WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- "The Couch That Started It All" sits in Rudy Callegari’s New York City office, serving dual purposes as a place to sit and a reminder that it sparked the idea for the New Rochelle man’s latest business venture.
Callegari is co-founder and President of Zootly, an on-demand moving services company that helps people locate and book moving trucks and delivery vans. Callegari developed the app after frustratingly researching how to move a rather unremarkably basic blue two-person loveseat approximately 10 miles.
“My brother had the couch in his apartment in Manhattan,’’ Callegari said. “There was no easy solution to move it to Brooklyn. I couldn’t believe the moving industry was still in the stone age. They were analog, and the rest of the world was digital.”
Callegari contacted movers who required a six-hour minimum and people to be home for the entire business day. “One time I got on the phone with someone on the other end that sounded like they were dispatching taxis,’’ Callegari said. “I did some research and realized technology had not gotten involved in the moving industry. I thought let’s design an app that could do that.”
Callegari, the co-founder of Edge Logistics in Brooklyn, arrived at his office the next morning and told his team he found a new project. “I thought Zootly could be a tool as much for the moving industry as much as the consumers,’’ Callegari said. “The moving industry was operating the old-fashioned way. They had trucks that were driving around 50 percent of the time without cargo. I thought how could movers fill that space? It’s also an environmental waste to have trucks driving around empty.”
Zootly let’s people schedule a time for the move, provides an estimate, allows real-time tracking and is available for residential and commercial use. Zootly partners with moving companies to provide licensed, insured and experienced moving partners at a time that's convenient for them...with no minimums.
Callegari’s business is frequently compared to the taxi service company, Uber. An important difference is that Zootly works in concert with moving companies. He said the company researched more than 500 moving companies in New York, and vetted them carefully. Only about 130 qualified for the Zootly network. The business operates out of New York and transports within a 100-mile radius of New York City. The plan is to build out the company across the nation and internationally this year.
“We realized very quickly that we could be a great asset to the moving and delivery industry,’’ Callegari said. “We’re trying to help them fill their trucks. If we can do that for them, they’ll want to be our partners. We also wanted to help consumers feel there is a moving company they could trust.”
Callegari’s career path took several interesting turns. He founded a movie production company, Bright Pictures, in 1993. Ten years ago, he started a car and truck rental business that supported the film industry, followed a few years later by a logistics company. He aims to bring Zootly into New Jersey and other markets this year, and the company is raising investment cash to develop nationwide.
“Like all businesses, you can only grow as fast as we get the proper team,’’ Callegari said. “Customer service is very important to us. We need to be able to keep our customer service very high. We’ll grow as fast as that lets us.”
For more information, click here to visit the Zootly website.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.