Life just keeps getting harder and easier at the same time, doesn't it? Here's something to file into that latter category: a new app that takes the haggling out of the equation when trying to hire movers and a van. Here's how you use Huolala to get your items from A to B.
If you didn't know Huolala, it's basically Didi for moving your stuff. It's formal, profesh, and easy to use, protecting you from fraud, overspending – and even better – having to communicate verbally with people. Once you've managed to hail a van, a driver close by will come to collect your stuff and take them to the new place. You can ride with them or you'll receive a call when they've arrived. That's pretty much it.
Packing your stuff is still all up to you, but Huolala does the rest.
You can: A) hire just a driver and van and you carry everything or; B) pay extra and depending on how much stuff you've got and how many floors they have to climb, they give you a quote and supply you with movers as well.
A caveat: the app is in Chinese, and requires a little navigation. It's doable with screen-capping and translating in WeChat but easiest if you get a Chinese reader to help – especially if you're doing (B).
Let's start with (A). Here's how to get just a van.
Step 1: Search Huolala / 货拉拉 on the App Store. Download it. If you're the customer, choose the first option – the second one 货拉拉司机版 is the one for drivers.
Step 2: After you finish the verification, you get to see this page. Swipe to choose a car size that best fits your packages. First timers will get some special discounts.
The four Chinese characters under the vehicle represent four car specs, meaning (from left to right): length (by meter), boot space (by square meter), load capacity (by ton) and height (by meter).
If you click the vehicle, a 3d model would show up to give you a better idea of the scale. The photo below is the smallest van you can book, which can hold a bunch of boxes and some small furniture. If you want to move stuff like a mattress or a fridge, you will have to pick a proper truck.
Step 3: Pin / type your current location and your destination. (Unfortunately, they don't have an English interface, so make sure you provide both addresses in Chinese.)
Step 4: Place your order and finish the payment. Once a mover has taken your order, they will drive to your address ASAP. Alternatively, you may book a specific time. The page also allows you to select what service you'd like to have and your preferred driver (well, if you have one).
FYI, we were moving a few boxes in the smallest van from downtown Xuhui to Minhang. It costs like 65rmb.
A little note: "选择跟车人数" means the number of passengers who'll go to the destination with the mover. You can submit an emergency contact if you choose to do so.
Step 5: After your order has been taken, the mover's info and real-time location will be shown on the screen.
Step 6: Bang! They're here. Your turn to load / unload everything.
Okay! So! Option (B). Let's say you want to get a van and hire movers to help you move apartments.
Basically, you complete the process of hiring a van and then you choose the option to also hire movers. Complete (A) and then get the (B) service.
On the the check-out page, click "搬运及其他服务".
From here, they will ask for the estimates on amount, size, and weight of your stuff and the floor number it's got to go to if there's no lift. Then they formulate how many people they're going to need and a quotation is calculated by the app. You've also got the option to negotiate.
(Gah. Just pay whatever they say.)
So there you go. It's a universal truth that moving suuuuuuucks.
Maybe it'll suck a little less with this.