As online furniture sales boom, gig delivery companies are minting money in the ‘big and bulky’ market many legacy players have avoided

In 2010, before Lyft was Lyft, before Doordash existed at all, before Wayfair went public, Divya Demato ran supply chain operations for One Kings Lane, then a flash deal site riding what turned out to be a short-lived e-commerce boom. Her job was to orchestrate flawless deliveries of high-end furniture and home goods. It was tough work. 

Back then, Demato had to stitch together a network of regional carriers specializing in these deliveries. “I remember sitting with the COO of FedEx at the time and saying ‘Listen this is gonna blow up,'” she told Insider. For the big national carriers like UPS and FedEx, the work wasn’t worth the payback at 2010 e-commerce volumes. 

More than a decade on, things are very different.

Now that the pandemic has broken any residual hesitancy on the part of consumers to buy online, shippers are tasked with wrangling skyrocketing volumes of furniture, backyard grills, ping pong tables, exercise equipment, and mattresses that need delivery service, either from a warehouse or a store. 

FedEx did eventually embrace oversized deliveries — making hundreds of thousands every quarter — as did other major movers like XPO Logistics and J.B. Hunt. They don’t have this space to themselves, however. 

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