Sunday, May 29, 2011

We do mighty deeds

This weekend was a doozy. But then, so were the last 40 weekends. There was a time when I thought running two crews independently of my direct supervision was an irresponsible, greedy endeavor. Two crews making money while I sit in a coffee shop somewhere and work on the website? Where's my latte?

Eventually I realized I needed a third crew to help pay the bills. Then I realized that four crews was really the bare minimum necessary to break even. But then this weekend, I got a series of panicked emails from my wife and CFO (same woman) wondering when/where/why/how we were hemorrhaging so much cash. As far as I knew, I hadn't purchased any gold-plated flat screen TVs (TVs are among the most-donated items to MTB World HQ), and I still drive the same little Ford Ranger I started this insane project with, so all the money must be going back into the business. And as if I needed any more proof, I realized that no, five crews isn't what we need, it's more like ten.

Donald Trump I am not. But even I should have realized that paying guys what I do while charging customers as little as I do is a recipe for financial ruin. (Don't get me wrong -- I don't think I pay our Truck Buddies enough. They're among the best guys all-around in the industry.)

So, we've got a bit of a crisis here, which makes me question everything we're doing, where we're going, and if we'll have a company by the next slow season. It's made me a little reflective. I've got about five hours before I have to/get to go back to the office in the morning. I'll figure out what we need to do to survive then. But right now I'm thinking about all we've accomplished. What have we accomplished? Well, let's see...

* I built a million dollar business off of two paychecks after I was laid off. We may not have grossed $1 million yet, but the potential is there with just a little more effort.

* We've earned about 200 five-star reviews on a very popular review website. (Granted, as of this writing, the latest review is a one-star because we failed to answer a request in time. I'm not happy about it, but it's not a bad review for services rendered, so I can live with it -- for now).

* I've built a network of like-minded professionals I consider brothers-in-chaos.

* You name it, we've done it -- sleeper sofas up and over balconies, jobs completed despite overwhelming technical difficulties (tiny trucks, huge over-filled apartments), impossibly heavy entertainment centers carried a quarter mile around properties, jobs successfully completed despite one of my eyes being caked over in blood from an errant bungie cord coming loose... I could go on.

* Building all of this while still raising two little boys, and being at least an adequate husband.

Yeah, no matter what happens, we have done things we can be proud of. Through snowstorms, summer humidity, standstill traffic, and whatever else a city can throw at you, we've helped thousands of people move from one place to another. I may end up taking a job at Starbucks when it's all over with, but I can look at the last five years and be damn proud. Truck Buddies are the best, toughest guys in the industry.

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