Date: October 1, 1999
From: "Mike Dammer" <>
Subject: AMS-Forum What's changed in this business

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Voted Message of The Month! wrote:
> "All we have to remember in our business is that it is still a very simple action,
> transporting a person's belongings from point A to point B, then controlling
> what happens before, during and after the action.
> It's really not rocket science.

An excellent point and the core of why our industry is in the pricing trouble it is today.

Anyone CAN do our job.....when everything goes right. But what happens when something seriously goes wrong.

Moe, Larry and Curly pull up at a residence in a rental truck and proceed to do a great job for the customer. Residence is prepped nicely so there is no property damage. Shemp has done a great job packing and the customer couldn't have been happier. Everything is loaded by 4:00PM and the stooges leave Long Island for Florida. Unfortunately, on the way south, Moe, the driver, gets sleepy. While southbound on I-95 he falls asleep and crosses the median into oncoming traffic. There is a head on collision resulting in a fatality in the other vehicle. Since neither Moe, Larry or Curly ever incorporated or obtained interstate authority the owner of the property being transported on the van becomes the target of litigation. After hiring an attorney and spending thousands of dollars to put forward their position that all they (the shipper) did was hire a mover, the court decides that as the stooges never had a signed order for service, never presented a bill of lading, did not own a building, and never owned a truck, they were not movers but, instead are considered casual labor employed directly by the property owner. As such they (the shipper) are not only on the hook to the family of the deceased but now Larry, who hurt his back in the accident files a workers comp claim (at the advise of his attorney) against their home owners insurance. Curly, in the mean time, took the dishpack Shemp had told him about (the one with all the Hummels and antique glass) and has run off to the Bahamas and opened a hair styling salon. Shipper has to sell his retirement home to pay legal fees. Moe and Larry go on 60 minutes and provide "Insider" information on unscrupulous movers in the metro area.

It's really NOT rocket science....but;

Stan and Ollie operate a small, totally legitimate moving company. The are not the brightest bulbs in the lamp but they are decent, honest people who try to do the best job they can. They get selected to do a job one day for someone in the Hamptons moving to Connecticut. BIG job. The biggest the boys have ever had. Ollie is getting a little tired these days so they hire a third man to help with the big stuff. The guy seems like a great person and Ollie's sister has known his family for years. The helper does such a good job they decide to take him to destination. When the three of them get up to this little town in Connecticut Ollie, the driver gets lost. Stan, the thinnest, is sitting in the middle of the cab so when Ollie pulls into a quick mart to ask for directions the new guy offers to get out to help. Unfortunately, while getting out, he slips on the step, falls and injures his back so severely an ambulance must be called. Upon examination by a paramedic the helper is found to be in possession of a large quantity of cocaine. He tells the police that the cocaine really belongs to Stan. The cops impound the vehicle and arrest all three. The vehicle gets towed to the police impound yard and held over the weekend until the property owner can get the police to release the property to them. Over the weekend the truck is broken into and the big screen T.V, the VCR and the stereo are all taken off the truck. As neither Stan nor Ollie never did understand "All that insurance and valuation stuff" the customer was never properly protected and can only recover at 60 cents per pound. Oh, and since Stan forgot to mail the payment to The State Insurance Fund they canceled the boys workers comp and the helper is now suing the shipper.

I have used both of these stories with National Accounts and COD shippers. You all know these things happen. The bottom line is Yes, anyone can do this job, but it takes a knowledgeable and reputable company to properly protect a customer from all the criminal or just plain stupid people out there. Yes, this is not rocket science, but we ARE an industry that is as heavily regulated and controlled as the airlines. Our drivers must pass the same physical as airline pilots (including drug testing) and our industry is governed by Federal and State regulations for interstate transportation of property. It takes a knowledgeable and reputable company to understand all the regulation governing our operation and to be prepared to assist a customer when something totally outside of all of our control can influence the successful completion of a job. The question to the customer is are YOU prepared to risk your future and everything you own for a cheap job?
We are not just talking about insurance. Movers today must be experts in wage and hour law, EEOC, work place ethics, employee benefits, unemployment, workers comp, IRS, hours of service, environmental impact, and every other topic that effects companies like K-Mart, Ford or Connecticut General Life. We must also be an "Expert" in rules of the road for each state, county, city, town, and street we enter. We must be properly registered, permitted, decaled, inspected and taxed. We must be prepared to safeguard the property of our customer, COD or National Account, at the risk of our own corporate financial well being.

THAT'S WHY WE COST MORE! THAT'S WHY MOE AND OLLIE CAN DO A JOB CHEAPER THAN WE CAN! The business people in the group have looked at each of the items in the last two paragraphs as an expense that we have to constantly figure into our cost of business. Learn to explain this to your customers and you will be more successful and hopefully more profitable. If you explain this to someone who still wants cheap, the risk is theirs. They are too stupid for me to take as a customer anyway.


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