The Seattle-based on-demand delivery and moving service, Dolly, is rolling out its services in San Francisco and Washington, DC, as it eyes a broader national expansion in the coming months after hitting a milestone of $1 million in monthly revenue earlier this year.
The company, which raised $8 million in a 2015 funding round, currently operates out of Seattle, Portland, San Diego, Denver, Chicago, Philadelphia and Boston.
What separates Dolly from moving services like the recently launched Moved, it its focus on single pieces of furniture or select small items that can fit in the back of a pickup truck. Dolly isn’t for big house moves, but rather getting that couch, cabinet, or dresser from the furniture store or the flea market to your home or apartment.
The company currently has 5,000 contracted movers or delivery representatives on its platform and is hoping to add between 200 and 400 more in San Francisco and DC (along with planned expansions into Los Angeles and Orange County) within the next six months.
The company said it hopes to hit the top 30 U.S. markets by the summer of 2019.
“Over the past four years we’ve learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t in terms of the markets we serve,” says Mike Howell, Dolly’s chief executive, in a statement. “We could have expanded a long time ago but we wanted to be smart about where and when to grow the business. Our approach has been intentionally methodical and data-driven.”
Dolly attributes its growth to partnerships with retailers like Costco, Big Lots, Lowe’s and Crate & Barrel, and that data-driven approach which has seen the startup analyze more than 100,000 moves in the markets that it enters.
“We understand that most people do not need a Dolly every day, every week or even every month,” says Howell. “As a result it doesn’t make sense for Dolly to heavily subsidize a first use-case like many subscription businesses do.
Dolly was launched in Chicago in 2013 by co-founders Howell, Jason Norris, Kelby Hawn and Chad Wittman. the platform uses an algorithm to set prices for jobs with initial prices ranging between $50 to $85.
And while the company is hoping to bring the on-demand marketplace model to moving services, it’s running into some of the same problems that have hit larger marketplaces like Lyft and Uber in ride-sharing and Airbnb in rentals.
The company has been exchanging lawsuits with Washington state over whether it needs to apply for a license to operate its services in the region. Washington says that Dolly needs to adhere to regulations governing moving services, while Dolly says the laws on the books are archaic and haven’t kept up with changes in consumer behavior and demand.
No matter the outcome, Dolly is pushing ahead with a nationwide rollout. As logistics and last mile delivery become more important, demand for services like Dolly’s should increase.
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