Lend A Box: An eco-friendly moving option
We found Lend A Box® recently and were so curious to learn more about how this company does moving with a green twist! We had the chance to chat with Stephanie Zimmerman, Lend A Box® co-founder and owner, and learn a bit more about this environmentally-friendly moving option! Check it out:
1. Tell us a little about Lendabox. Where did the idea come from? How long have you been in business? What area do you service? How many employees do you have?
Our company is a 100% woman-owned, Virginia-based business that delivers environmentally-friendly plastic moving boxes to our clients before their move or remodel. We formed the company in 2012 and did our first delivery in March 2013. This April will mark the beginning of our fourth year of deliveries. We celebrate our anniversary on Earth Day.
We’re not a huge company at all. We have six team members. My sister, Janice Gambaccini and I are the co-founders and owners of Lend A Box®.
Janice is the President of Lend A Box®. She is an attorney by trade. I’m the Chief Box Engineer. Prior to Lend A Box, I worked as a business consultant to the financial securities industry. Janice came up with the idea for the company while she was in the middle of a move herself. She pitched the idea to me, and I took her on as a “secret client.” I had always wanted to be part of a startup and here was my opportunity! We built the entire company on paper working through many iterations of what we thought would work best. Once we had a concept we liked, we decided to launch a beta test of the concept with 300 boxes. We both committed to taking five years off from our careers and in 2014, with a year of deliveries and pickups behind us, we invested in some additional inventory and started building our company.
Our clients live in the Washington DC Metropolitan area. We serve Washington DC, Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax and Loudoun counties. We have new routes that are opening up in Maryland: Montgomery County, Prince George’s County and in Virginia: Prince William County.
2. How does your business work? What do customers pay and what do they get?
We deliver environmentally-friendly plastic moving boxes to our clients before their move or remodel. Once they are done with the boxes, we pick the boxes up, clean and sanitize them, and deliver them to the next client.
We deliver pristine, quality plastic boxes to our clients within a one-hour window and include a brief orientation on how to use the boxes. Our range of products consists of five different-sized boxes, all of which are made of industrial strength recycled plastic. The boxes have attached interlocking lids and can hold up to 100 pounds. Our large and small boxes are specifically designed to fit through a standard-size interior door without awkward shuffling. Each box size is a different color to aid in organization, if desired. Molded hand grips facilitate easy lifting and custom-sized dollies make movement within the client’s home easy to manage. We offer corrugated plastic wardrobe boxes and packing paper in addition to our boxes and dollies. In addition to our residential offerings, we have commercial moving rental supplies including library carts, computer carts, furniture dollies, blankets and large bins.
Our environmentally-friendly plastic boxes may be rented separately or in bundles. To keep things simple, we created box rental packages of different sizes based on our delivery experience with our clients the first year. Our boxes come with labels and security ties. We also sell packing paper, which we are happy to deliver with the boxes. Boxes rent at $2/box/1st week and $1/box/additional week. Our wardrobe boxes rent at $7/wardrobe box/week. Custom fitting dollies rent at $5/dolly/week. We charge a $25 delivery fee (higher for out of area deliveries) for all residential deliveries to cover the costs associated with preparing, delivering, and picking up the boxes.
3. Why do you think this sort of concept for moving is needed and why do you think it works? How do your boxes hold up compared to the usual cardboard boxes?
There are so many reasons to choose Lend A Boxes over cardboard.
Lend A Box® saves time and money by delivering the boxes and picking them up after a move. A customer avoids purchasing, assembling, breaking down, and disposing of cardboard boxes altogether.
Using our boxes helps the environment. Our moving supplies are environmentally sustainable options to traditional moving materials.
One ton of cardboard is eliminated from landfills for every 10 four-bedroom packages or 50 studio packages rented from Lend A Box® .
Lend A Boxes are made from 100% recyclable plastic. A Lend A Box® is used hundreds of times before being reground into another Lend A Box®. Cardboard boxes are typically used once or twice in their lifetime before ending up in a landfill.
Producing one ton of cardboard requires 17 trees, 79 gallons of oil, 7,000 gallons of water, and 42,000 kilowatts of energy. By using our plastic boxes instead of cardboard for residential moves, Americans could save over 400 million gallons of oil, about 120 million trees, and almost 65 million cubic yards of landfill annually.
Our boxes are clean.
Lend A Boxes are more sanitary than cardboard boxes because they do not let in rodents or moisture (which leads to bacteria and mold).
Lend A Boxes are cleaned and disinfected between each use.
Clients tell us that their moves go quickly and easily.
Lend A Boxes are more space-efficient than varying sizes of cardboard boxes when packing a moving truck.
Lend A Boxes will not collapse. They are stronger and able to have more weight stacked on top of them than cardboard boxes.
Lend A Boxes will not shift as easily as cardboard boxes will during transport.
4. Do you hope to spread the company to other areas of the country? And if so, in what kind of timeline?
When we started our business in 2012, there were a handful of box operators in North America. We came to our business model organically, and then discovered a small community of others doing the same thing. Today, there are some franchises established, and the market is rapidly expanding. Lend A Box® will definitely participate in the growth of this quickly growing industry. As we grow locally, we will increase our footprint to include more cities. Our immediate goal is to establish brand recognition in the Washington DC metropolitan area. We’d like to be a Small Giant first, and then we’ll see what’s in store next.
5. Who do you think Lendabox is perfect for?
Lend A Box® is perfect for anyone who is preparing for a local move in the DC area, but it’s also great for a number of other tasks:
– Use in a home that is going to be staged to be sold
– A kitchen or basement remodel project
– A large paint project
– An office renovation that requires a move from one floor to another
– An event like a race or a picnic where supplies need to be toted out to remote locations
– Short-term or long-term storage needs
– A charity event – like a food collection or clothing drive
– Anywhere a cardboard box is used