"Frederick-based Company adds new twist to Moving Business", by Clyde Ford, Staff Writer for the Gazette, a Washington Post owned company.

Moving on the Web

Frederick-based company adds new twist to moving business

by Clyde Ford
Staff Writer

January 20, 2000

Nicholas Walker smiles as he explains how his moving company works.

"The name says it all: We help you move," Walker says.

While the name, We Help U Move, is simple, the business behind it is more complicated.

Walker has used the Internet to help link up a network of about 650 small, locally owned independent moving companies to help take on the larger moving companies.

While Walker's company remains a traditional mover, supplying the truck and labor to pack and move a household, he also is developing an Internet company.

A person moving can call or e-mail Walker's Frederick-based business, which then arranges for workers to help pack and load the truck. The person then drives the moving truck, usually a rental from Ryder, which Walker works with predominantly. The company then has movers at the end destination help unload and unpack the vehicle.

The customer saves money by driving the truck on the long trip, Walker says.

Local moving companies benefit from having more work available for their movers, he says. He currently has about 650 locally owned movers in the network to call upon and hopes to have 1,000 by the end of the year.

A spokesman for the American Moving and Storage Association, a national trade organization of moving companies, said he had not heard of the Frederick company, but it sounded like the firm had come up with a unique concept.

George Bennett said most major firms supply the trucks and movers and drive the vehicles from the one home to the new home.

The major moving van lines formed in the 1920s and 1930s from moving companies trying to make the cross-country trips more profitable. Sending movers out with a full vehicle and then back with an empty vehicle was not cost effective. The van lines formed to help ensure vehicles could make the return trip hauling furniture for customers going along the return route.

Bennett said he's heard of moving contractors who supply the vehicle and driver, but the customer provides the manual labor to load and unload the vehicle with the driver supervising. But he said he had not heard of an effort before for companies to provide the labor while the customer drives the vehicle.

There are nearly 1,000 full-service moving companies nationally and about 4,500 independent contractors, mostly local operators, Bennett said.

Walker started his moving company in 1987. He had been helping a friend on moving jobs for extra cash and found he liked the work.

In 1997, he opened the Web site with the idea of attracting more customers to his small business, located on Hillmark Court.

A strong economy and strong home sales in the region has meant more people either buying new homes or getting jobs in another region and moving.

He estimates his 1999 gross revenues were $250,000, about a 40 percent increase from two years ago. He has three staffers who work exclusively on the Internet business, scheduling work for the other moving companies and arranging for his workers to handle moves.

The business charges a commission for arranging moves for other companies. He estimates conservatively that the business has made $30,000 to $40,000 from the Internet activities.

He's currently working on formalizing his arrangement with Ryder and he's also working with Realtors to try to get moving costs put into mortgage loans to help people pay for the trips.

"Moving is one of the most stressful things that can occur to someone," Walker says. "We want to take the stress out of it."

[Company Profile] [Services] [Rates] [Contact] [Packing Tips]
box[Box Outlet] [Useful Links] [Internet Moving Team] [Testimonials] [Weather]