The Moving Gig Economy Is Growing

Instant 24/7 Services

We all love our technology these days – smartphones, tablets and computers are never far out of reach, which of course means that we’re able to get online and contact businesses in a matter of seconds, purchasing all manner of products and services on the go. A great example of this instant service provision is presented by Uber.

We’re all familiar with the company Uber (a worldwide lift sharing company that identified the simple consumer demand of needing to get from A to B). Supplying consumers with the use of an app directly connected to your debit card, you can find Uber drivers in your area that can see your request and will be with you at a scheduled time to take you to your location. Is there a moving industry ‘Uber-equivalent’?

The Uber of Moving

It seems that a number of companies are now also applying this ‘peer to peer’ system to the moving services product…What if you had a house or an office full of things you wanted to move from A to B? Organisations like Shift are swooping in to offer an alternative to the more traditional mover. The general idea is that a pool of movers registers with a contracting company and are matched with customers looking to book a move in their local area. Users are dubbing these types of gig economy moving companies as the “Ubers of the Removals World”.

Created by a 24-year-old tech entrepreneur Jacob Corlett, Shift is already a multi-million-pound company with a small team managing a network of at least 2,500 part time van drivers. The company has created its success by having identified a gap in the market for providing fast and convenient moving services 24/7 and bridging the gap between mover and consumer with mobile technology…It seems that Shift’s client base is very much on-board!

The Gig Economy

The main positives of the gig economy arrangement are greater flexibility and freedom for those workers who agree to the terms of the contracting company. Workers operate autonomously and decide to work when its most convenient for them. This benefits the contractor as in theory, with enough flexible workers you can provide services at any given time, 7 days a week. Contractors are also able to avoid the costs associated with standard employees.

Despite this, the gig economy does not come without criticism. The permanent employment status of gig economy workers is regularly called into question in the headlines. Without set hours are workers in fact employees? Do they have the same rights and entitlement as those with more conventional contractual obligations? Are contractors simply echoing the controversy surrounding ‘zero-hour contracts’? There are many questions surrounding the nature of the gig economy…

Moving Industry

The main concerns of many gig economy workers include job security and the ability to take holidays or sick leave. In spite of this, Entrepreneur Europe predicts ‘The gig economy workforce is expected to hit 9.2 million Americans by 2021 as the convenience economy continues to expand from food delivery and ride-sharing to pharmaceuticals and on-demand event staffing’. This list of available gig economy services is sure to increasingly include the movement of household goods – removals and relocation services.

With the potential for increasing numbers of gig economy movers to enter the industry, traditional moving companies will no doubt be raising concerns regarding increased risk of uncertified, inexperienced and unreliable ‘moving companies’ coming to market. Can gig economy movers put the infrastructure in place to protect their clients and contracted workers? If not, reports of scam movers and expensive damages will no doubt be on the rise.

Written by Mourelle Josiah-Wong – Administrative Intern at Alchemy Global Talent Solutions.