Container technology for the home removals market
By Mike Hanlon
January 20, 2004
When PODS started seven years ago, it was designed as a service for the storage industry - get a container delivered to home, stack it carefully over time, then call to have it picked up and delivered to a secure storage location. The founders had conceived the service as a way of securing regular business for their large secure storage warehouse. They estimated that they would need 80 Pods when the service was fully functional.
But the customers saw it differently - within minutes of delivering the first POD container, the calls started coming from people who had seen the unit in the driveway of the first customer. They didn't want to use it for storage - they wanted a more convenient way to pack for moving home.
Quite quickly, Pods founder Pete Warhurst recognised this previously uncontemplated service was far more appealing to customers - they wanted to use the Pod system so they could pack for removing house in their own time, then call to have it moved to the new home when they were ready.
Warhurst moved his focus from the temporary storage market to the moving industry and his new company has been growing rapidly ever since - the service has now expanded to more than 3,200 cities across America and there are 22,000 PODS in active usage.
Separating the truck from the storage container has proven to be a master stroke for the young company, which developed and built a patented hydraulic lift system designed to lift the Pods onto transport vehicles. The hydraulic lift has been redesigned several times since and is now in its sixth generation and has been used for about 450,000 deliveries.
This concept provides customers with the convenience of having a lockable container on-site to pack at their leisure at ground level. When it has been tightly packed without time constraints, the POD is picked up and moved to the customer's destination of choice.
This process eliminates time constraints, as well as the fuel and insurance expenses associated with traditional truck rentals - the lockable storage Pod can be kept on the premises indefinitely as a secure, lockable storage facility.
The concept also has found usage in a multitude of other business and personal applications - to bridge between home availability, to enable prolonged holidays, provide a viable storage alternative for interim moves, Cost-effective, long-distance moving, on-site mobile storage availability, to free up living / business operating space, and to store excess inventory, tools, equipment et cetera with easy access when required.
The Pod is available in two sizes ( 8x8x12 and 8x8x16), with the larger unit capable of holding the contents of an average home. Warhurst estimates using the Pod system for moving house is around 50% of the cost of traditional removalists if you pack the container yourself, and 20 - 30 percent less if paid packers are used.
The company now has international horizons and is negotiating with prospective licensees in several overseas areas - potential licensees should contact the company via their web site (http://www.pods.com)