Bad mortgages, high unemployment, and stock/pension losses contributed to record numbers of foreclosures in Phoenix. Most Phoenicians understand the resulting negative impact on realtors, mortgage companies, construction, and other related industries. But many, seeing their neighbors leave, would not think that it had an impact on moving companies. However, careful budgeting, excellent human resources management, and effective networking helped a local franchise—Two Men and a Truck—survive.
Like many others, Michigan natives Jodie Smith and Beth King moved to Phoenix in 2004 for new opportunities, and to open their first Two Men and a Truck franchise at Indian School and the I-17 in Phoenix. They opened a second one in Peoria in 2006. In 2007, the Valley economy started its steep decline. “Homeowners, who could no longer afford to make their mortgage payments, were not going to have the money to hire professional movers,” said Smith.
As revenues plunged, Smith and King had to severely cut their budget, and seek help from the Small Business Development Center of Maricopa County and the Small Business Administration.
Smith says, “We are very proud of the fact that we did not have to resort to layoffs. We made payroll every single week, ensuring that all our employees had good jobs, when so many others were losing theirs.”
Two Men and a Truck continued to provide excellent customer service, as well. Though not required by law (Arizona does not regulate moving companies), the bonded and insured company hires full-time, permanent employees, who have passed background and drug tests. Two Men are especially proud of their work with senior care facilities. The company even helps do-it-yourselfers with advice, loading pods, rental trucks, and other needs.
Two Men and a Truck also has benefitted from networking. For example, its long-term membership with the Greater Phoenix Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce has provided loyal customers, community organization partners, and many supportive friends.
“Unfortunately, the moving industry, in general, has a well-deserved bad reputation,” says King. “It has always been a goal of ours that we disprove that negative reputation, and provide people with professional, responsible and dedicated movers, who will perform a service that they can, not only be satisfied with, but actually excited about how well things went.”
Phoenix companies, which value their employees and customers have the best chance of surviving hard times, and being among the first to recover.