“Kennedy wanted a man on the moon; we just want Bellhops in every city in the country.”
The Bellhops take their slogan seriously and have set up shop in Davis.
Founded in 2011 by University of Auburn students Stephen Vlahos and Cameron Doody, Bellhops began by offering their moving services to incoming freshmen at orientation, and by year two, they had caught on so quickly they decided to expand to eight other universities.
“Fifty million people will move this year and 30 million of them will be moving locally,” co-founder Cameron Doody said. “What’s interesting is of those 30 million, 75 percent are do-it-yourselfers. That’s where we come in.”
Bellhops don’t consider themselves “movers” per se, but rather just friends who help you move. They exclusively contract local college students, or Bellhops, to serve small-scale moving needs. There are essentially four different types of moves: loading help, unloading help, A-B moves and residential housing move-ins.
Vlahos and Doody think of their business model to be similar to that of the San Francisco-based company Uber, a mobile application that connects passengers with drivers of vehicles for hire and ridesharing services. Similarly to Uber, Bellhops offers something large companies can’t: same-day service and affordability.
“College students are an integral part of the company,” Doody said. “They aren’t worried about kids, a mortgage or their 401 (k)s. They’re ambitious and are looking for ways of earning money.” There are currently 71 UC Davis students employed by Bellhops who are fully prepared for on-demand, same-day service.
Andy Carriger and Walter Earnest are two of the company’s first hires from UCD. Both are majoring in managerial economics and when not practicing for the Aggie football team, they’re perusing the Bellhops website looking for possible moving jobs to claim. Their first move was in early June with Earnest taking the role of captain and Carriger as his wingman.
“I get a good workout from it,” Earnest said. “For me personally I know how difficult moving is, especially if you have a lot of stuff, but since we’re big football players we can take care of all the heavy stuff. We’re used to it.”
Carriger also is no stranger to moving as he has relocated four times in his first year at UCD.
“Bellhops has a really good workforce and we already have about 10 other football players who signed up to work,” he said.
While the workforce is mainly college students, only about half of all moves are students. Carriger and Earnest’s first move was a couple of UCD alumni heading across town. In a released statement, the couple said “they made what is usually an unpleasant and time-consuming experience into something fast and easy.”
Bellhops has been growing exponentially. From serving 48 cities last year, to 128 this year as well as an increase in their workforce to more than 8,000, Doody and Vlahos believe the best is yet to come.
“People want things now,” Doody said. “They don’t want to wait for a week or have a company throw a bunch of quotes at them, they want immediate gratification, and college students are exceptional at facilitating that. We want to fill the voids traditional moving companies can’t fill with our young, trustworthy and educated workforce. ”
With a budding new business that hopes to be in every college city in the country by 2016 and a 97 percent customer-satisfaction rating, Bellhops is ready to get moving.
For more information, visit getbellhops.com.