Have Bin, Will Travel: New Company Thinks Outside the Box to Make Moving Easier

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Rent a binIn the bitter catalog of inconveniences associated with moving, finding boxes barely deserves a mention: Compared to changing addresses and forwarding mail, switching phones and looking for the best supermarket, finding cardboard packing cartons is pretty minor. Still, whether one decides to buy brand new boxes from U-Haul or simply scavenges leftovers from the local liquor store, gathering containers is a vital -- if irritating -- necessity.

Having moved several times, Stephanie LeBlanc found the perfect solution to the box problem: Over the years, she gathered a collection of reusable plastic bins that enabled her to pack her things with minimal fuss. But when she recently relocated to Hoboken N.J., she faced a problem: there was no room in her new apartment for her trusty plastic crates. Deciding that she was ready to stay put for a while, she put them up for sale on the Internet, where she discovered that she wasn't the only person with a box problem: "I was surprised to find other people doing the same thing. In fact, there was a large community of people asking for boxes or selling boxes."



LeBlanc and her partner, Cliff Godfrey, realized there was a business opportunity: By renting reusable bins, they could offer a low-priced, environmentally-sound alternative to traditional cardboard moving boxes. An Internet search revealed that some companies -- Canada's Frogbox and Florida's Bungobox -- had already come up with the same idea, but the New York/New Jersey area was still wide open. With millions of residents, it was a prime market for box rentals.

The pair came up with a name -- Bin There, Store That -- which they quickly registered on GoDaddy.com. Godfrey, who has a business degree, drafted the business plan, and they found a cheap online supplier for their bins. Their idea was simple: They would rent plastic bins at prices lower than the cost of buying new cardboard boxes. With free pick-up and delivery, their service would be more convenient. And what's more, by sanitizing their bins between uses, they could offer a handy solution to customers worried about bedbugs or other stowaways.

Thus far, business for Bin There, Store That has mostly grown through word of mouth. In fact, one of the company's first customers signed on when LeBlanc applied for business insurance: "When I was explaining our company to an insurance agent, she thought that it was a great idea. She was moving from a four-bedroom house to another four-bedroom house. A month later, she was one of our customers."

LeBlanc and Godfrey are still working out the kinks in their new business, and both still have full-time day jobs. But she is optimistic about the future: "I absolutely see this business moving up," she smiles. "Bin rental is the next big thing in the moving industry."
When you move, what do you use for carting your stuff?
Brand new boxes100 (30.5%)
Used boxes from the supermarket150 (45.7%)
Reusable plastic bins 59 (18.0%)
Plastic bags9 (2.7%)
I just throw everything in the car10 (3.0%)




Bruce Watson is a senior features writer for DailyFinance. You can reach him by e-mail at bruce.watson@teamaol.com, or follow him on Twitter at @bruce1971.


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Warren (CityMOVE.ca)

Plastic moving boxes are neither mover, cost nor environmentally friendly. As a professional mover I've had the misfortune to deal with this "greenwash" product regularly. Please visit my blog at
www.citymove.wordpress.com for an expanded discussion of the aforementioned points.

January 07 2012 at 6:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
emunoz1390

Wow!!

July 08 2011 at 3:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
wafredrick

...moving boxes / supplies are listed on freecycle.org for FREE all the time, several times a week! This is what prompted me to post in the first place. Please register and help yourself and others by gifting!

July 08 2011 at 1:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
wafredrick

A very useful web site / service is provided by freecycle.org

Please go online to freecycle.org and register for your geographic area. Everything posted there is FREE and is a mix of things that people in your area want to give away....as well as things that people need and hope that others have and are willing to give away....again, for FREE. It's a great way to recycle / reuse and to keep otherwise serviceable items out of the landfills. Give it a try!

July 08 2011 at 1:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply