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Seattle company looking to get rid of 'ghost trucking'

Oct 25, 2015 at 10:21 AM CST
SEATTLE -- While its name sounds very Halloween-ish, Ghostruck is anything but scary.

Ghostruck is an on-demand mobile app that connects people and businesses with professional movers who have empty or partially-filled trucks. The year-old Seattle company wants to eliminate "ghost trucking" -- an industry term for an empty truck heading to home base after it has delivered its goods and completed a job.

"Twenty-five percent of moving trucks on the road today are completely empty or have available space," said Nathanael Nienaber, Ghostruck co-founder and CEO.

Nienaber and his team want to eliminate the need to hire a rental truck or moving company for the day just for just a couple of items "that are too big for a Prius."

"This is so much more streamlined," said Ben Knudsen, owner of Diggs, a furniture store in Ballard.

Knudsen participated in a 10-month pilot of the service in Seattle and realized he didn't need to shoulder the cost of owning a box truck and a delivery crew on his payroll.

"They bundled it with other stuff they are doing," said Knudsen. "So it's not like I'm hiring a whole team to come do the whole job and that's what they are going to spend their day doing".

Users can download a free app for IOS or Android, snap photos of what they need moved, enter where it is and where it's going, a time window for delivery and Ghostruck's proprietary technology will deliver a fixed rate for the move. Nienaber says the fee is guaranteed and fluctuates based on date and time of delivery.

"The challenge for us - is it the right price the customer wants to pay and is it the right price for a mover makes sense for him to do it" says Nienaber. He says a complicated algorithm calculates the price for the customer. If the customer accepts the price, the job is then forwarded to a list of "vetted and licensed professional movers," said Neinaber.

Moving companies that have partnered with Ghostruck have a choice to accept the job that could augment a delivery already booked for a given area.

"We of course receive a percentage of that price," said Gabriel Juzon of Superfriends Moving. "You no longer have to coerce friends with a truck with pizza and beer to get them to move your stuff."

Ghostruck efficiencies have removed the need for an estimator to visit a home to price out a moving job. That's now done by Ghostruck's technology. The company's success hinges on that pricing model technology.

In September, Ghostruck expanded to 12 major cities outside of Seattle. Those cities include Portland, Sacramento, San Francisco, Oakland, Los Angeles San Diego, Denver. Austin, Miami, Washington, D.C./Arlington and Boston.