Meet Nick, Our Manager

IMG_0586Five years ago, our current manager Nick started working here as a Customer Service Representative.  “I was a general manager for another company, and I was looking for a new opportunity,” he explains.

He didn’t see himself staying with Two Men in the long term, but he was already familiar with the furniture industry.  I asked him what convinced him that this would turn into a long-term career.  “I liked how we helped people.  About a month after I first started, the big Nashville floor happened.  We dedicated a lot of our trucks to flood relief and only charged half our normal rate.  I liked that we went the extra mile to help people.”  Nick tells me that his favorite part about working here is the fact that “we make people’s day.  Moving is the most stressful time of people’s lives, because they’ll be in the middle of a house closing, or eight months pregnant, or in a bad situation.  We get to go in there and give them a sense of ease during that time.”

And after being here for five years, Nick has seen every type of situation.  He tells me a story about a move from last year when two men were working on moving a company out of its old office building.  The movers called him to let him know that the move was going to take longer than originally estimated, so Nick said they would have to finish the rest of the move the next day.  Unfortunately, moving the next day wasn’t an option…  “The company’s staff hadn’t told us there were bulldozers on the way to demolish their building.”  Nick said they were only able to finish the move because he had every mover go to the building when they finished their earlier jobs.  “They didn’t finish the move until almost midnight.”

Another time, Nick had already left the office to go home when two moving teams called him from a customer’s storage unit.  “There were two trucks at a storage unit after hours, so you had to punch in a code to get the gate to open.  The woman left during the middle of the move, so the guys were locked in.  They were asking me what to do because she wasn’t answering their phone calls or text messages.”  Nick joked that they would have to sleep in the back of the trucks that night on the furniture pads.  “The guy on the phone didn’t know I was joking, and he started panicking on the other end of the phone because he needed to get home to his wife.”  But it all worked out okay…  “About twenty minutes later, the woman called back and got them out of there.”

Meet Joe, Our Resident Philosophy Expert

IMG_0615If you call us to schedule a move or get a quote, you may end up on the phone with our Customer Service Supervisor, Joe.  After Joe finished his philosophy degree, he came to our team to work as a Dispatcher because he had a friend working here.  Once his manager, Nick, saw how well he worked with the movers, he was asked to train as a Customer Service Representative as well.  “He always had a smile on his face,” Nick says.  “And he’s sincere.  He asks the guys how their day is going, and he wants to know the answer.”  As the Customer Service team grew, Joe was promoted to work in his current supervisor role.

Even though Joe went to school for philosophy, he’s stayed with the company for almost a year now because of the people who work with him.  “I don’t care what kind of work I’m doing, as long as I’m part of a good team,” he tells me.  His favorite part of the team to work with are the movers and drivers of the company.  He explains, “There’s a code of conduct there that’s not the same in an office setting.”

On the weekends, Joe spends his time working with the youth ministry of St. Catherine’s church south of Nashville, in Columbia.  He’s been working with the youth for five years now, and his dedication has paid off.  The program started with three kids, and the attendance rate has since improved significantly.  Joe has been able to take the youth on out-of-state trips for the first time in twenty years, and he’s also implemented a volunteer mentor program with the college students.  He explains, “Kids who are now in college will come back and serve as mentors for the new youth in the program.”

Before Joe goes to inspect one of the trucks that has just come back to the office from a move, he tells me one more story about his experiences here at Two Men.  “On my third day here, they got a new chair for the Dispatch office.  I assembled the whole chair, and then I looked in the box…  I’d forgotten the one piece that would bring it up to the correct desk height.  I couldn’t get the chair to come back apart after that, so I actually had to call the customer service line to ask them how to take the metal pieces apart and fix the chair,” he tells me, laughing.  “This happened when everyone else was gone during lunch, and I had it all put back together before they got back.”

Happy Earth Day! Here’s How We’re Celebrating

Today is Earth Day!  We wanted to put together a blog post about everything we’re doing to celebrate this year, but we realized that we actually try to use environmentally-friendly systems every day…not just for Earth Day.  So instead, let me show you all the ways we stay green EVERY day:

E-Info Instead of Paper – Our customers like to see their final billing sheet in physical form when our movers are at their houses, which we totally understand.  However, we try to send as much information as we can through electronic files so we can do our part in saving trees.  We’ll email you a quote, pre-move letter to confirm your move time, and reply card after your move instead of sending those through the mail or faxing that information to businesses.

We use e-crates when we're hired to do packing jobs.

Packing with E-Crates – As you may know, we don’t just move our customers; we also offer packing and unpacking services.  When we pack up your home or office, we use these plastic bins called e-crates as often as we can instead of using cardboard boxes.  This way, you don’t have to throw away a ton of cardboard at the end of your move.

Rental TV Boxes – Whenever we move someone who hasn’t kept their TV’s original box, we rent them a reusable television box that we can also use with future customers.

Keeping Night-time Dark – Many businesses like to keep their lights on all night long to reduce the risk of a robbery.  Instead, we just lock our doors and have security cameras.  Our last employee always switches off the lights at night.

Recycling – We keep our information secure and recycle at the same time!  We toss unneeded papers into a bin that gets picked up by a shredding company.  After our papers are shredded, they’re recycled instead of thrown away.

Tree Huggers – Recently, we planted some new trees along the side of our building.  We like to keep our air fresh and clean!

These furniture pads are made of cloth, not of disposable materials like paper.

Furniture Pads – Instead of using disposable paper pads when we pack your furniture into our trucks, we use reusable cloth pads.  (In addition to being eco-friendly, these reusable pads also keep your furniture safer!)

Speed Packs – We’ll keep some “speed packs” in every truck for your move.  Speed packs are reusable, heavy-duty boxes that we use for your unstack-able, larger items (such as large toys that can’t be packed into normal boxes).  These help us make your move faster, and save cardboard boxes from being wasted.

Have a Happy Earth Day, and let us know what your business is doing to be green!

Meet Our Customer Service Manager, Donald

IMG_0595  On March 31st, our dear Customer Service Manager had his first anniversary with the Two Men and a Truck family!  Donald started working here a year ago as a CSR (Customer Service Representative), and did such an awesome job that he was soon given the responsibility of managing the department.  To commemorate his time with the company, I asked him a few questions to learn more about his role here.

Donald told me that before working here, he worked at U-HAUL.  That job gave him experience working with estimations, Point-of-Sales, and sales closings, but he decided to join Two Men Nashville because he wanted something full-time, a commission structure, and the potential for upward mobility.  Now, his favorite part about working here is “the environment.  I realized after I started that ‘Movers Who Care’ isn’t just a corporate slogan–they mean it,” Donald says.  “It’s not a cut-throat sales floor.  We focus on team accomplishments rather than just the individual.”  He also likes that our company works with customers even after a move and sale is complete to solve any problems they may have had with their move and to hear any other feedback they have for the company.

When I asked Donald if he had any advice for other managers in similar positions, he told me, “Mainly, don’t ask someone to do something you wouldn’t do.”  He also explained that the biggest challenge he had when becoming a manager was learning to delegate tasks.  At one point, he was the only CSR on the floor and was working 8 hours a day constantly on the phone.  It was difficult for him to learn to take more of an oversight position and learn to assign tasks to the CSRs based on their individual strengths.

But Donald’s job comes with more than just business responsibilities…  He also takes some down time to laugh.  He told me about a time a few months ago when a CSR made a mistake when leaving a voicemail to a customer.  “He was doing a post-move call to check on how the move went, but he accidentally started his speech that we give to customers who request an online estimate.  In the middle of his spiel, he realized what he did, and tried to re-record the voicemail.  He started pushing every button on the phone, and when he couldn’t figure it out, he just hung up.”

My last question for Donald was about his favorite person to work with.  “It would have to be Nick.”  But he was quick to add, “But that’s by default, because one of the CSRs just recently started working in this department, and the other one is new.”

Thanks for your hard work, Donald!

3 Stereotypes About the Moving Industry (And How We Stack Up)

Two Men  The moving industry, unfortunately, has many negative stereotypes associated with it that we have to address every day.  We often receive phone calls from extremely wary customers who have had bad past experiences with moving companies or who have heard horror stories from their friends.  We totally understand why customers are nervous about moving companies–you’re trusting movers who have never met you with all of your belongings, some of which have a ton of sentimental value.  So here’s our chance to let you know how we stack up to these typical moving stereotypes:

1.  Movers are careless.

The root fear in this stereotype is that your movers won’t put their full effort and attention into your move.  However, Two Men Nashville has extremely high standards of all of its employees–not just our movers.  Employees all abide by a strict dress code that even dictates that our shirts are tucked in and that our movers refrain from wearing sunglasses in the office.  We won’t smoke a cigarette on the company’s premises, we all undergo random drug-testing (regardless of title), and staff members don’t even keep personal cell phones on them during work.

2.  Movers are going to break my stuff.

Nearly everyone has heard a horror story about their friend or family member’s furniture being broken or scratched by a moving company, and it can definitely make you think twice about trusting an antique dining table with a mover.  Fortunately, Two Men and a Truck ensures that your furniture is kept as safe as possible by offering complimentary padding and wrapping before placing those larger items into our trucks.  We also enforce our Grandma Rule (having our employees treat every customer the way we would treat our grandmas) through policy by requiring our movers to help pay for any damages that do happen to occur during a move.  If the worst happens and any damages occur, we work to professionally repair your items as quickly as possible or we pay a much greater amount than the industry standard for your item.

3.  Hourly movers milk the clock.

When customers work with a company that charges by the hour rather than by weight, they can often be afraid that their movers are going to work as slowly as possible to raise the bill.  I’ve heard people express concern that their movers claim to move slowly to keep the furniture safe, when it really seems like they just want to increase the hours of the move.  While both of these statements seem logical in theory, a move involves a lot more than what can be seen on the surface.  Though our men are able to do all of your heavy-lifting around corners, through doorways, and with any required dis-assembly, they have to also work at a sustainable pace that won’t leave them exhausted by the time they reach your drop-off location.  Our men are trained to work as efficiently as possible at a steady rate.  You’ll notice during your move that our men work at the same pace unloading the truck that they do loading.  (And if you’re still not impressed, you’ll be glad to know that some of our customers even ask our men to slow down during their move because they want the movers to care more about their furniture than speed!)

Do you have other concerns that aren’t listed here?  Definitely bring those up to the person completing your phone or in-person estimate.  Any moving company you use will be more than happy to relieve your fears before starting your move so you can feel confident in your movers as they work.

7 Ways to Save on Stress and Money During Your Move

How to save money during your move

Whether you’re moving an office space, a home, or a storage unit, moving can be super stressful.  You have to worry about packing in an organized way to make unpacking easier, picking competent movers who understand your individual needs, occupying your employees/kids/pets during the actual move, and, most importantly, the monetary cost.  Here are 7 easy ways to keep your move organized and cost-effective to calm your mind (and budget).

How to save on your move

1. Start Packing Early

Chances are, you can probably start your packing a good 3-4 months before you even need to move.  This will eliminate last-minute rushed pack jobs AND make your unpacking more organized and easy to deal with.  Here’s how to do it:  3-4 months before your move, start packing the things that are out of season or only used very occasionally.  For example, if you’re moving during the summer, go ahead and pack up those winter coats as soon as spring comes calling.  You’ll also be able to pack up your Christmas and Halloween decorations, your snow/ice shovel, and Christmas-themed wrapping paper.

2. Downsize

I know, it’s SUPER hard.  But we can do this together.  As you pack each item, make a habit of asking yourself if you’ve used it in the past year.  If you haven’t, you probably either (a) won’t ever use it again, or (b) can buy or rent a replacement on the off-chance that you ever do need that item again in the future.  For example, if your youngest child is 3 years old, go ahead and donate her baby clothes.  If you do have another child a few years from now, you can always purchase new clothes for her, or even take hand-me-downs from your friends.  It’s not worth the stress of moving all of that stuff just because there’s a chance you might need it again down the line.

3. Use Our Boxes and Packing Supplies

It may sound like we’re just trying to milk money out of you, but this actually will end up saving you time and money on your move, and that’s why we recommend our supplies.  If you use free boxes from grocery stores and liquor stores, you’ll save a few dollars by not buying them.  However, those boxes have been used, filled with moisture (and possibly bugs), and bent up during transit already.  There’s a reason stores and vendors don’t reuse them–they fall apart pretty easily.  They also don’t come in uniform, standard box sizes, which can add to your movers’ hourly rate as they spend time analyzing the best way to lift cumbersome boxes and play Tetris while trying to pack the moving truck.  If you need another reason to use our stuff, look at our selection.  We have special double-thick dish boxes that come with dividers to keep each dish separate, picture/mirror boxes that fit to the size of your decor, mattress bags made specifically to keep dirt and bugs out of your bed, and wardrobe boxes that allow you to simply lift and hang your closet clothes onto a bar inside the box.  Our specialized materials keep your items much safer than used, free boxes, which can cut down on costs and the stress of replacing items that break during your move.

Box guide

4. Ask Tough Questions

When selecting a moving method, be sure to ask your hard questions up front to potential vendors.  If you think you want to go with a rented truck that you can load yourself, ask about the truck’s maintenance, pest control, and mileage.  If you think you’ll hire movers, ask the company if they employ full-time movers, whether the movers are background- and drug-tested, how the movers are trained, and whether the company is insured.  The customer service representatives that you speak with are used to getting those tough questions, and they won’t be offended if you ask them.

5. Make a Floor Plan

You’re paying movers for wherever they place your items at your drop-off location, whether it’s the correct placement or not.  So make sure they don’t make any mistakes–use the floor plan of your new home or office to map out where you want the major furniture pieces to go.  Also, label the rooms on the floor plan with the same labels you use to mark your boxes.  This way, the movers can cut down on time by knowing exactly where they’re going with each item before they even see the house.

6. Make a Day-of-the-Move Kit

It’s going to be a hectic, busy day.  Put together a small, easy-to-carry box that has everything you’ll need the very first day in your new home or office, like toilet paper, Clorox wipes, and pajamas.  You can take this box with you in the car instead of giving it to your movers, and then you’ll already know where the essentials are.  Also, put together a small folder of the papers you’ll need for your move:  Your floor plan, the moving company’s contact info, the original estimate of the move cost, any contracts you’ve received from the moving company, and your check for the movers.  Then, if anyone asks you for paperwork or you need to make a last-minute change to your schedule, everything will be in the same place.

7. Keep the Kids Occupied

Whether you have children, pets, or employees who will be around on the day of the move, go ahead and decide exactly what you want them to be doing on Moving Day.  Have coloring books for your kids, or send them to the grandparents’ for the weekend.  Fill the crate with some new bones for your dog, or board him for the day.  Have your employees plan to work from home, or put them to work and let them know they need to wear work clothes that day.  This way, no one will be underfoot during an already-stressful day.

Stress about an upcoming move is natural.  But planning ahead and being prepared can definitely help alleviate that burden.

How to Choose a Mover

how to choose a moving company

I’m going to just come out and say it…  We may not be the best movers for you.  There’s a trick to figuring out the best moving company for you to use: You have to figure out (a) your main priority and (b) the main benefit of each company.

Figuring out your main priority.

This may sound difficult…  How can you only have ONE main priority?  You definitely want to keep your furniture from getting damaged, you definitely want the move to run quickly and smoothly, you definitely want movers you can depend on to show up, and you definitely want to save money wherever you can.  But everyone does have a main priority.  If you’re having trouble figuring out yours, answer these questions to get started.

1. Do you need to keep your current items safe and undamaged because they have sentimental or monetary worth, or would you be okay with replacing some of your old items if they break during the move?

2. Is it most important that you get the move done in a certain amount of time on Moving Day, or can you leisurely move over a few days?

3. Do you have a flexible budget that allows you to explore moving options, or does it really come down to the bottom line?

Depending on your answers to questions like these, you may need to pick a company that lets you depend on friends to pack up your rented truck; you may need a full-service company that carefully packs each of your items for you; or you may need a shipping line that specializes in interstate moves.

IMG_0576

Figuring out each company’s main benefit.

Once you’ve narrowed down your priorities, you’ll now need to learn what each moving company prioritizes.  This will be a little more difficult to figure out, because some companies like to state that they are the best at every single aspect of moving.  But there are some questions you can ask to figure out where their strengths lie.

For example, does Moving Company A background-check and drug-test its employees?  Does it train each one before putting them out in the field?  If so, Company A’s strength is in keeping customers and their items safe.

Or does Moving Company B charge based on your load’s weight?  Does it use on-call, part-time employees and temps?  If so, Company B prides itself on keeping your costs as low as possible.

Questions like these can point to larger trends in a company, and you should figure out the “secret code” to deciphering a company’s main benefit before calling for an estimate or reading a company’s website for information.

All that being said, Two Men and a Truck is the right company for you if your priority is having a stress-free move and keeping your items as safe as possible.  If we’re the right company for you, give us a call anytime for a free quote at 615-248-6288.

What is Movers for Moms (in Nashville)?

Movers for Moms donation box  Our Home Office of Two Men and a Truck decided last year to make Movers for Moms a nation-wide community outreach event, having every Two Men location collect donations that would be given to homeless moms on Mother’s Day.  Our dear franchise owners decided that they wanted to not just make an annual gift to the community, but to establish roots in a worthy organization that helps homeless moms in Nashville.  They decided to build a relationship with Middle Tennessee’s only family homeless shelter, Safe Haven, which focuses on finding homes, jobs, and education for the families it shelters.  Instead of just donating needed items to Safe Haven, Steve and Sandi decided to also donate free moves to some of the families that the non-profit is able to house.

Movers for Moms in Nashville

Over the next month (until Mother’s Day on May 10), we are working hard with a few partnering businesses to collect items that Safe Haven needs to support their families.  We would love to have you help us gather these home necessities!  The week of Mother’s Day, we’ll be moving all of the collected donations to Safe Haven.

Do you need some inspiration for your donations?  Here’s what Safe Haven really needs for its families right now:
Gift cards to Target, Walmart, and Kroger
New Twin- and Full-sized comforters
New Full-sized sheet sets that do NOT have children’s designs on them
New bottles of High-Efficiency laundry detergent
New Pillows
New Bathroom towels, Wash Cloths, and Hand towels
New L, XL, and 2XL Scrubs for women
New bottles of Shampoo, Conditioner, and Liquid Body Wash
New Corelle dishes, Coffee Makers, Pots/Pans, Toasters, Can Openers, and Baking items
New plastic Kids’ Cups and Sippy Cups
New Sporting Equipment, like soccer balls, jump ropes, and frisbees
New African-American Barbie dolls
New Booster Seats and Pack & Plays
Unopened Non-Perishable food items

There are a few things Safe Haven can’t accept.  They can’t take ANY used items, due to health reasons.  Additionally, they won’t accept any toys that promote guns, violence, or fighting.  And they are totally good on stuffed animals–people donate those all the time.

And where can you donate your goods?  Stop by our office on Alabama Ave., or go to one of our partnering businesses: Keller Williams in Green Hills, Zeitlin & Co. in Green Hills, Tandem Realty in Berry Hill, or Re/Max in East Nashville.

Who is Safe Haven?

Safe Haven is the best.  They take in homeless families and work to quickly relocate them to new houses.  While the families wait to be relocated, and for the months following their move into their new homes, Safe Haven also teaches them really important life skills.  Adults are given job training, nutrition and parenting classes, and lessons on financial literacy.  Their children are helped with education, play therapy and counseling, and wellness activities.

We are seriously SO excited to help them out with Movers for Moms this year, and we hope you’ll join in!  If you have any other questions about the program, please call me (Jenni) at 615-248-6288, extension 111.

Movers Who Post

Happy Weekend  With our busy season coming up, we want to be able to consistently communicate with all of you!  So we are totally reworking our Facebook posts and Twitter feed, PLUS we’ve started this handy blog, a brand-new Pinterest, and an Instagram feed.

Here’s what we’re hoping to accomplish with each social network:

On Facebook, we’ll be hosting some contests in the near future, plus you may see some awesome packing/moving/supplies specials coming up…

On Twitter, we want to keep you updated with our totally informed and educated opinions on pretty much everything.  (What else is Twitter for?)

Our blog will be here to give you some articles on how to organize for a move (or just in general), cool new events coming up in our community, keeping you up with our community outreach projects, and just giving you a more in-depth portrait of us as an organization.

On Pinterest, we want to show you our passions, quirks, and hobbies!  The boards we have right now are about small businesses, innovative furniture (yeah, it’s a thing), taking advantage of living in Nashville, and, of course, your moving day.

And on Instagram, we want to give you our story through photos.  You can keep up with our crazy move schedule and meet all of our friendly faces.