“Seriously, a moving company?”
Service industries are demanding. People businesses don’t scale. We’ll compete with so many other moving companies. It’s capital intensive. It’s labor intensive. People move once a year at most. Do we really want to start a transportation and logistics company?
What about starting an e-commerce brand? Software services using machine learning or natural language processing? Drones? AR/VR? What about two-sided markets like Uber?
For these reasons and more, it comes as a surprise to friends and family that we are building a moving company. It’s so unsexy. In a world that glorifies technology innovation (Computer vision! Autonomous vehicles!), starting a traditional moving company is confusing. What’s innovative about moving?
How did we get here?
My co-founder Dylan and I met at Warby Parker, an undeniably sexy startup hailed for innovation. After pioneering e-commerce with the Home Try-On program, the company set a new standard for retail store design. The all-in price for a pair of glasses is still unbelievable. Fast Company named Warby Parker the most innovative company in the world and the first great made-on-the-Internet brand. The list goes on.
Despite all the splashy innovation Warby Parker is known for, Dylan and I believe what moved the needle most was something the team talked a lot about internally, but that didn’t get a lot of coverage in the press.
Beyond beautiful eyewear, it’s about creating an amazing customer experience.
The team was constantly dreaming up new ways to delight customers. Chew toys were sent to customers who lost their frames to misbehaving dogs, gift cards were sent to those dealing with bad breakups, and custom playing cards were sent just because. This may seem frivolous, but it illustrates the company’s dedication to satisfaction beyond the core shopping experience.
What did any of this have to do with glasses?
Nothing, and that’s the point. We know deep to our core that delivering an amazing experience and building a direct relationship with your customer transcends the product offering. It’s all about how you make people feel.
On a personal note, this resonates with my core values. I’m the guy who loves to host and thinks enjoying the journey is far more important than reaching the destination. I have always been motivated to create experiences that bring people joy, and Warby Parker taught me to embrace that as a competitive advantage.
So, why moving?
Is there an industry where the bar is lower? Almost everyone we talk to agrees that moving sucks. These perceptions are pervasive and grounded in real experiences. When we surveyed graduate students who recently moved they gave their moving companies an NPS score of –41. Everyone had horror stories: the movers showed up three hours late, they held my stuff hostage and up-charged me on moving day, etc.
How are companies so bad at solving a problem as old as humankind?
This is the question Dylan and I set out to answer. What we found is that for two people who learned how to deliver amazing customer experiences from the best, there couldn’t be a better opportunity or more exciting challenge. As my marketing professor at Wharton once said, “If you can figure out how to make people enjoy moving…wow.”
How will we do it?
First, we will exclusively send trained Walnut employees on our moves—no subcontractors. We invest in more training than any other moving company and deliver the hospitality-inspired Walnut moving experience every time.
Second, we offer genuine pricing and won’t accept tips. Customers never pay more than the quotes they receive. Refusing tips rescues customers from that awkward moment while allowing us to guarantee high wages to our movers. Our movers appreciate it, and we invest in their personal and professional growth because we mutually see a future together at Walnut.
Finally, we remove stress from the moving process by assigning dedicated planning and moving day support to everyone who hires Walnut. We sweat the details so customers can focus on their lives.
Help us help you.
This summer we will beta test our service through friends and family referrals. People find moving companies through word-of-mouth, so with your help, we’re confident we can transform the moving industry.
If you are moving in New York or the surrounding areas, please fill out this Moving Roadmap so we can get to know you better. If you just want to say hello, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also follow along our journey by signing up at our website and checking out my co-founder Dylan’s Medium post.
Update (Aug-2): Breaking the rules by design
Update (Aug-9): “Tipping is this bizarre mess of a system”
Thank you for being part of the Walnut story!