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United Van Lines is a full-service American moving and relocation company and a subsidiary of UniGroup, Inc. and is the largest mover in the United States.
The concept which evolved into United Van Lines originated in 1928 when Return Loads Service, Inc. was formed in Cleveland, Ohio, to arrange return shipments for independent moving companies transporting goods from one city to another. Orders were centrally registered and dispatched, and certificates of membership were sold to independent moving companies, which paid a revenue percentage on every order handled. The premise was to enable movers, once they had delivered a shipment, to obtain profitable tonnage to haul on the return trip, instead of operating an empty van. When similar return shipment companies began appearing around the country, the Cleveland firm adopted the distinctive title, "United Van Service." The Depression spelled disaster for the fledgling firm, as United found itself unable to keep up service with depleted revenues, and many agents broke away to operate independently. In June 1933, United Van Service was dissolved, and its assets and liabilities were transferred to a new entity incorporated as United Van Lines. The new firm prospered and, in 1941, moved its headquarters to St. Louis, Missouri
In 1947, the ownership of United Van Lines passed from the few original stockholders who held the firm together during its formative stages to a larger group of United agents, establishing the current structure. Twenty-two years later, in 1969, United established a subsidiary, United Leasing, Inc. to provide trucks, uniforms, and other supplies needed by United and other professional movers.
To support United agents in their primary business of moving household goods, the corporation in recent years created related operating companies which offer customized insurance for movers; sell and lease equipment needed by the moving industry; and provide global mobility management services. All of these entities are overseen by UniGroup, Inc., a holding company formed in 1988 and owned by UniGroup companies’ affiliated agents and senior management. UniGroup, Inc. is the parent company of United Van Lines and other subsidiaries which support the worldwide operations of the company; Vanliner Group, Inc. (providing specialized insurance coverage for movers); Total Transportation Services, Inc., (which sells and leases vehicles and sells movers' supplies); and UniGroup Worldwide, Inc., a global mobility management company.
In 1995, the company had its first billion-dollar revenue year.
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