Thursday, September 20, 2012

My Truck Buddy and Rent Our Boxes tie the knot

Judging by the skyscrapers of paperwork surrounding my computer, it's official: My Truck Buddy now runs the DC franchise of Rent Our Boxes. This means we now have a unique way to offer our customers moving boxes and packing supplies.

It made a ton of sense. (I'm now constitutionally unable to avoid moving-related metaphors in my communications...) We offer affordable moves for that category of people between do-it-yourself and GloboMegaCorp Van Lines. Rent Our Boxes (ROB) delivers very affordable boxes and moving supplies to busy people who don't have the time to scour the city and Craigslist for those things.

We partnered with ROB for awhile, but after a while, Bill Burris (who I still maintain looks like Jack Nicholson), decided to take the concept national and sell the local franchise. He offered, we accepted. I had to sell my collection of live dodo eggs to finance it, but we did it. (I kid -- Bill made a very fair offer).

So, now we've more than quadrupled the amount of office stuff we have to somehow fit into the MTB Command Center, but we can further help customers by providing an additional service that fits into the MTB ethos of superior service at a ridiculously good rate.

Look at me -- I sound like a businessman who thinks he knows what he's talking about...

A bit about the boxes

We love these things for several reasons:

  1. They're cheaper than anything you'll find in a storage unit, U-Haul, or Home Depot. Lowe's does offer, I believe, cheaper boxes, but I wouldn't store anything heavier than a brooding attitude in them. More on that in a second.
  2. They're designed for moving trucks like ours. That means that if you stack two wardrobe boxes next to three large boxes next to five medium boxes (or thereabouts), they'll all be the same height. Why is this important? Because nothing adds to the time of a moving job like "playing Tetris" with multiple-sized boxes, bags and et cetera. In other words, it reduces overall job time and saves people money. Happy people tell their friends, so it's great for everyone.
  3. Free delivery and pick-up. No need to waste time looking for the best, cheapest option -- we have it. And it costs nothing for us to deliver them AND pick them up later. Not enough time in your life? I can't help you with most of that, (although I can show you some great time management techniques I use), but I can save you a lot of time hunting for, and disposing of, boxes.
We're pretty jazzed about this "acquisition." The businesses almost seamlessly complement each other. We have a lot of work to do on the administrative side (getting emails to go to the right inboxes, making sure the phones work -- making sure we don't answer the phones with "Truck Buddy, this is Chris!.") 

So, we've got you covered. Next up: packing and cleaning services. After that, we buy a senator.

Friday, September 7, 2012

My Truck Buddy: the awkward years

I was looking for a pic in the historical files for something and came across this. Hoo boy.

The definition of cool in 1991: a '68 el Camino

It's interesting to note that my very first car, a '68 el Camino, foreshadowed my future profession. Forget free will, baby. I was fated to haul things. (I hauled my friends to Lollapalooza in 1991).  I suppose I should feel sad about that, but hey, it's simple.

(Forgive the quality -- it's a picture of a picture...)

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

When your competitors attack: the best kind of praise

Truck Buddy Jimmy went down to the moving supply company to pick some things up. I just got a text from him:

"I was led to New Haven like a lamb to the slaughter."

Why? I asked.

"All these big companies were in there saying we weren't a real company for how 'we do things.' They all ganged up on me. I didn't back down. We do a completely different style than the tractor-trailer guys."

Here's my read on it: they're "butt hurt" (as the younger guys on the crew often say) that we maintain a decent reputation in an industry filled with fraud and abuse. Everything we do is completely legal. We passed our DOT safety audit. Our insurance coverage equals an amount I likely won't MAKE in my remaining working years.

What, exactly, do we do differently? I dunno, but since I strive to run a company with integrity, treat people with respect, and offer a fantastic service at an extremely fair rate (considering the costs in this industry), whatever they think we should be doing differently probably isn't anything we want to do at all!

I don't know why they're crying -- if they were really "big companies," we're not really their competition anyway. Unless GloboMegaCorp Moving and Abuse is really bringing 53 foot trailers to move studio apartments across town.

These people probably still read newspapers. On paper! Hah!

Thanks, Hank and Kristin!

Got an awesome feedback letter. I can't tell you how helpful these are. The work is grueling with a high degree of difficulty (often times -- not always), and a lot of work goes into preparation, execution and follow-up. So, when we get a nice note like this, it goes a long, long way.

Special thanks to Ben and Allen for doing an excellent (i.e. standard!) job!

My name is Hank ____, my fiance's name is Kristin _____.  We hired your moving services today for a move from [Arlington to Arlington].  I wanted to provide feedback as our experience with your service was outstanding.
Website and marketing:  Straight and to the point.  You hire good people to do a good job for your clients.  I appreciated the no [BS] way you present your company.
Reservations and Communication:  David was very responsive to our request.  We were able to ask for exactly what we wanted moved, when, and the types and pieces of furniture.  David worked with us to quote a price we thought was very reasonable given the local competition in the area.

Employees:  Simply put, excellent.  I know the guys found a little traffic along the way, but when they arrived it was work from the first minute.  According to my fiance the guys first introduced themselves (a huge plus for my fiance), then sized up the situation.  They quickly communicated their strategy and started working to meet the estimated time for service.  While being patient, calm, and collected Ben and his partner (my apologizes, but we cannot remember the other gentleman's name) [It was Allen. --CJ] moved our stuff within 2 and a half hours.  Nothing was broken, and according to my fiance everything was treated with professional care.  Both gentlemen were polite, entertaining, and courteous to my fiance and her parents.  When I arrived home, I saw more of this professional attitude as they finished their work.

Cost:  Your company came in UNDER your estimate.  Thank you.  Seriously.  That is just good business to beat your quote.  It dedicates people to your brand.
In sum, I endorse your business and will highly recommend your service in the future.  Thank you.
Hank and Kristin

Sunday, September 2, 2012


Just another day on the job (from a few weeks ago). Someone broke into a truck and stole some stuff. Third or fourth time, by my reckoning.

Some days I fantasize about moving somewhere more civilized. Like Baghdad.