Expert Interview Series: Kristin Smith of Dolly on Simpler and Safer Moves

Expert Interview Series: Kristin Smith of Dolly on Simpler and Safer Moves

Safer moves

Kristin Toth Smith is passionate about building and growing businesses and careers, currently as the COO of Dolly, an app that connects users to local movers. At Dolly, Kristin is driving and building the company’s operations as well as business development and as a contributor to the recently released Women In Tech book. We recently asked her about Dolly and making your next move easier and safer. Here’s what she had to say:

Can you tell us the story behind Dolly?

Dolly was born out of frustration for the inconvenience, cost and stress that came from two of our co-founders trying to move large items around without owning a truck. One was moving the large things from his apartment to a new apartment, and the other was trying to get an awesome BBQ grill home from a Craigslist purchase. In both cases, they were looking for a better way to do what they were doing so that they could spend their days the ways that they like instead of on these chores. One searched high and low for an app to help you move stuff and the other thought, as he was on his way to rent a pickup truck, “how do I meet all of the people I’m passing who have pickup trucks and ask them to help me out?”

After having these experiences shortly after one another, the co-founders started realizing how many times having access to a truck and some muscle would be helpful. It was then that they started to analyze the opportunity and creating the MVP. Shortly after that, they were testing with one Dolly Helper in Chicago to rave reviews and customer pleas to expand the service.

What moving hassles and headaches are you trying to solve with Dolly?

Our mission is to create freedom: of choice, of time and from worry.

What this means is that we want to allow customers (and Helpers) to live, buy and do what they want to do, spend their time in the way that they most want to, and avoid as much of the moving, delivery and “OMG – How am I going to get that thing home?” stress as possible.

A few ways that customers use us:

    • Get a purchase home from a Craigslist seller or retail store
    • Move the “big stuff” (sofa, bed, dining room table, desk) from one apartment to another
    • Deliver home improvement supplies or plants/trees so that they can spend their time working instead of running out to get things
    • Move equipment or inventory around for their business
    • Take something that they no longer need to a charity or the dump

What are the most common mistakes or oversights we make when moving large items?

Not being prepared! You need to make sure that the item will fit through hallways, around corners and through doorways both where it’s originating as well as where it’s going. You’ll also want to make sure that you protect the floor, the item and yourself as you maneuver big/bulky items through the moving environment. And be careful! Just because you can deadlift an item doesn’t mean that you’ll be able to maneuver it through tight places while keeping yourself from injury.

Once it’s on the truck, properly tying it down and protecting it from the elements is key!

What are some of the trickiest items to move?

There are some things that really deserve a specialized mover: pianos and other delicate, heavy instruments (though we have a very happy harp player amongst our customers), heavy antiques that are irreplaceable, and safes/gun safes that require specialized equipment to move. These are much better served by a specialized mover.

That said, anything big or bulky can be tricky to move if you don’t have the experience to get things through tight spots or secure them properly in a truck. That’s why we created Dolly – to do the heavy lifting and transporting for you!

When should we consider hiring professionals to help with a move rather than taking the DIY approach?

The biggest upside to using Dolly instead of doing it yourself is convenience and efficiency. Most of us only handle big and bulky items a few times a year. However, Dolly Helpers do it every day! This means they are usually much faster … not to mention, you don’t need to co-opt your friends’ or your whole weekends to move or deliver an item.

Usually, we’re cheaper, too – especially when you factor in renting a truck, paying for gas and mileage and buying everyone pizza and beer!

And don’t forget about damages. It’s easy to drop or mis-secure items during a move if you aren’t well-prepared or experienced.

What sort of research should we do when hiring professional movers?

It’s hard to do, but you’ll want to find out about not only the company and their willingness to stand behind their moves and provide great service, but also learn about the movers themselves.

What advice can you offer on preparing for a move? Where should we start?

    • Make sure to prepare your items and your space for moving. Wrap items, protect corners and protect hardwood floors from legs or other corners on items.
    • Ensure that the items you have will fit through the hallways and doorways on both sides of the move.
    • Finally, be sure that it’s easy to get in and out of the pick up and drop off locations. Move other furniture or items out of the way so that you have a clear path

What are the smartest things we can do to prevent injury to ourselves and our valuables on moving day?

The biggest thing is to use good judgement. If it’s hard to pick something up when you are standing still, it will be really difficult when you are lifting and moving the item through tricky situations. It’s easy to get off-balance and twist/pull something or fall. If it’s even on the edge of too heavy, make sure you get help! And remember that you’re going to get tired if you are moving a lot of items. Make sure that you factor that in when you think about what kind of/how much help you need.

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