THE BIRTH OF AN INDUSTRY

With the technological advancement of the internal combustion engine and the steel frame the moving truck was born. With better roads and gas powered trucks, moving became more practical. The movers could drive to your house, load up all your furniture and drive to your new home and unload your furniture just where you want it. In some ways not much has changed in principal since that first motorized truck. In other ways the industry has been revolutionized. The need for movers has tracked the wealth of the nation. As people buy more stuff, they end up needing help to move it. As the population grew from tens of millions to hundreds of millions, the moving industry has kept pace with good companies providing quality service.

Figure 10.4 One of the earliest moving trucks with an air cooled engine

In 1919 Ward B. Hiner founded American Red Ball Transit. He thought moving goods from city to city in motorizes trucks instead of by railroad would eliminate the need to crate furniture. Instead of loading on a truck, unloading at the rail car, then unloading into another truck (or wagon) at the new city, he could just drive to the new city. Red ball was the first interstate carrier. The movers would load up at your house and drive to your new home. A big improvement over crating everything for the rail road, and moving everything four times (house to truck, truck to rail, rail to truck, and truck to new home.)

Many companies followed ??his lead. Soon the trucking industry was a fierce competitor of the rail roads. Ending a very old monopoly. One problem remained, after the unload an empty truck was on the road. There is no money in empty trucks.

In 1928 a group of moving companies formed an alliance to try and share moves to keep their trucks full. That marks the beginning of the van lines. They became known as Allied van lines. Some of the oldest moving companies that are still in business are United van lines and Mayflower vanlines. They were moving companies, before they both became vanlines.

As the roads kept getting better and the trucks bigger, the moving industry continued to serve the growing American economy. The moving business has always been a service business.

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About Jack Grant

I got my start in the moving industry as a driver for a budget apartment mover. I owned my own one ton pick-up truck, or should I say, Bank of America owned the truck. It was a hot summer and I made ok money. It didn???t take long before I started having problems with this company. Nothing affected me directly, not at first. I showed up at 6 am, hitched my truck to a trailer, picked up my move tickets for the day, and kept to myself. Then I started having problems with the way the company treated its customers, as well as, some of its movers. There were days I was overbooked, and could not get to all the jobs on time. There was also moves that were underbooked. Customers were given a low price just to get their business, then on move day they would be over charged on additional items that they wanted moved. I would arrive at a $600 move, call in the additional furniture only to find the move price to be doubled, but there didn???t seem to be twice the amount of items. The real problem I saw from the customer's point of view was what kind of crew they got. It was the luck of the draw. I considered myself to be a professional, treating the customers??? furniture with the same respect that I would want to receive if I was the one being moved. It seemed that they would hire anyone that could pull their trailers; no experience, no background checks, no drug tests, no English, no ethics???no problem. I started to feel out of place. I remember that one of their drivers lost a trailer on the highway. The budget apartment mover tried to make him pay for all the damages, even though it was a worn out trailer hitch that was to blame. The equipment was not properly maintained. After three months pulling for the budget apartment mover, I resigned and went to work for a local independent moving company. The trailers were well maintained, as well as, the moving equipment. The quality of the movers was a lot better too. I worked there as a driver for a little over three years. In 2001 my friend started a moving company, a new kind of moving company. A moving company with upfront pricing, an instant online quoting system, and online testimonials. In 2001, no one that I knew had an online message board for folks to post their comments or an actual instant online quoting system. Email forums were all that was used and is still the standard in most moving companies to this day. ???We will get most of our business from repeat customers and referrals if we set the benchmark for quality,??? he told me. I started at MoveCo.net as a driver in spring 2001, just in time for the moving season. Soon I was running packing crews, and doing onsite bids as well. MoveCo did not have a sales force; the drivers did all the in-home estimates; Having the actual driver do the bid eliminated lots of misunderstandings. I became proficient at everything from crating nine foot sailfish, to moving grand pianos. I was able to see the country, moving folks coast to coast. I have met a lot of interesting and good people along the way. MoveCo.net is proof a good deal of stress and all the horror stories can be eliminated with fair pricing, quality service, and no misunderstandings. MoveCo started adding box trucks to the fleet early on. Box trucks were more capable and I always felt gave a better image. I started going to the industry conference and discovered there really is a wide range of moving companies and service levels. The budget apartment movers might be a step up from a guy and a rental truck off craigslist, but on the other end of the spectrum you have the National Van Lines and top notch independents. In the moving business you are only as a good as your reputation. MoveCo has built that reputation over the last 15 years. I am proud to be a part of the MoveCo family. I hope you find this information in this blog useful. I may not be a professional writer, but I am a professional mover with over 18 year???s experience.