Sunday, March 28, 2010

Oh yeah -- had a makeover

Check out the new site! I finally threw in the towel and quit trying to build a new site by myself. I would spend days, literally days (if you spread out the few minutes I'd have to tweak it over weeks) trying to figure out how to move a box, or add a new background or whatever. So, I went to, found someone who had experience with my system, and paid him a couple of hundred bucks. The result, I think, is pretty sweet. It's been getting lots of good feedback, too.

Of course, if you found this blog, you probably came here through the site, so you already know. Lol.

What do you think about it?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

MTB gets its first one-star review

I knew this day would come. How ironic that I was just talking about this with the guys last night at a rare "summit."

"I've been very lucky," I said. "I don't have to rely on marketing while I have good reviews on Yelp. It can't last forever, though..."

And it didn't. Less than 24 hours later, I get my first one-star review.

In a way, it's a good thing. Last summer was brutal, and I didn't have the resources or infrastructure to deal with it. By late August, I almost lost my mind. In fact, I did break down once. Let me tell you -- I had to go to Confession for that one... However, we've been doing summer-level work for about two months. What was hard last year is now what I consider standard. So, this review makes me realize that I still have some work to do to get ready for the summer rush, particularly in the area of customer communications.

Anyway, here's the one star review (found here):

After reading all the reviews on here I was pretty excited to contact this company. Unfortunately it took them 2 days to get back to me and then I asked them to contact me by phone and that was the last I heard from them. The 1 bedroom move was more than a month away so I'm not sure what the problem was. I quite disappointed but on the other hand glad I didn't schedule and then have this much problem with communication the day of the move.

Yelp allows only 600 character responses, so here's what I wrote:


Many apologies if we've had a miscommunication. I've searched for a record of our correspondence, but as I haven't found anything, I wonder if you have the right company.

That said, it's entirely possible I dropped the ball here, but let's keep in mind what a typical day looks like for me: Up at 6:30, on the job by 8:00, work a grueling 12 hours or so, come home, spend an hour with my family, then work until midnight e-mailing and scheduling. Six days per week. That I only drop the ball once or twice every six months is miraculous.

At any rate, many apologies.

And that's just a sliver of what I do. I'm not complaining -- even though this "job" was thrust upon me, I've since chosen to take it as far as I can go several times. Every time I update my resume and look for jobs, I realize what a great thing I have here. Yes, I work around the clock. But I set the hours. I also get to choose my co-workers, the direction of the company, and sometimes, when Truck Buddy Brett lets me, I get to choose where we go to lunch.


I've never been happier doing what I do. As Truck Buddy Jimmy frequently says, "Words of affirmation" make our day. Yeah, we usually get really good tips, but even if we don't, "You rock!" and "You guys are awesome!" make our whole day. Maybe I should be concerned at just how much we need that kind of compliment, but the reality is we LIVE for them. Personally, I've received more praise like that in the last two years (the MTB years) than in my entire professional history. It's addictive.

As for Lance's dropped communications, I truly regret that. I can't find any record of our correspondence, but I don't doubt I lost track of him. I often put "Call so-and-so back" on my calendar, forget to set a 15-minute reminder, and then let things pass by. Fortunately, I almost always catch those missed appointments when I check the calendar at the end of the day.

My response to his one-star review, which is my first ever? Well, it's totally unnecessary and probably not a little bit vindictive, but here's the fact: it's a one-star review for pre-move communications, NOT services rendered. I'm sorry I made him mad (no, really!), but I didn't make him mad by doing a crappy job, overcharging, or anything like that.

Communications and other organizational/admin stuff will be a priority going forward, and not "forward" in some distant future. I need to streamline the process NOW, and I've already been working on some things. I can't hire anyone yet, and that's not off the table, but like I said, I'm working on some things. In fact, I should probably get to it. I've got another job in about an hour and a half...

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Going out of my mind with emails...

Please be patient, everyone. I'm trying to get through a hundred or so e-mails going back to Friday, the day we had a total of 15 hours worth of work. (Two four-floor walk-ups, among other things...)

I'll get to your work requests. Let me just pop another top and get through 'em...


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Golfing for sanity

Yesterday MTB went "off the grid" for most of the day. Oh, I was monitoring electronic chatter, as our Langley buddies might say, but for the sake of my mental health, I stayed off the phone and out of my inbox. I was golfing.

Normally you wouldn't expect that golf would be a good, relaxing diversion from hundreds of e-mails and complex scheduling duties, but it was. In fact, not to complain, but for a guy with limited cranial resources like me, running through a gauntlet of flaming chainsaws would be less stressful than keeping on top of administrative duties. So, 18 holes of golf was cathartic despite my bowling-like score.

<--That's a rabid, three-legged fox sneaking up on Jimmy, by the way.

I think I'm going to make bi-weekly golf trips mandatory for the "core" group of Truck Buddies. That would include Brett, TJ, Jimmy, Gary and David. But if possible, I'd like to include the golfing members of the extended network, too. This job makes it easy to forget that there are other things in life, at least for me. I'm the guy organizing everything and doing nearly 100 percent of the moves. I do enjoy the work, for the most part, but it is a time-consuming gig. If I let it, I could easily work 24 hours per day moving, e-mailing, answering questions, answering phone calls, scheduling, etc. The few hours I forced myself to take off yesterday reminded me that I can, if I choose to accept that mission, have a life.

And no, Facebooking doesn't count.

Yeah, this is a rambling, mostly non-sensical post. Many apologies. I'm still just a little euphoric after breathing free air again. Lol.