A new company has moved into Wilmington, aiming to ease the often burdensome process of picking up your life’s belongings.
Pink Zebra Moving launched in Wilmington earlier this month, the franchise’s sixth location.
“The main reason we exist is because we think this industry is broken,” said founder Ron Holt. “And we want to disrupt it. In fact, we want to create a whole new category of moving companies that doesn’t currently exist that’s based on positive emotions.”
Holt, who had built a cleaning empire of nearly 100 franchise locations of Two Maids & A Mop that started in Florida, had a personal negative experience with a moving company when his entrepreneurial wheels began turning again.
He had enjoyed the grind from startup to CEO but was itching to start over again. “CEO life wasn’t necessarily as fun for me as startup life was,” he said. So, with plans to focus on launching a new moving business, Holt sold the cleaning company in 2021 and immersed himself in the new venture.
“I knew what was wrong with the industry from a consumer perspective,” he said. “But I didn't know a whole lot about the inside of the business. So we needed to literally make moves and see how to do those things.”
Customers often have negative encounters with moving companies, Holt said, with complaints including damage to personal property, unprofessionalism and sticker shock after estimates don't align with the final bill.
He said he designed Pink Zebra to reduce the opportunities for these negative experiences. Internal software helps employees keep an accurate inventory of items to aid with pricing accuracy, and a pay enhancement plan incentivizes positive employee performance based on customer ratings (a technique Holt also utilized with Two Maids & A Mop).
But what really assists with keeping estimates within range, Holt said, is the company’s commitment to communication.
He said, “We will communicate probably too much before the move occurs.”
This communication includes one nontraditional schtick: Movers will show up to customers’ homes the night before the move with a hot meal. “It's more than just offering free food,” Holt said. “There's an actual practical side of it, where we're talking to the customer about what's going to happen in the next couple of days during the move.”
During the actual move, employees play upbeat music and try to keep the mood light, Holt said. “We kind of put on a show while we’re doing the move,” he said.
Whether in a customer’s driveway or out on the highway, Pink Zebra’s branding is designed to capture attention. “The trucks are impossible to miss,” Holt said.
Wilmington franchise owner Cameron Calhoun, who met Holt because their wives were friends, said the new local operation has five employees. Starting out, Calhoun said the company’s growth plans aren’t just about getting big quickly. “What we're looking to do right now is to do the number of perfect moves that we can handle a day,” he said. “We're stacking up to be able to do two perfect moves a day.”
Though Pink Zebra does offer out-of-state moving service, Calhoun said it’s better at local moves for now and will service pickups as far as Morehead City, Kinston or the South Carolina state line.
Other Pink Zebra franchise locations include Birmingham, Auburn and Montgomery, Alabama; and Athens and Columbus, Georgia. Additional locations set to open soon include Nashville, Tennessee; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; and Charlotte, North Carolina.
“We offer a full range of moving services from package storage, junk removal – anything that a customer needs when it comes to getting from point A to B,” Calhoun said.