Staying in the driver’s seat

Written by Brig Sorber

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Brig Sorber CEO of TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®/INTERNATIONAL, Inc.

There are times throughout the year I stop to breathe and reflect. I think about what we have accomplished and what we may have suffered or struggled through as a family over the year. Sometimes I go way back and think of our first house for instance. A $15,000 fixer-upper in a little town in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The memories are great but I sure would not want to go back! I think about the necessary changes that had to take place, the sacrifices, and hard work to move us forward as a family.

We all have stories to tell of tough decisions and sacrifice to better our lot in life.

For me, I use this time to look over the past year at our system’s accomplishments. Like my personal life, this TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® year has not been perfect, but it has been a very good year. Taking on challenges, evolving, and changing with the curve balls life throws us and trying to move everything and everyone forward. I look back to six years ago and the massive challenges that faced us as a system. A crippling recession starting and our old operating system sputtering and smoking, no longer keeping pace with business.

I remember the frustration of a multitude of customers wanting to use technology to communicate with TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® and we were not prepared. We had a more than 70% abandonment rate for our estimate request form located on our website. We lacked the skill, consistency, and processes needed. Our customers and their needs were changing and we were not. We learned a valuable lesson; if your business is not growing, it’s dying. There is no nirvana in business!

After a massive evolution to our system, we now have the whole TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® nation in the cloud. All locations using the same hardware, software, and metrics. Sharing this amount of data on such a large scale is truly the essence of franchising and will only enhance the customer experience. In May we will complete our five millionth move! TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® will complete a move every minute of every hour of every day. No longer avoiding change but looking for ways to get better in an ocean of opportunity.

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The Board of Directors presenting a rendering of the new Home Office building.

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® not only survived this on slot over the years, we grew in it. We have more than doubled our business in the last four years while increasing customer satisfaction and franchise profitability. Was it easy? No. Like my old house, it is interesting to look back on where we were and where we are now. Like my old house, I do not want to go back and live in it. Like my old house, the trade-off of hard work and sacrifice to move forward was worth it. What we as a company accomplished over the last six years is on the high end of miraculous.

But much like our personal lives, just when we think we have it all figured out, here come the curve balls. It’s funny, this time it is not our brokenness that will put the pressure on us, but our success! Our success has not gone unnoticed. With expanding market share, media placement, and increased locations, we have garnered a lot of positive national exposure. We have also been noticed by competition in the moving and storage sector and in the franchising world. New technology has also opened up our livelihood to groups who want to build a better mousetrap when it comes to moving. Either all aspects of the move or small parts.

As Neil Young sang many years ago, “rust never sleeps”. Our competition will never sleep either. For TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® to not only thrive but survive, we will have to get used to this life of change.  It is important to remember where TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® came from when we look at the moving industry as a whole. We are still very new to the scene in the history of moving and storage. No one in the industry saw us coming. From a small seed of two boys and a pick-up, to all of us now. Want to know what it looks like when you refuse or drag your feet when it comes to change? Look at our industry. It should be a business study. If we do not continue to push evolution and change in the TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® system, we will simply relive the demise of so many other companies in our industry. What other tiny start-up seed is germinating out there with a fire in their gut, who are more than hungry enough to stomach the change?

Let’s throw the curve ball of success into the equation. Success allows us to come up for air, look about, and breathe. Success allows us to have choices. We as humans, given a choice, will rid ourselves of things that give us pain. Change in many cases bring pain. Change is more palatable when death is imminent but when it is not, human nature will avoid change. Ask the smoker, the drinker, and the dieter.

In the end we have two choices: we steer change to reach our personal and business goals and vision, or we avoid change. Avoiding change takes us out of the driver seat and puts us in the back seat. Change cannot be avoided! Hide and it will find you and dictate your steps. I feel over the last six years we have climbed into the driver’s seat. We never want to be in the back seat again.

For more information on starting your own TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® franchise location and the performance information available to prospective owners, click here.

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