Bellhops grows local business

When Cameron Doody and Stephen Vlahos noticed freshman parents hated moving their children in and out of the dorms, they were inspired to create Bellhops.

Doody and Vlahos started the company as Campus Bellhops working campus-only jobs. In 2013, the two relocated to Chattanooga, Tennessee, changed the company name to Bellhops and expanded business to go beyond the college campus and include residential and commercial 
moving jobs.

Today, Bellhops is a startup moving company that connects college students with small- to medium-sized moving and lifting jobs.

The company employs more than 6,000 contracted college students. Bellhops services are available in 90 cities, including Bloomington, Indianapolis and West Lafayette, Indiana, and jobs can be booked through the Bellhops app or website.

“We’re the option between booking the traditional moving company and begging your friends for help,” David Martin, Bellhops’ communication director, said.

Bellhops has been described as the Uber of moving, Martin said.

Student employees receive a notification from the Bellhops app with details of the date, location and size of a moving job when a customer schedules a move, just like Uber, he said.

Today, dorm moves make up only 5 percent of Bellhops’ business, Martin said, but the company is growing dramatically.

In the Indianapolis market, Bellhops saw numbers in April they were not experiencing until June or July 2015, Martin said. This is particularly significant because June through August is peak moving season, so seeing higher numbers earlier in the year bodes well for the future, he said.

Last year, Bellhops’ business grew by more than two-fold in Bloomington, so the company is looking to hire 100 more Bloomington-area college students to assist with the summer moving season, Matt Patterson, Bellhops chief operations officer, said in a press release.

“Thanks to mushrooming demand, we must drastically increase the number of bellhops we have in the field,” Patterson said in the release. “It’s that simple.”

Because Bellhops employment is contract based, it provides many benefits for college students, such as the ability to make their own schedule, Martin said.

Employees can also take the job wherever they go by adjusting their location in the app, Martin said.

“We have students who do road trips and do Bellhops jobs for beer money as they’re driving across the continent,” Martin said.

Bellhops employs more women than the average moving company, 
Martin said.

“We still have females in the single digits, but it’s moving from less than 2 percent to 6 to 7 percent,” Martin said. “I think this says a lot about Bellhops.”

Currently, Bellhops does not provide transportation services, but Martin said the company hopes to expand to provide full-service moving options in the future.

Martin said he attributes the company’s success to their belief no job is too big or too small.

“We’ll help someone move in the summer and we’ll get a call back around the holidays to help get their holiday stuff lugged out of the attic,” Martin said. “You can’t get a moving company to help you get a Christmas tree out of the attic or clean out their garage, but that’s what our customers come back to us for.”

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