Wrong. No, we aren’t joking here. Packing things in boxes and loading them on a truck may not seem complicated compared to launching the Mars lander on May 4th, but for the people whose possessions you are moving, it may be more immediately important. Moving is very stressful, right up there with amputation and divorce, so if you want your moving business to be successful and get great referrals you had better make sure your crew is not making things more stressful for the client with careless packing and loading.
Science is everywhere. Have you ever noticed that sometimes when you buy something it may take longer to get it out of the package than to put it together? There is a reason for that, particularly if there are fragile parts. Packing and loading is an area where planning ahead really pays off. The better recon you have done, and the more organized you and your crew are, the more smoothly everything will go and that saves time and materials.
Here are a few basic things to remember:
- Even if the client intends to pack their things themselves it is not uncommon for them not to be ready on the day of the move. When quoting a job be sure to discuss consumable packing materials - a box or two is no big deal, but if they’ve left the kitchen for last and not gotten to it, having to pack up breakables will eat into your profit and take up time.
- There is no such thing as common sense. Do not assume that your clients or your crew know how to do things - they may think they do but they usually don’t. If the client insists on self-packing, have them sign a release stating that they are responsible for the condition of the contents. Also ask them to label boxes, particularly those containing fragile items. Some will do it, some will forget, others will stick fragile items in with heavy items…
- Never, ever, quote a job without having seen what it is you are expected to pack and load. Someone may say on the phone; “Oh, all I have is a futon and three bookcases.” If those bookcases are full of Hummel figurines, auntie’s glass menagerie and grandma’s china - you may be there all day and consume a ton of materials.
- Always be realistic when budgeting time and make a point of explaining why to your clients. If they care enough about their things to hire someone else to help pack and load them, they should understand why to do a job right takes time.
Selling points for convincing your clients to let you and your crew do the packing.
- Strategy saves time on both ends. By starting with the bulky and heavy items you can load as you pack. You will know exactly how to place items in the vehicle for optimal support in transit.
- Explain why it is important for furniture surfaces to be protected - no matter how snuggly things are packed there will always be some shifting in transport.
- Through careful labeling during packing, off-loading will be much more efficient. Boxes can be taken directly to their destination in the new space and the client can begin unpacking important things while your crew is still unloading.
- Explain to the client why many smaller boxes are preferable to few large boxes. Many people don’t realize that smaller boxes offer much more flexibility and safety in loading and unloading. If you tell your client what sort of boxes to source, they can save some money on consumables while still ensuring that their things will be protected. Suggest they troll the local BevMo or Smart & Final for two ply wine boxes if they are looking to shave off a few dollars.
Once you have trained your client and prepared him/her for the process, you need to be sure to do the same thing with any new crew members you on-board. Demonstrate good packing techniques and explain the principles at work. Never assume that they just innately know what works and what doesn’t. Create a marking code for your crew to expedite labeling and show them why it is helpful while unloading if the contents and destination room are marked on the side of the box facing the back of the truck or van.
Leadership means a lot more than just signing their paycheck. By paying attention to these details you can quickly build an excellent reputation and an awesome packing & loading crew!