Iphone in front of boxes, couch and lamp.The first version of our iPhone app is here. You can read news about its release in TechCrunch, check out the features here, and download it in the App Store. In Moveline for iPhone, we’ve built a new product that improves the otherwise painful experience of moving, and launched an idea that changes the moving industry for the better, and forever.

Bringing the moving process into a new era

In 2012, we can buy a car without visiting a dealership, and hail town cars from our smartphones. Still, we can’t get a worthy estimate for a move without giving up the lunch hour for a sales call. The way we shop for everything else has evolved — moving hasn’t kept up.

For the first version of Moveline for iPhone, we’ve started with a fresh take on the home inventory: the first, most critical step in working with a moving company.

Home inventories in the dark ages

The most powerful information about a move is the customer’s inventory — the list of stuff they have to move. This list is infinitely useful to moving companies. From it, they can determine how much space the customer’s things will take up on a truck for interstate shipping, how many boxes they’ll need to pack everything, and what kind of services will be required on the job. More importantly, it helps them decide how many people they’ll need to perform the move, how long it will take, and how much to charge for their services. Because this information is so important, most moving companies require a home inventory before giving their customers a quote on their move.

To date, the practice of creating home inventories has remained stale and unfriendly to customers. Good moving companies send a salesperson to the customer’s home to create the inventory by walking through each room, writing down each item that has to be moved, and estimating the boxes needed to pack smaller stuff. These appointments are a time-sink for customers, not to mention the awkward experience of watching a stranger walk through their place and open cabinets. By the end of the visit, they still only have one quote on the table. To compare prices from 3 moving companies (as savvy consumers should), they have to repeat this 3 times.

It’s expensive for moving companies to keep an army of sales people in the field, so some companies cut corners and let customers list their stuff over the phone. It’s less hassle, but also dangerous: because the estimator on the other line can’t actually see the stuff the customer has to move, details get lost that otherwise factor into the estimates. Phone inventories are notoriously inaccurate, and since everything is based on faulty data, they often lead to customers paying more and experiencing sloppy moves.

Finally, there’s an app for that

Our goal was simple. We aimed to create a product that gives people an easy way to get prices from several moving companies based on a single inventory — one that gives movers the information they depend on to plan and execute a quality move.

Mobile video for efficient, accurate inventories

We’ve taken advantage of the advancement in smartphone tech and faster bandwidth to finally do visual home inventories at scale without compromising detail.

Using Moveline for iPhone, customers can shoot a quick room-by-room video tour of their place, or connect with one of our Move Captains using video chat to show us the stuff they’d like to move. We see the same things salespeople see when they walk through a customer’s home, without the cost or invasion of on-site visits. Based on the footage, our in-house team of trained estimators create the customer’s inventory using software we’ve spent years developing based on data from hundreds of past moves. When they’re done, they send the inventory back to the customer to make decisions about which things to take with them, what to put in storage, or leave behind, and let the customer control the inventory from there.

One inventory. One estimate. Apples-to-apples price comparison

When customers have finalized their inventory, they can submit it back to Moveline for quotes. We strip the move of any personally identifiable information about the customer, and shop it around to the best moving companies in town to get competitive quotes, all based on the same information. We screen our network of moving companies heavily for quality; only approved providers can bid on Moveline jobs.

Using Moveline, customers get to review 3-5 quotes (depending on providers’ schedules) from moving companies all at once. These prices are guaranteed. As long as the inventory and the other job details stay the same, the prices they see for the move are exactly what they’ll pay.

Feedback so far

The app is just now available for download by the public, but we’ve been live doing video and FaceTime inventories since June (to early users who sent videos via Dropbox, thanks for your patience) and been beta testing the app on live moves for the past few weeks. What we’ve heard from people who’ve used it has surprised even us.

Customers love our inventory process because:

  • It saves time. They can skip the in-home visits, spend 15-20 minutes filming their place, and they’re done.
  • They’re not dealing with pushy salespeople. They decide based objective information and compare prices straight.
  • It’s private. Contact info and videos are never shared outside Moveline, which means no unwanted calls.
  • They trust the results. No of second-guessing their own box estimates using online inventory forms, they have confidence knowing that the inventory was created by an expert.

The moving companies we work with love it because:

  • They believe the numbers, because they’re based on a visual survey.
  • They provide all the information needed to prepare the crew for a solid move.
  • Business comes to them. No need to send salespeople to quote, they just report the price.

Coming up next

This app is our first foray into mobile, but there’s more to come. We’ll be adding more features to the app over the coming months to make it useful in other stages of the move. We also have plans to extend the app to other platforms in the future. Until then, Moveline customers who don’t own an iOS device can still connect with us over other video chat platforms like Google Hangout and Skype.

For now, we’re excited about the app’s release, and look forward to receiving feedback, fixes, and feature requests from the first wave of downloads so we can make it even better.

If you’d like to know more about the app, or have suggestions to make it better, drop us a line at support@moveline.com. We’d love to hear from you.

Ready to move? Build your move inventory today with Moveline.