Nathan Whitaker had a problem. Moving out to Gulf Harbour from Auckland two years ago, his experiences with moving companies were, according to him, “absolutely terrible”.
Taking matters into his own hands, he launched the web-based start-up MovingPros, a comparison website for moving companies, in September 2016.
Instead of having to ring around multiple providers for quotes and repeating the same information several times over – or just not able to find a reputable business in the first place – the website allows consumers to view and compare different professional moving business based on a select number of qualities.
“We’re not trying to provide the service where people get the cheapest,” Whitaker says, “because our partners would never go for that.
“They wanted to know who else they were competing against, because if it was just against [businesses] that would under-cut them, then they wouldn’t want to have anything to do with us.”
Working with his brother Cam, the start-up instead focuses on quality, trusted professionals who go through a vetting process that includes service history, good reputations, and good reviews from happy customers.
“There’s a ‘no cowboys’ policy.”
This means consumers will be able to choose not only businesses with competitive pricing, but also a guarantee they will actually receiving their money’s worth.
Since the launch, the start-up has signed with nearly a hundred partners, predominantly small to medium owner-operator companies who are less likely to have extra capital for extra marketing.
Whitaker says they’re targeting what might be “great” businesses who are less savvy in the online space, and currently focusing on the greater Auckland region, as well as Christchurch.
Having already run an e-marketing service with his brother, Whitaker says they’re in the perfect position to service both other businesses as well as consumers.
“And we’re actually in the online space – we’ve been doing it a few years already – so we know how to market it, how to get it out there and launch it on the ground.”
More importantly, MovingPros will be the first steps to eventually building a series of sites under the “Pros” brand that cater to other home trade services.
Launched on Nov 30, LawnPros is the first of a series that may eventually be consolidated into one website that services the entire home care industry, Whitaker says.
“Obviously there’s things we still need to work on with our partners, but once we get that down we can just replicate the process.”
“We have a systemic approach where we can just launch in another market very quickly.”
It means that eventually, consumers will be able to use these websites to compare trade services such as electricians, plumbers, or lawn care professionals with just a few clicks.
According to Whitaker, it’s a gap in the market no one has spotted or acted on, and he sees it as possibly becoming the next TradeMe.
And the best part?
“It’s my brother and myself, working from home in our trackies and singlets,” Whitaker says. “We’re doing pretty good for just a couple stay-at-home dads.”