As they say, hindsight is 20-20, and I’ve had lots of time to reflect on what I would change if I were to start an office moving company today. To begin with, I would do the same thing I did before I started my own moving company—I’d work for someone else first. For 7 months before I opened my business, I worked for a small mover, learning every aspect of the business. I thought—correctly, as it turned out—that working for a smaller company would give me a better opportunity to get exposure to sales, customer service, and operations where a larger company might pigeonhole me into one specific area. My first ‘assignment’ was working on the back of a truck as a mover/helper. Soon I was promoted to driver, then O&I salesman. Eventually, I opened a new office for them as their general manager in Griffin, GA, 50 miles south of their main office.
Before going out on my own, I got formal training, and that’s what I’d do again if I were to start another moving company today. Back in 1976, there was no International Office Moving Institute—no IOMI® to teach me how to estimate moves accurately and perform them with a minimum risk of damage. Thirsting for knowledge, I contacted the largest and most successful office mover in the world—Office Movers, Inc., in Washington, DC. and convinced the head of their company to let me shadow him and their movers for a week.
I was fascinated with the techniques they used to perform large moves. I learned how they created a human conveyor belt by passing the furniture down the line (aka the “bucket brigade”) and their floating method for loading a moving van by keeping the furniture on the dollies on the floor of the truck.
Back in Atlanta, I hired a sales consultant who taught me how to make sales presentations using a picture book to tell our story. The book was a great differentiator in our industry because my competitors all used fancy but boringly similar brochures.
Next, I engaged in solid networking, starting by befriending one of the top office building managers in Atlanta, along with the president of First Union Bank. Both gentlemen met with me on a regular basis and gave me tremendous business advice.
Process improvement is a fantastic idea but, as someone once said, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” My methods have stood the test of time. What’s changed is the way I share knowledge. If I were to start an office moving company today, I would do what I am doing now by writing this article. I would immerse myself in social media and write blogs to get noticed so that I could build relationships with influential people like you. I’d post them on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google to get the best exposure possible.
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For more information on our online office moving training, please visit
http://www.officemoves.com/training/index.html or call Ed Katz at 404.358.2172.