Small Business & Startups and Technology

BungoBox forgoes the need for utilizing cardboard

Firm has an environmentally friendly solution for those who are moving.

May 1, 2015
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BungoBox
BungoBoxes are stackable, have handles and are more durable than their cardboard counterparts. Courtesy BungoBox

There is no question about it, the process of packing up an apartment or house before a move is no fun at all.

One of the most agonizing aspects of a move is collecting the necessary number of cardboard boxes to hold all of the stuff from your former home. Hours can be spent on that effort alone, which typically involves calling local grocery stores and businesses and then stopping by at appointed times to load up whatever is available, which often includes boxes without tops or boxes that have been flattened and need to be taped up.

Add to that the fact that cardboard boxes, even if purchased new, may break from the strain of their contents during the move and then, after you finally get everything unpacked, you are stuck having to figure out how to get rid of all that cardboard.

That’s where BungoBox comes in.

A franchise started in Florida, BungoBox provides 100 percent recycled, industrial-strength plastic bins that easily nest and stack.

Business partners Brady Schmitz and Casey Cochran launched a BungoBox on Leonard Street NW in Grand Rapids a couple of months ago and are eager for the concept to catch on in the city.

The process is simple: Before a move, customers choose a package based on square footage of their living space and the length of time the boxes are needed. Then BungoBox delivers them and picks them up again after the move.

Schmitz said there are several benefits to going the BungoBox route. First and foremost, it’s cheaper than buying cardboard boxes from a retailer.

“Its’ about half the price of cardboard if you were to go to one of the places that sells cardboard for packing,” Schmitz said.

According to the BungoBox website, a one-bedroom, or 250- to 500-square-foot space, can be boxed up for as little as $56, while a four-bedroom, or 1,500- to 2,000-square-foot space, can be boxed up for $168.50.

The boxes also offer greater durability and stackability, have handles to help in the moving process, and can be stacked on top of BungoWheels, a dolly with casters — also provided — to make things roll smoothly during the move.

BungoBoxes also offer a more sustainable option than their cardboard counterparts. Schmitz said he thinks Grand Rapids’ reputation for sustainability makes the city a perfect fit for the franchise.

The only drawback right now is that moves have to be local. Schmitz said he’s had a lot of inquiries about cross-country moves, including from moving company Penske, and is talking with the franchise owners about those requests, so there is potential for that to eventually change.

While residential moves might seem like the most obvious use for the service, Schmitz said he’s already had several businesses take advantage of the service, and part of that has to do with the option for wheels.

“In our market we’ve seen more commercial moves,” he said. “We have a four-to-one box-to-wheel ratio, so when you look at an office and a liability of moving something like that, they would like to have more wheels to move.”

He said important niche businesses and organizations taking advantage of the service include restoration companies and schools.

“If a basement floods, restoration companies come in and take everything out of your basement, stick it in boxes … and then put it in new boxes once everything is dry,” he explained.

For those types of businesses, the plastic bins are perfect for moving damp items and then re-boxing them later.

“It’s much easier for them to call us and ask for the specific number of boxes for a specific timeframe and have them delivered and picked up,” Schmitz said.

In addition to companies utilizing BungoBox for moves, Schmitz said he and Cochran are forging partnerships with local real estate agents and mortgage companies.

“We’ve had some realtors and mortgage companies put it as a closing gift in their closing packet,” Schmitz said.

Keller Williams Realty is one of the firms that has forged a relationship with BungoBox. Several of its RiverTown office agents offer the BungoBox service as a closing gift.

“Our office has been partnering with them to offer services to our buyers and sellers,” said Micki Ackerman, general manager of the RiverTown Keller Williams office. “Several of our agents offer a BungoBox service to their clients with every listing.”

She described the relationship so far as “fabulous,” citing BungoBox’s “quick response and their integrity.”

“They have the same culture and commitment our company has,” Ackerman added.

This isn’t the pair’s only foray into entrepreneurship. In addition to BungoBox, both Schmitz and Cochran run other businesses. Schmitz is the founder and executive director of nonprofit More-Self-Less, the owner of Synergistic Building Concepts and the director of enterprise clients for UPS; Cochran is the owner of Imperial Computer Solutions.

For more information about the local BungoBox, visit bungobox.com/grand-rapids-moving-boxes.

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