Comparing the ‘Uber For Moving’ Apps

I move into my new apartment one week from today. (I know, right? I can’t believe it either.) This means I need to figure out how I’m going to get my single truckload of stuff from Capitol Hill to Ballard.

It should surprise absolutely nobody that when you type the words “uber for moving” into Google, you get a gob of apps all itching to help you solve that particular problem. There are a lot of us in urban areas who don’t have enough stuff for a standard moving van (or even one of those super-small moving vans) and would love to just hire someone with a pickup truck to help them move a bed and a handful of boxes across town.

Which of these apps might be best for my upcoming move? Let’s find out.

We’ll start with Dolly, the “move anything app.” All of these apps work in roughly the same way; Dolly, for example, states that it “allows background-checked Helpers with pickup trucks, vans, and large SUVs to connect with people who need help with micro-moves in the city.” (I love the use of the word “allows” here.)

To get an accurate Dolly quote, I need to count up my number of “items,” which they helpfully define as “things that would require a trip to the vehicle.” The mattress on a bed is an item, as is the bedframe. But three small boxes can also count as an item.

I am far enough in my packing process to be able to count the boxes and furniture components, and I anticipate it will take 24 trips to the vehicle to transfer all of my stuff. Of course, I’m going to be carrying stuff along with my Dolly Helper, so I decide to divide it by two, assuming that I should only pay for what the Dolly Helper carries. (I have no idea if this is the right thing to do here.)

Dolly says this trip will cost me $158 if I want the Dolly Helper to carry everything into the apartment for me, and $117 if I want them to drop it off in front of the apartment building and do the work of carrying it in myself.

This sounds like it could be a winning option, although I’ll need to email Dolly about the “only paying for the half of the stuff that the Dolly Helper carries” thing. I ran the numbers again using all 24 items, and it came to $255 to get everything in the apartment and $190 if they leave it on the curb.

Next, I decided to check out Lugg, which charges “$2.00 per driving mile, $0.60 per driving minute and $0.75 per minute of labor at each location.” I bet we could keep the labor down to 30 minutes on each end, especially with me helping. So… $45 for the labor, $17 for the miles, $15 for the driving minutes, or around $77.

Unfortunately, Lugg only operates in the San Francisco Bay Area right now. Otherwise I’d be signing up so fast.

Wagon, which does operate in Seattle, keeps the pricing very simple: “$15 every 15 minutes. Flat. No per item charge, no mileage charge. Just simple $15 every $15 minutes. Minimum 30 minutes.”

If I estimate that it will take 30 minutes to put my stuff in their truck, 25 minutes to drive to my new apartment, and 30 minutes to get the stuff out of the truck, I might pay $84 total for my move.

Interestingly, Wagon does not use the word “move” in its app description. They prefer “on-demand hauling furniture, large items.” How would they feel about a bunch of smaller items? I guess this might require another email to Customer Service.

There’s also GoShare and its painfully awkward intro video:

I’m just… I’m not going to use you, GoShare.

Lastly, there’s BuddyTruk, because spelling it BuddyTruck would have been too basic. Here’s how the pricing works: “Cost is based on both time and distance. So a 5 mile delivery that takes 30 minutes would be $37. [5 miles ($5)+ 30 minutes ($30) + $2 Cargo Safety Fee= $37]”

That means my 8.5 mile move that might take 90 minutes would come down to $100.50. However, BuddyTruk does not operate in Seattle, so I have to scratch it off my list regardless.

Also, in the time it took me to finish writing this post, I heard back from Dolly. Counting 12 items instead of 24 is correct, and they also gave me a 15 percent discount code, which would bring the $158 trip down to $134.30. That’s some solid customer service. We’ll see if I hear back from Wagon; otherwise, it’s Dolly all the way.

Photo credit: Horia Varlan

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