies) and to insurance companies, along with the Better Business Bureau. Zootly also interviews the owners of the companies. As with most venture-backed apps these days, Zootlyâs technology is seamless and intuitive. Like so many of the logistical conundrums that apps exist to solve, moving is a headache. For the easily daunted, it will be easier to just hand the planning over to Zootly.
But users should note that in return for reliability and convenience, they might be paying significantly more than if they put together their own moving plan. Zootly charges $ 149 for the first hour of moving, a price that includes two movers and a vehicle. Each additional hour is $ 99. Each additional worker is $ 39 an hour. (The charges for additional time and labor are prorated.) Zootly says it collects a 25 percent commission.
In late July, I moved from the Lower East Side of Manhattan to Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, with the help of a moving company. I was given a team of five movers, and the move took a bit less than three hours. The final cost was $ 462. If I had used Zootly, accounting for the same time and number of workers, the price would have been at least $ 600.
A small-scale move would be also be expensive. A couple of weeks later, I bought a wardrobe and paid a man with a van $ 60 to move it to my house. Using Zootly for the same task would have cost $ 149.
I loved the moving company I used, but my brother used the same company later the same week and had a miserable experience.
If an app like Zootly could somehow guarantee a good experience, he might have paid the premium. But there are New Yorkers who refuse to pay extra for movers â namely, those of us who feel guilty using movers in the first place. If it will save me $ 150, I will grudgingly haul a few dozen boxes up four or five flights of stairs.