Doorage Storage Solutions, a Chicago-based startup, is the first valet storage company in the country to offer nationwide pickup and delivery service areas.
Doorage CEO Sean Sandona said the move, which officially launches Aug. 5, puts Doorage in the national spotlight along with competitors Clutter and MakeSpace, which have received hundreds of millions in funding from investors.
Based on residents and businesses fleeing Illinois for other states, especially Indiana, Sandona more than doubled Doorage’s workforce and added several large-format transportation trucks to accommodate the nationwide service option. Sandona said he expects the national service component of Doorage to make up approximately 40 percent of its business over the next 12 months.
Storage and Moving Service With Doorage
Doorage launched in 2017 and offers full-service storage. The company has never lost an item in storage and stores owners’ belongings in 100,000-cubic-unit, Amazon-esque facilities.
Under the new nationwide pickup and delivery option:
- Doorage will pick up and deliver customers’ items anywhere in the country for a flat rate, based on the volume that the quote provides.
- Doorage will service customers whether they’re storing items or not.
- Unlike traditional moving companies, Doorage takes packing and protection to the next level. While most moving companies use a blanket and tape to attempt to protect items, the majority of items, Doorage loads are assessed, wrapped and packed for transport using their patent pending system along with being photographed for online inventory.
- Doorage’s patent pending system charges by exact cubic volume consumed, instead of charging for a certain-sized storage rooms that usually aren’t filled completely.
Sandona, a lifelong resident of Chicago, said he’s repeatedly heard and had customers from Illinois business and residents who want to leave the state.
“I love Chicago, and I never want to leave, but people are telling me they want to leave because the taxes are murder, everything is ridiculously expensive, and there’s a fear of safety – especially in Chicago,” Sandona said.
He noted that numerous Doorage customers are moving just across the border to Northwest Indiana.
“I’m repeatedly told by customers that Indiana is a much better option for them,” Sandona said.
Sandona also noted that there has been a significant increase in consumers looking to Doorage for national pickup and delivery.
“Consumers have recognized the added value our company brings to the process. Customers want better protection and a higher level of service. Doorage has been providing that in our home markets and we kept turning national customers away. Now, Doorage offers our technology and higher level of service to the entire nation.”
Sean Sandona – CEO of Doorage
Sandona has been an entrepreneur since he was 15 years old.
The 42-year-old’s first company was Sandona Holiday Decorations, where he bought wreaths and poinsettias at wholesale prices and sold them around his Palatine, Illinois neighborhood during Christmastime. He made around $5,000.
When he was a student at Northeastern Illinois University, Sandona had several full-time jobs and owned a handyman business. He said it earned him about $30,000 a year. It also allowed Sandona – who grew up in a blue-collar home and didn’t own a pair of Nikes until he was 12 years old – to buy a new Chevrolet Silverado and 25-foot Bayliner Cabin Cruiser boat upon graduation.
That business would evolve into All Pro Homes – after Sandona secured a several-hundred-thousand-dollar loan from Cornerstone Bank in Palatine – which prospered until the housing crash in 2007. Sandona would file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy that year, and in 2008, he nearly died when his Lake Zurich, Illinois home burned down in an electrical fire. Sandona was in the hospital for two days with carbon monoxide poisoning and when he was discharged from the hospital, he had no possessions other than his four dogs who also survived the fire.
“I had lost everything,” Sandona said. “But when I got out of the hospital, I told myself I was never going to quit.”
In 2009, he founded Elk Grove Village-based North Village Companies and North Village Snow Management, which provides commercial snow and ice management services and specialty construction services.
The companies have flourished and gave Sandona the flexibility and capital to create Doorage, which currently has home markets in Chicago, Milwaukee and Madison. Sandona said Doorage will be launching additional home markets in several major metropolitan areas later this year, and employees in those markets are currently being on-boarded and trained.