Moving sucks. Mike Glanz went all in on that basic premise and ended up running an online moving business in Oceanside that now pulls in about $8 million in annual gross revenue.
A decade ago, most people were either renting their own trucks or hiring full-service companies and paying them thousands of dollars to do everything.
Glanz and his roommate Pete Johnson started seeing the rapid emergence of a new type of move. More and more folks were renting their own moving trucks and then finding movers to hire by going online to sites like Craigslist, or swinging by Home Depot to pick up day laborers. Glanz and Johnson called it the "hybrid move," and they decided to build HireAHelper.com, a website that would make it easier.
In a new episode of I Made it in San Diego, a podcast about the people behind the region’s businesses, I talk to Glanz about how and why he's helping to disrupt the multibillion-dollar moving industry.
By simply entering a date and zip code, folks can easily compare prices of local movers. With just a few clicks, the movers are hired and the deal, which typically ends up costing under $300, includes insurance, meaning anything that breaks in the process will be replaced.
When the website launched in June 2007, it grew steadily. By 2008, Glanz and Johnson were feeling confident they could turn HireAHelper into a very successful business. But then the mega-business U-Haul stepped in and served them with a lawsuit. U-Haul said they were infringing on the term "moving help," a term the company has trademarked.
The lawsuit nearly shut the business down.
"[U-Haul] didn't give us an option to go away or to close up shop or to just quit," Glanz said. "They seemed like they were out for blood."
Instead, HireAHelper doubled down and worked to grow the business enough to pay off the legal fees and make a profit. The lawsuit was eventually settled, and the website has gone on to become a solid business that helped facilitate over 65,000 moves across the country last year.