I haven’t posted anything to this blog in the last three months. The reasons are that these months were absolutely thrilling. I completed my Ph.D. dissertation on Spatial Arbitrage at Georgia Tech, defended it in front of my esteemed committee. Next I moved with my family to Miami to my new Academic job at FIU Business School. (Yay!!!) .
This needed 100% focus. I hope to resume my blog post every weekend NOW.The move from Atlanta to Miami was complex – but having moved for the very first time in my life – with family (i.e. myself, wife and little one) it was bound to have challenges.
The key highlights and learnings were as follows:
1) I used technology (the internet and mobile apps)- to the extent possible to ship and track everything.
2) I figured out that in a market of multiple channels and competition in each channel, the customer wins ALWAYS, provided he chooses right set of options.
3) Any service wins or loses based on one single factor – Customer Delight…..
4) AirBNB is the brave new world…for travel/tourism…
The usual mover would have done this – rented a mobile truck such as one from U-Haul or from Penske, put all the stuff in it and driven it across the 600+ miles along the scenic route on I-75S. I had no energy do that since the previous two months were spent in one of my life’s most dedicated activity where I put in 100% of my effort and time. Moving using a truck would have costed me the least…but would have been very uncomfortable to my little daughter – who would have had to endure being tied into a baby seat at the backseat of a truck for about 12 hours.
The next best option was to use the Packers and Movers services offered by many companies. There are so many of them.They provide a whole range of services from packing and moving, to shipping using Container Boxes. The container boxes option at one point seemed convenient. Leave everything inside the container of a particular size and it will be picked up during their next enroute trip. The prices vary based on the size of container, the estimated time of delivery, and storage time.
The third and last option which occurred to me while I was packing my stuff into packing boxes was this: Why not use the regular postal service or a shipper like UPS/FedEx/USPS.
Contrary to popular belief, that shipping in pieces is expensive and big stuff like beds cannot be shipped, I realized that this option – for the web savvy person (me :-)) with a printer really works!!!! Its super convenient, frugal and predictable.All you need to do is to measure the size of your packages and weigh it (approximately). You can even pay for the shipping label using a credit card online after setting up an account…
Then you can print multiple labels – upto 25 of them in 1 go..Tape your boxes with packing tape, stick the labels on top and ship them. The beauty was this : you can ask UPS to come to your house and pick up the 25 packages for a very nominal cost.I paid about 40$ for picking up all this stuff I had. The UPS ground service is competitively priced, and is cheaper, more predictable and efficient compared to any other service out there. It is very simple and easy to print and ship.
With UPS you can track the exact location of your packages (or bulk shipping at one go). The packages literally follow you…. I was delighted that after a weekend stay at an AirBNB house, when, we just moved into our new house, the UPS packages were delivered to our doorstep just as it was shipped 3 days ago.. In addition, I shipped my car using car-shipping services which costed me about 0.25$ per mile of shipping the entire car. In addition, I sent a couple of large suitcases inside my car too….making my shipping worth the trip.
. Ofcourse, there were a few minor glitches, like 1 missing package and a few broken stuff-……. However, my discovery of AirBNB, Car Shipping services and Uber for transportation made me a lot more confident about the power of the internet. The internet and e-commerce bought me access to services that I would not have been able to obtain.
With my choice, I shipped everything at 1/10th the cost of using Packers and Moves and ¼th the cost of using a Container. Added to this, my stuff arrived along with me to Miami.
More on move….in a future post.