The COVID-19 crisis has given a fillip to the moving company market. French startup Utily.fr has called on Limonetik, specialised in international payments and marketplace solutions, to set up a multi-instalment payment solution with FLOA, a French banking leader in omnichannel payment.
Launched in 2018 and based in Vincennes near Paris, Utily.fr, a moving company, is riding the wave in a booming market worth over €4 billion in France alone. From 2018 to 2020—the year in which COVID gave a huge boost to the moving business—this innovative new company showed exponential growth of 609%.
“The lockdown was so brutal that many French people chose to move, which explains why our business has really exploded and is now considered ‘essential'”, says Mike Dejardin, 28, erstwhile corporate middle manager, who is founder and president of Utily.fr.
But the sudden desire of the French to move to larger and/or greener residences does not solely explain the success of Utily.fr. More importantly, the company is meeting the latent needs of consumers, especially when it comes to confidence.
“It may seem surprising but, for the French, moving is the third greatest source of stress! This is explained by numerous problems with movers, not to mention security issues, consistent pricing, payment terms and itemized quotes… in short, customers are mainly blaming movers for a lack of transparency and support.”
Meeting latent customer needs
The Utily.fr marketplace allows customers to simulate an online quote and compare movers. The company offers a variety of concierge services for both individuals and businesses, and boasts other advantages:
“A move can often be very expensive. That’s why we needed to offer different payment terms to meet the needs of all our customers. We decided to give them the option of splitting their payments.”
In a nutshell, a customer can take out a micro-credit, select the desired package and then spread payment over multiple instalments.
To make this possible, Utily.fr partnered up with another French business, Limonetik, a specialist in automated online payment management, and its partner FLOA Bank (part of the Casino Group).
“Limonetik has a solid reputation in online payment with a number of marketplaces. Particularly, we found their solution to be much more effective and capable of being easy integrated into our platform. What’s more, the Limonetik service team speaks our language—a real advantage since we are collaborating on this new payment system to most effectively meet our customers’ expectations.”
Disruption in the moving business and a changing image
Utily.fr is unique in that it acts as an intermediary for the mover and not as a broker paid on commission. This offers an advantage to professional movers and end-users by having to deal with only one contact.
Utily.fr allows customers to independently compare offers from movers selected for the quality of their services and then choose from one of three plans. The company handles all insurance issues. Clients receive a detailed quote before being contacted by a consultant who checks that all the information is complete. Utily.fr then handles the rest.
This offering has already attracted a large number of customers, both in France and in nearly twenty countries within and outside Europe. In 2021, Utily.fr plans to build up its sales force and call centre with a dozen more staff. This company strategy is addressing some three million moves that take place each year in France.