My First Moving Company Failed

SUMMARY

In this video, Louis Massaro shares how his first moving company was a failure.

  • “Man, it was scary, I didn’t know anything. I just knew that there was money to be made in the moving business.”
  • “I had all the pads and dollies in my apartment and I rented two trucks.”
  • “I put an ad out, I hired some movers, I started booking some moves and I meet them all at the truck rental yard. They, of course, thought it was a joke. I mean, I was there in my car, a 19-year-old kid and I looked young too.”
  • “I had all this equipment, I had all these pads, I had all these dollies. I was talking to the people at CDS and saying like, “How many do I need on the truck? How many of these should I use?” And, “How many of those should I use? What other equipment should I use?”
  • “My movers, right away, I mean, they knew. They knew I didn’t know what I was doing. They knew I didn’t know what I was talking about. And it just felt like, “Am I ever going to be able to get the respect of these guys when they know I don’t know shit?
  • Watch the video to get full training.

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TRANSCRIPTION

Louis Massaro:
All right, my friend, it’s Louis Massaro, welcome to The Moving Mastery Podcast. The purpose of this podcast is to help you take your moving company to that next level by setting up proven systems and processes to increase profits, reduce stress, live a better quality of life. I got my main man Chris with me today. What’s up, Chris?

Chris:
Hey, hey.

Louis Massaro:
So what we’re doing is in these episodes, Chris has been going through the social media feed, through our support inbox and coming up with some questions that people in the audience or customers or whoever they are, there’s people sending in questions from social media have about their moving business or have for me directly and I don’t know what these questions are going to be until he asks them. So it’s Chris’s job to make sure we’ve got some good starting points.

Chris:
We do. We do.

Louis Massaro:
What have you got today Chris?

Chris:
This one I really like. This one comes in from a guy who I believe is a younger guy. I think he’s probably just starting his business.

Louis Massaro:
Okay.

Chris:
And his question is he says, “I know you started your first moving company at 19 years old, how were you able to have so much success at such a young age?”

Louis Massaro:
I wasn’t.

Chris:
You weren’t?

Louis Massaro:
No.

Chris:
What do you mean? What happened?

Louis Massaro:
So initially, my first moving company failed.

Chris:
Oh, that’s right. Okay.

Louis Massaro:
You know that story.

Chris:
Yeah. Yeah.

Louis Massaro:
But I haven’t talked about it a lot, I’ve…

Chris:
Let’s hear about it. I would love to hear that.

Louis Massaro:
Yeah. So essentially when I was 19, I went to Las Vegas to open up my first office, okay? It was the millennium. I went to Las Vegas with some family and friends for the ’99 to 2000 New Year’s Eve.

Chris:
Right. Yup. I was there and then also.

Louis Massaro:
And I, that’s right, you were probably playing music or something.

Chris:
I sure was. Yeah, yeah.

Louis Massaro:
And flew over, and I’m looking out the window, I’m like, “People live in Las Vegas?” I’ve been there once before when I was a little bit younger and I’m like, “People actually live here?” It’s not just this trip. I see houses and I’m like, “You know what? I’m going to come out here and I’m going to open a moving company out there.”

Louis Massaro:
So went to Vegas, rented two trucks. At the time, it was called Rollins Truck Rental, Penske bought them out later, went down there, rented two trucks. I had a fake ID at the time. Hopefully, it’s all good now, but I had a fake ID at the time and that’s the only way I was able to with my name on it was able to actually rent trucks at that age.

Louis Massaro:
And man, it was scary, I didn’t know anything and I just knew that there was money to be made in the moving business and went partners with a friend that already had a moving company in Florida, went out to Vegas, started there, I was like, “I’m going to show you the way. I’m going to show you the way.” And went out there and was essentially on my own to figure it out.

Louis Massaro:
Other than the occasional phone call of like, “Wake up, what are you doing? Get out there, go see some apartment complexes. Go do something.” I’m like, “Oh.” I didn’t know what to do, right? I was just … I had a yellow page ad, phones are going to my … The calls were going to my cell phone.

Louis Massaro:
I had all the pads and dollies in my apartment that I got and yeah, rented two trucks. The first day I had to go rent those two trucks. I went, I had to go get moving equipment. So at the time, it was I believe it was CDS Moving Equipment and had to drive the stick shift truck which is totally different by the way than a stick shift car.

Chris:
Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Louis Massaro:
And so it’s Las Vegas, it’s the summer of 2000 and it’s hot in Vegas, right?

Chris:
It’s hot.

Louis Massaro:
So I get in the truck and I’m like, “Yeah, yeah, no, I know how to drive it, I know how to drive it.” I get there and I’m clank, clank, clank, clank, clank. The truck’s stalling and I’m just sweating. I just know, “Man, they’re going to see me, they’re going to figure it out. They’re going to know that I don’t know what I’m doing.”

Chris:
They’re watching you.

Louis Massaro:
They’re not going to rent me trucks and it’s going to be all over. So the guy comes up to the truck and he comes up to the window and I rolled the window down and he’s like, “Having a little trouble?” I’m like, I didn’t know what to say, “I got it.” He’s like, “You know what? Let me … You mind if I jump in with you? I’ll give you a little … I’ll show you a little bit.”

Chris:
Oh, that’s nice.

Louis Massaro:
Yeah, he was the head mechanic there and he took mercy on me. I mean, he saw what was happening.

Chris:
He saw you struggling.

Louis Massaro:
Yeah, he jumped in and we did a few … He basically taught me how to drive a manual truck right there on the spot and I forgot exactly how long we drove around and he was giving me a lesson. A super cool guy and if you’re listening, by the way, I totally forgot your name, but thank you so much.

Chris:
Wow, yeah.

Louis Massaro:
I appreciate that. Yeah. And I had to go to CDS and on the way out of Rollins to CDS was like an uphill and so now, I’m driving the truck and I’m going uphill and it’s rolling back as I’m getting the clutch down. I made it to CDS, I got the equipment, I went and dropped it off the apartment. I made it back.

Louis Massaro:
So that was like before I even got started out there. So now, I put an ad out, I hire some movers, I started booking some moves and I meet them all at the truck rental yard. They, of course, thought it was a joke. I mean, I was there in my car and, a 19-year-old kid and I looked young too.

Louis Massaro:
It wasn’t like I was just 19, I look, I don’t know, probably 16 and I didn’t know what I was doing. I had all this equipment, I had all these pads, I had all these dollies. I was talking to the people at CDS and saying like, “How many do I need on the truck? How many of these should I use?” And, “How many of those should I use? What other equipment should I use?”

Chris:
Yeah.

Louis Massaro:
So my movers right away, I mean, they knew. They knew I didn’t know what I was doing. They knew I didn’t know what I was talking about and luckily, I was able to learn from them how a truck should be set up. How the pad should be folded, how the dollies should be put with the pads and strapped in and how many should be on the truck and sweeping it out after the move and all that. I learned that directly from the movers.

Chris:
How fortunate.

Louis Massaro:
In Vegas.

Chris:
Wow.

Louis Massaro:
Now, it didn’t feel fortunate at the time, it was embarrassing.

Chris:
It was embarrassing I’m sure, but yeah.

Louis Massaro:
And it just felt like am I ever going to be able to get the respect of these guys when they know I don’t know shit.

Chris:
Yeah.

Louis Massaro:
Right? And so, I kind of got past that part, but now the challenge was when I went out there, the expectation was all men apply for a license, I’m going to get a license, it won’t be an issue, but at the time, it was very, very hard to get a license in Las Vegas.

Louis Massaro:
It was like a good old boy network. You had to know somebody, it wasn’t … You just filled out your application and got a license. So what I was doing was I was … I had two contracts going. I had one contract for labor. So it was a labor service and another contract for truck rental.

Chris:
Okay.

Louis Massaro:
So I technically wasn’t a moving company.

Chris:
I see.

Louis Massaro:
And this was my workaround until I got the license, but one month goes by, two months go by, three months go by, I’m not able to get this license and it starts looking like it’s not going to happen and for me, it was demoralizing.

Chris:
Were you making money?

Louis Massaro:
No.

Chris:
No?

Louis Massaro:
No. I wasn’t making any money. It’s a good thing because a young guy in Vegas making money, it could have turned out bad.

Chris:
Yeah. Yeah.

Louis Massaro:
But I wasn’t making any money. I was basically making … I wasn’t even making, I should even say that between the … Everything I was putting on my credit cards and taking a little bit of money to pay for the apartment, and the truck rentals and food and stuff like that, that was it and what happened was … I mean, I remember being on the phone with a family member and just talking about the whole thing and just started crying.

Chris:
Really?

Louis Massaro:
It was so … Laying on my couch like, “What am I doing out here?” This is ridiculous I came out here to open a moving company and I’m basically running like this half-ass truck rental labor service. I had this vision of my name on the truck’s storage, a big warehouse, a big facility like that.

Louis Massaro:
At the time, I’d wanted one really good office. That was my goal and it was never going to be able to happen because if I’m a truck rental company, I can’t put the name of the moving company on the side of the truck, I couldn’t do storage, so after six months, I’m like, “Look, I can’t spend any more time here with these workarounds. If I can’t get the license, then I need to go somewhere where I can get a license or I don’t need a license.”

Louis Massaro:
So after six months, I decided to go to Denver, Colorado. At the time, you didn’t need a license, it seemed like a good market and I went, and basically, that’s when … For me, that’s when it really all started, right? There is that six months in Vegas that failed.

Louis Massaro:
I mean, I basically shut it down, I wasn’t able to make it, I never made any money, couldn’t get a license. It was a half-ass operation and then I go to Vegas and go to Denver. You lived in Denver too, right?

Chris:
I love it. Yeah, yeah.

Louis Massaro:
Yeah.

Chris:
I grew up 90 miles north of there too.

Louis Massaro:
So I get to Denver, it’s now February. I land, it’s nothing but snow everywhere and at the time, DIA airport was, I mean, still way out.

Chris:
Oh yeah, you’re out in the prairie?

Louis Massaro:
Yeah, there was nothing out there with it. So I landed, I get in the rental car, I’m in the snow driving around. I’m from Florida, I’m not used to driving around in the snow and I go to a hotel, it’s late, I go to sleep, I wake up and I look out and all I see is snow.

Chris:
Yeah.

Louis Massaro:
Right? Snow and I’m like, “Who am I going to move out here? Did I make another bad decision? Am I just … What’s happening here? Am I going to be able to actually do this?”

Chris:
Why? Why Denver?

Louis Massaro:
What happened was the guy who I was partners with at the time was trying to open another office in Denver with somebody else and then they backed out.

Chris:
Oh, okay.

Louis Massaro:
And when they backed out, there was an opportunity there, there was already a yellow page ad placed. So it was like I didn’t have to wait. It was either I go there or I go back to Florida, go back to the drawing board, try to figure out my next move and I was already, I was in. I already made up my mind I was going to succeed in this business and I was in.

Chris:
Even after Vegas failing?

Louis Massaro:
Even after Vegas failing.

Chris:
It didn’t have an effect on your spirit and your motivation?

Louis Massaro:
It did, but I moved past it. I was like, “What else …” I didn’t have family money to fall back on. I didn’t have … I didn’t go to college. I didn’t have anything to fall back on and I told myself that I’m going to go make … I’m going to go become a millionaire in the moving business before I went to Vegas.

Louis Massaro:
And so for me, I was like, “All right, Vegas is … The way that I have to operate here is broken. Let me go somewhere else.” Which could seem like a cop-out. Why don’t you just try to make it where you are? But I’m like, “You know what? I’m at the beginning stages right now. Let me go somewhere where it’s going to be a little more friendly for me to be able to operate.”

Chris:
Yeah, better to do it now than when you’re established and you’ve got a whole business going and you’re still struggling. I mean, six months in Vegas is it’s enough time to know whether it’s going to work or not, but when you look back at it now, do you say, “Oh, I could have done this.” Or, “I could have done that and I could have made it work somehow.”

Louis Massaro:
No.

Chris:
No?

Louis Massaro:
No. Because I needed the license. It was either … There was a ton of companies out there operating with no license making money, getting fined, paying the fine, but that wasn’t …

Chris:
You don’t want to be that … Yeah. Yeah.

Louis Massaro:
That’s not what I wanted to do. So but now, I went just did the same exact thing. But it was as if I felt the failure of that office and carried that with me. So when I went to Denver, it was a whole different level of focus and intensity on the way that I went about the business.

Chris:
This time …

Louis Massaro:
This time it was not … There was no one needing to call me to tell me to get up in the morning to go see real estate offices. I was in and I went and I found an apartment and I went and found Penske there and went and negotiated, “Hey, I’m going to rent two trucks, can I keep them here and work that whole thing out?” And started all over again. Recruited some movers, had them come meet me at the clubhouse of my clubhouse. It was the little apartment complex.

Chris:
Little office?

Louis Massaro:
Yeah, we were the leasing office.

Chris:
Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Louis Massaro:
It wasn’t like fancy like that and had to meet me there, hired them, I had them all meet me at the truck rental yard in the morning and started all over again in Denver after six months. So to answer the question, it didn’t just like come easy. That six months, there was a lot of schooling that went on in that six months.

Chris:
Yeah, it was like a bootcamp kind of.

Louis Massaro:
It was like a bootcamp.

Chris:
Yeah.

Louis Massaro:
And there was a lot of pressure because I didn’t know, I felt so self-conscious, I didn’t have the discipline, not the discipline. I didn’t have the … I didn’t have the confidence to be able to speak to the customers and know what I’m talking about, I didn’t know how to estimate a move.

Louis Massaro:
Everybody, anybody and everybody that called, it didn’t matter what size it could have been a studio apartment or a 12,000 square foot mansion. “Okay, sure. We’ll send you three guys in a truck.”

Chris:
Yeah.

Louis Massaro:
That was it. Everybody got the same thing. So that six months was schooling and then when I got to Denver, it was also schooling, but it was like I graduated to a certain level. I could fake it enough at that point to where my movers are like, “Okay, he knows what he’s talking about.”

Chris:
Okay, did you start making money right away in Denver?

Louis Massaro:
Denver was great. I opened up in February 2001 and yeah, I mean, it took me, the Yellow Pages was about four months until I could start paying them, right?

Chris:
Uh-huh (affirmative).

Louis Massaro:
So immediately, I wasn’t making any money, but about four months until I could start paying that ad that had been out previously, Penske, almost every day was coming outside like, “Hey, we need some money. We need some money.” I’m like, “Okay, here, here. I’ll give you a little money, here.” But that first year, really things started to really take off at that point.

Chris:
Okay. When you first were getting established in Denver, did you … When did all of the getting the processes in place and when did it all really start become like a real company?

Louis Massaro:
Not for a while because I had to figure out what those processes were, but in my mind, at the time, it wasn’t like, I need to figure out processes. I was like, “I need to figure out how to do this stuff.” Right? And every day, there was issues, every day there was problems, every day I was running into something that just really could crush your self-confidence, right?

Chris:
Yeah.

Louis Massaro:
You feel like you’re doing something good and just some over … Whether it’s movers twice your size, getting in your face, wanting to fight you, whether it’s Penske coming outside and saying, “You need to pay us or we’re not … We’re taking these trucks back.” Right?

Louis Massaro:
Whether it’s a move that is just going so terribly wrong and you don’t really even know where to begin to resolve the issue.

Chris:
You’ve got customers screaming at you.

Louis Massaro:
Yeah, and it’s … I just had no idea what I was … Everything felt way over my head and I just, every day, I had this little black book I kept in my back pocket like a little address book which is blank and I would just write down all the things.

Louis Massaro:
I was like, “I need to figure out a solution for this. There’s got to be a better way for this, there’s got to be a better way for that. This can’t be.” And that became my guiding light to figure out how to make it better and it was almost like an obsession, right?

Louis Massaro:
There’s got to be a better way. Every time something happened, I’m like, “No, no, no.” There’s companies out there that operate smoothly, profitably that aren’t dealing with this. Whereas now I see, I’ll hear from companies and it’s like, “Man, I got this up against me and I got that up against me in my market and the leads and the movers.” And it’s like everything’s against them, right?

Chris:
Yeah.

Louis Massaro:
I’ll hear that a lot.

Chris:
Yeah.

Louis Massaro:
It’s kind of like victim mentality.

Chris:
It can be, yeah.

Louis Massaro:
And I didn’t look at it that way, I looked at it like there’s companies out there that run smooth, there’s companies out that are run efficient. What can I do to make this better?

Chris:
Were you reaching out to companies?

Louis Massaro:
Not moving companies, but I was talking to anybody and everybody I could. I was talking to my CPA at the time. I was talking to it was probably three or four months after I was in the truck rental yard, maybe five months, I forgot exactly that I went at leased my first office space.

Chris:
Wow.

Louis Massaro:
And the owner was a successful businessman that now he’s just invested in real estate and I would talk to him and get advice from him. So I had all these unofficial mentors where I was just getting information and they were just helping me with bits and pieces of whatever they could.

Louis Massaro:
I found an attorney in Denver to help with my contracts and stuff like that and she would guide me and help me with certain things. So I was like I’d go look for the answers to them, I’d go look for books that I could read and find information on whatever I was struggling with and try to overcome it and then try to apply that the next day.

Chris:
Yeah, the podcast we did I guess last week or two weeks ago was about how you built this $20 million empire. Was the climate different back then? Did you feel like you … Did it feel like you couldn’t fail just because with things going in the economy and stuff like that or how was it?

Louis Massaro:
Well, you just had the dot-com bubble, right? That all happened right then and there, right? A few months after what I’m talking about, a couple of months after I moved into my office, 9/11 happened.

Chris:
Yes.

Louis Massaro:
Right? So the whole world is in fear and there’s a lot going on. Then we go to war. There’s a lot going on and I just didn’t pay attention to it.

Chris:
And it didn’t affect the business?

Louis Massaro:
It didn’t affect the business.

Chris:
Wow.

Louis Massaro:
And maybe it did, but I didn’t know … Maybe it did. Maybe it would have been twice as successful if that didn’t happen, but I didn’t look at it like that and I think that that was a real advantage for me that I wasn’t caught up in, “Oh, the economy.”

Louis Massaro:
“Oh man, what’s going to happen to the market? And what’s going to happen if this happens?” Or, “What’s going to happen if that happens?”

Chris:
Is that something that you think you should worry about or that you’re worried about later?

Louis Massaro:
I think you just need to focus on having your business so on point, that you’re just in the best position that you could be in for whatever happens. You know what I mean? Storms are going to come. You need to be able to weather those storms.

Chris:
Yeah.

Louis Massaro:
But I think a lot of people, look at what’s going on and listen, you watch the news, it just breeds fear in people. In tune, it’s good to know what’s happening, but don’t … Not follow your dreams and your business and don’t sit there and go, “Oh, the economy is messed up.”

Louis Massaro:
Because if that’s all you’re hearing all day, that’s what you’re going to believe and for me, it was like, I just had my head down. I didn’t look at competition other than to check their prices.

Louis Massaro:
I just had my head down and just focused on booking as many moves as I could possibly book and then figuring out how to service them.

Chris:
Yeah. Yeah. You started in the dead of winter in Denver.

Louis Massaro:
Yeah.

Chris:
In February.

Louis Massaro:
Yeah.

Chris:
I guess if you are in that situation, that’s when you start. You don’t know any different, right? You don’t … Did you know that there was going to be a moving season? Did you know that you are going to have money falling out of the sky during the summer or …

Louis Massaro:
No. I mean, I had an idea, but it’s actually not … I was going to say it’s a funny story, it’s not a funny story, but that first year, I think I did approximately from February to the end of the year, I think I did about 600,000 gross in revenue and got … And didn’t feel any slowdown.

Louis Massaro:
Didn’t feel any slow down because the trajectory of where I was going up, I mean, I was selling. That was my big thing. Sales was what got me there, period. So I’m selling and I’m selling and I come out of summer, and I go into winter, and I’m still doing well, I’m still making money.

Louis Massaro:
I come back around into the new year. So what is that now? 2002 I come into the new year and hit summer again and now it’s like, right? Really crushed it that summer and so now I’m not prepared for winter because I’m like, “No big deal.”

Louis Massaro:
That’s when I learned the hard way, that summer, I bought a house. Got myself a nice car and …

Chris:
Life was good.

Louis Massaro:
Life was good, but then that winter came and I wasn’t prepared for it because I kept going up the winter before because I had so much momentum and this time, I felt it and it was tight. Cash flow was tight, money was tight because I was young, I started spending it.

Louis Massaro:
I was conscious enough to set up an investment account, but still, I wasn’t prepared to weather the storm of that first … That second winter where it really impacted me, and it hurt and it was a lot of juggling to get out of it, and then make my way back to the summer and then say like, “Never again.”

Louis Massaro:
It goes back to, “There’s got to be a better way.” There’s got to be a better way. So it’s like, “How can I make sure I’ve got consistent moves all year?” Okay?

Chris:
Yeah.

Louis Massaro:
And how do I make sure I’ve got money next year so that when things do slow down, I’m okay I’m not stressing all winter long and that’s when I started to create a separate account and put money to the side during the summer months when it was raining money to be able to handle that and survive the winter if I needed it and if I didn’t need it, then I knew by springtime, I could do what I wanted to do with the money.

Chris:
That’s kind of nice. Yeah, now how efficiently was the business running at that point?

Louis Massaro:
It was starting … It was like I had the screwdriver and starting to tighten it down a little bit and just everything … I just wanted everything to be on point and even back then, if something was sloppy or something was out of order everything had to be in order, everything had to be neat and on point and it had to be done the same way every time.

Louis Massaro:
We used to have the movers fill out … When they came back, they had to fill out a time card for their hours plus a sheet for every single one of the moves that they had to staple to the back of the contract before they gave it to us with the money.

Louis Massaro:
Little thing, but it was like it had to happen every single time and so by putting these little things into place, it doesn’t sound like a big deal. However, when you put it in place, and then you make sure it stays in place, now you could build on that and now you can stack on that and that little thing is a little process. Hey guys, when you come in and we used to literally take long sheets of paper, print out these things, get the slicer.

Chris:
Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Louis Massaro:
I bought a little slicer at Home Depot, it was pretty fun to slice all the things and put them out for the movers with a pen and it was just a little thing, but all those little things when you start to do them well and you start to not accept when a guy comes in and just doesn’t do it that day, that’s the thing. When you start to put processes in place, that was a process.

Louis Massaro:
It wasn’t in writing, it wasn’t a standard operating procedure, it wasn’t official, but it was like, “Hey, we need to do this.” And I know, where people can struggle is one guy doesn’t do it. Then the next day another guy doesn’t do it and then they’re like, “You know what? It’s not that important that we have the sheets. Whatever.” And they let that go.

Louis Massaro:
So it was running pretty efficient, but it was me and one other guy at first, my best friend who came to just hang for the summer. Come work with me for the summer, I could use the help, it will be fun and then he ended up staying with me for six years. Then we hired some other people after that, but yeah, I guess it was a natural desire for order.

Chris:
A necessary desire.

Louis Massaro:
Yeah. I recognized early on when things weren’t in order, there was chaos. It was either their structure in order where there’s chaos and the chaos didn’t feel good, it gave you a lot of anxiety and you saw a mistake … You saw bad stuff happen in the business because of it.

Louis Massaro:
You saw the ball get dropped because of it. So it’s just like everything’s got to be on point. Everything across the board in the business. It was just everything from … If I had to … We started doing direct mail and we got the labels and we put the labels on these little ugly postcards that we had at the beginning and then the stamps.

Louis Massaro:
So when I got somebody to do that in the office, it was just very meticulous. Look, here’s exactly how you need to do it. If there was a label put on that was crooked, no, you need to do that again. It’s got to be on point. It’s got to be straight. Right? Same thing with the paperwork.

Louis Massaro:
Movers came back missing signatures, there was consequences for that. You can’t just come back … Everything’s got to be on point.

Chris:
You’re setting a standard.

Louis Massaro:
Exactly.

Chris:
For everything. Now, for a guy … This guy in this situation, I assume he’s kind of just getting started. Do you remember your first process, or what would you tell him to kind of get in place first?

Louis Massaro:
The moving parts, right? I mean, so to me, morning dispatch was the biggest event.

Chris:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Louis Massaro:
6:30 in the morning, we got to the office. Movers were all there waiting outside. We let the drivers inside the building.

Chris:
But the movers had to stay out?

Louis Massaro:
The helpers had to stay out. I mean, if there was a blizzard, we could squeeze them all in, but other than that, I … Because otherwise, it’s …

Chris:
Chaos.

Louis Massaro:
Yeah, it’s chaos, right? We needed order. But just the way that … I think if, I don’t remember exactly what the first process was, but getting those … The timesheets and the job description stapled to the contract, that was big.

Louis Massaro:
Making sure that I had the moves written up on contracts the night before by three o’clock, that was a process that I did for me, right? I’m like, “I’ve got to create order for me. Otherwise, I’m going to be here all night. I’m not going to know …”

Louis Massaro:
There’s always reaction. There’s always something you could be doing. If you don’t take the things that must get done and say, “I’m going to do them by this time in this particular way, you’re just going to have chaos.”

Louis Massaro:
So the contracts had to be done by three o’clock for the next day which meant the confirmation calls to the customer, had to be done. Then the contract had to be written up, then, back then, there was no GPS.

Louis Massaro:
There was I think MapQuest or something just started coming out, but before that, it was just, we had map books. So you would go to the back to the index, look up the address, flip to the page where it was, right?

Chris:
Yeah, yeah.

Louis Massaro:
Make a copy of that page and then highlight the route for the driver off the highway to get there …

Chris:
Wow, even that’s …

Louis Massaro:
Staple that to the back of the contract.

Chris:
Wow.

Louis Massaro:
So why? Because I can’t have guys getting lost and that’s stemmed from guys getting lost. I don’t know where I’m going. All right, well now, that’s not happening anymore. You’re going to know exactly where you’re going. I’m going to make sure you know exactly where you’re going.

Louis Massaro:
I don’t push, I didn’t push that off on them and say, “You guys figure it out.” No, we made the copy the night before, highlighted the route, they knew exactly where they needed to go. So the whole, and they knew that the minute, I had the Nextel walkie-talkies at the time where it was like chirp chirp.

Chris:
Yeah, yeah.

Louis Massaro:
And they all got one of those when they went out, and they had to … First of all, they had to be gone out of the office by seven o’clock. So it was like 6:30, we dispatch. You had to be gone by seven.

Louis Massaro:
Meaning, seven o’clock, I was out in the yard and I’m thinking now I want some in my office, right? We had a lot more time in the office than I did in the truck rental yard.

Louis Massaro:
I’d come out, “What’s up? What’s going on? Well, let’s go. What else do you guys need? Do you need some boxes? Do you need tape? You need directions? All right, come on. Let’s go.”

Chris:
Let’s go.

Louis Massaro:
Get them out of the yard because start times were eight o’clock.

Chris:
Yeah.

Louis Massaro:
You have to get to the job by eight o’clock. So eight o’clock comes which is another little process. These are just like little things that if you could just make these little things on point, keep them on point and just keep stacking more of them, that’s when you start to have a great business, but eight o’clock, by 8:05, if I didn’t hear from them, chirp chirp, “Where are you guys at?”

Louis Massaro:
“Oh, we’re here.” “Oh, okay. What’s your start time then?” “Oh, we’ve been here since 8:00.” “Okay, great. Thanks.” I made sure that I got the start time from each and every one of them. I want to know when you’re loading, I want to know when you’re 30 minutes to an hour before unloading, so there was really a process for everything because, for me, it was the … I don’t know how I knew to do that, but it was the only way I knew how to keep everything from just feeling like it was so overwhelming and chaotic. I had to kind of pin it down and make it more predictable.

Chris:
When you found something that wasn’t working, before you were able to create a process or get a handle on it, did you feel like a failure? Did you feel like you weren’t running your business the way you should be? And how did you deal with that just personally, as the owner, were people looking at you going, “He doesn’t know what he’s doing.” That kind of stuff?

Louis Massaro:
Yeah. I mean, there was times where we had … When I did the office, I had the dispatch office, I got this first office, it was no carpet in the whole thing, but what I did was I first worked out of the front room, then I moved into a different room and cut a window out so that the movers would come into the lobby and come up to the window like a bank teller and I would deal with them through the window and past contracts and money and all that through the window.

Louis Massaro:
But there was times where something would happen and they’re all standing there just staring at you and you know that they’re thinking, “Oh, this guy doesn’t know what he’s doing.” This and that. It was stressful, man. It was stressful.

Louis Massaro:
I mean, and at the time, I was eating fast food three times a day. I wasn’t taking care of myself. I was working seven days a week, Sunday was my kind of off day, but we ran jobs on Sundays, I booked moves on Sundays, I just basically forwarded the phones to my cell phone and like went and did whatever.

Chris:
Worked from a different location.

Louis Massaro:
Yeah, yeah. Went to lunch and went to the mall and bought some new sneakers, that was the extent of my fun and excitement.

Chris:
Yeah.

Louis Massaro:
So no, I mean, I remember a time vividly, it was the end of the month, it was super busy and I was there by myself. My friend didn’t come yet. So it was within the first six months of being in business.

Louis Massaro:
I’m in the office on the floor in a ball waiting for trucks with such excruciating pain in my stomach where it felt like there was a knife, somebody was stabbing me in my stomach and I’m on the floor like, “All right, what’s your finish time? Do you have any packing?”

Louis Massaro:
Just trying to hold it together and it was so bad I never experienced anything like that and found out it was an ulcer from the food, the stress, it was just combined and so I needed to deal with that which at first was through medicine and then just kind of changing some of my habits, but I think the stress was mostly probably like, “I’m not good enough.” “Can I do this? Am I fooling myself? Can I really run a big …”

Louis Massaro:
I was pushing to grow it while at the same time, I believe that I could do it, but I also doubted I could do it.

Chris:
Yeah.

Louis Massaro:
You know what I mean?

Chris:
The voice in the back of your head.

Louis Massaro:
Yeah. There was that one on each shoulder. “Go get it. You can’t do this. Go get it. You can’t do this.”

Chris:
Oh, man. Now, would you say that failure is necessary? It’s a crucial part of it or is it possible to … I mean, now I know it is because of what we do. There’s a way to avoid a lot of these mistakes, but do you recommend that people, especially when they’re first starting out, do they accept a failure? Get used to failure? Or how do you deal with the failure in the beginning as opposed to how you dealt with it 10 years into it?

Louis Massaro:
Failure sucks, right? And it can happen on a daily basis. You might fail to book a move, you might book a move and then fail to service to move because somebody doesn’t show up. It’s like your company could fail. You could fail. You could fail to pay your bills that month.

Louis Massaro:
So because you have had failures doesn’t make you a failure. You’ve had failures and you’ll continue to have failures, but it doesn’t define you as a failure and …

Chris:
Did you always believe that?

Louis Massaro:
Apparently. I mean, I kept going. In my mind, I had this … In my mind, I’m like, “I know I’m going to make money, I’m going to make a million dollars in this business, I’m going to become a millionaire, I’m going to get this type of house, I’m going to have these type of cars, I’m going to live this type of life.”

Louis Massaro:
That was in my mind and everything else was kind of an obstacle in the way that just needed to be overcome and it started to become a game. It started to become a sport if you will that you get beat down and you’re not good at it at first.

Louis Massaro:
You’re like a little skinny kid and you try to start playing tackle football, you’re going to get beat down pretty hard and that’s how it was at the beginning, but as you keep going, you build strength, you learn techniques, you start to understand the rules of the game.

Louis Massaro:
Then you start to see exactly what it’s going to take to win the game and even though you know, “Okay, I need to do this, this, this and this.” You can’t physically get it all done right away.

Louis Massaro:
So a lot of my stress came from, I could see where I wanted to go, but then it was like, “There’s all this shit in my way that I need to deal with and you could only …” So it was like learning how to deal with that and learning how to manage yourself became the biggest ticket to moving on.

Louis Massaro:
And again, I really believe that having everything in order, structured processes, I mean, they were processes, right? I mean, they weren’t in writing yet, I didn’t call them standard operating procedures yet. I mean, I didn’t make up that term I mean, that’s what they’re called.

Louis Massaro:
And I didn’t formalize it, but there was still structure, there was still a way that things needed to be handled and I made sure of that.

Chris:
Yeah, yeah. Our guy, his question was about, “How were you able to have so much success at such a young age?” For someone in his position, what’s the advice you would give them as far as like where they should start? Should they start creating processes? Should they work on their personal organization and attitude and stuff like that? Where do they begin to find the success?

Louis Massaro:
Well, it really is a mindset first, right? And so for me, now I call, I say the millionaire … I had a millionaire mover mindset. I wasn’t necessarily calling it the millionaire mover mindset. I’ve kind of labeled that sense after looking at like, “What was the mindset that I had?”

Louis Massaro:
And I got that from looking at it and seeing people making millions of dollars in this business and believing that if they could do it, I could do it. So you’ve got to be able to believe that it’s possible, right?

Louis Massaro:
So like if you’re listening to this, if you’re watching this, it’s possible, right? I mean, the moving business is a great business. It’s possible to make that money, you just have to believe it and then you have to do what it takes and like now there’s I mean, listen … Somebody who’s listening to this podcast could take, going back and listen to all the episodes can take so much away from it.

Louis Massaro:
Somebody’s going to one of our seminars twice a year I mean. There’s tools to not have to go through it all again, right? But you first have to believe it because if you don’t believe it and you don’t have this vision beyond the obstacles, some reason for doing what you’re doing and it doesn’t really matter what that reason is.

Louis Massaro:
You don’t have to have some big purpose, “I’m doing this to save the world or whatever …” Your reason could be like, “Hey, I want to drive nice cars and impress some girls.” You know what I mean? I want a nice house, right?

Louis Massaro:
Whatever it is, you’ve got to see why you’re doing it so that you can move past all the obstacles in the way. That’s the first step. The next step is you’ve got to just … You’ve got to have a certain level of standard that things have to be, right? And realize that if you are the owner of the company and you’re the boss, you have to be that person that sets that tone that keeps that rigidity that says, “This is, it’s got to be this way.” Where everyone is going to want to fight you. All your employees are going to want to knock …

Chris:
Yeah, resist.

Louis Massaro:
Yeah, they want to resist, they don’t want to do it like that. They want to do it their way. They want to do it their way, but if you have a bunch of people doing everything their way, even if they have the best intentions, they’re all still going in different ways.

Chris:
Yeah.

Louis Massaro:
The best way to go is everybody in line going the same way. So other than that, how do you …

Chris:
How do you get everybody to fall in line?

Louis Massaro:
Well, let me just hit on this point.

Chris:
Yeah, yeah.

Louis Massaro:
Because he was asking what it takes how to be successful. The other thing is you’ve got to realize the critical components that go into running a moving company, and you have to get good at them. Lead generation starts there.

Louis Massaro:
You’ve got to be able to have the phone ring or people request an estimate or you don’t have any business, right? So you’ve got to get good at that. You can’t say, “I just want to run a moving company. I don’t want to deal with marketing. I don’t want to learn marketing, but the truth is, you’ve got to learn marketing.”

Louis Massaro:
You’ve got to be the best marketer in your company, right? You can’t, “I’m going to get a marketing company to do this and do that.” No, you’ve got to learn it yourself, right? Then once you generate the leads, you need to book moves.

Louis Massaro:
It’s a whole different ballgame now than it was when I first started. So there’s some pros and cons for each. When I first started, putting … Add the Yellow Pages and I sat back and answered the phone and just booked moves, I didn’t ask anybody for their information. I didn’t follow up with anybody.

Louis Massaro:
But there was just a lot of calls coming in. Now, it’s different. You get a lead from your website, you get a lead from a lead provider, they’re going and they’re talking to five different companies.

Louis Massaro:
You’ve got to have your sales process down. So my sales process at the beginning when I first started when I’m driving around, no office at the beginning, I would dispatch the trucks in the morning, then I would drive around from apartment complex to apartment complex just walking in at first with a company sweatshirt and an ugly ass business card, talking to them, giving it to them, “Hey, if you send me some moves, I’ll give you this or give you that.”

Louis Massaro:
I refined it later on, but at first, it was very basic. In between, driving around, my phone would ring. I’d pick up, somebody would want a quote for a move. Sure. I’d pull over to the side, I had my little three-ring binder where I have my script in there that I wrote out for myself.

Chris:
Wow.

Louis Massaro:
I would fine-tune the script. I would find myself going off the script because I’m reading it, but I felt like there was something better to say right there and I would fine-tune that script which I did for years until I finally came up with the script now that we have in our Moving Sales Academy Program and I had all … I started to write down all the objections that customers would have, all the reasons that they said they want to book with me now.

Louis Massaro:
I started to write those down and then I would write down what I’m going to say next time. All right, next time they say that, I’m going to say this, right? And I’m like, “Wow, they’re booking with me.” So my sales always was strong right from the beginning.

Louis Massaro:
You cannot build a successful moving company unless you’ve got a strong sales process period. Period. People say, “Louis, you came out with Moving Sales Academy, why not operations stuff? Why not all the other stuff that you now have?”

Louis Massaro:
I said, “Because the number one thing that would impact moving companies the most is setting up their sales process upfront.” Because otherwise, the lead generation that you do, it’s a total waste.

Louis Massaro:
If it comes in and you don’t have your follow up in order, you don’t have your script in order, you don’t have your rebuttals in order, you don’t have the way that you’re going to manage all of that lined up, you’re just going to be losing money.

Chris:
Yeah, down the drain.

Louis Massaro:
And then after that, it’s servicing moves, right? So these are the fundamentals. I mean, there’s really five fundamental areas of the business. You’ve got lead generation, booking moves, servicing move, so the ability to hire and get movers at your office to be able to put them on a truck to get them to the customer’s house.

Louis Massaro:
I know it sounds basic, but this is just a critical component at the beginning, then in this modern-day, you’ve got … The next step is create raving fans. Okay? Because if you don’t start, if you don’t have five-star reviews, if you don’t have a great online presence in 2020, you’re done.

Chris:
Yeah.

Louis Massaro:
You’re done. You’re spending a lot of money on marketing to get leads that are converting lower because when they check you out, you don’t have a good reputation and the fifth step is accounting and reporting.

Louis Massaro:
So for someone that is like, “Hey, I’m, anybody, I don’t …” What I’ve realized in the few years of doing this and working with companies is that everybody at every level has areas that they can improve. We’ve got areas we could improve from the business. It’s not…

Chris:
Yeah, definitely.

Louis Massaro:
We’re not immune to it. I mean, everybody and I always had areas I can improve in the moving company too. But if you take a look at just the five fundamentals of lead generation, booking move, servicing moves, create raving fans and then your accounting and reporting piece and you say, “Okay, how can I just tighten that up? How could I get that all in order and on point?”

Louis Massaro:
You’ll start to see your profits go up at whatever level you’re at in the business and you just keep repeating that, you’ll get the success you’re looking for.

Chris:
That’s great. That’s awesome. Well, yeah, I think we sort of answered this question. I mean, we got to it in a roundabout way, but …

Louis Massaro:
Did we not answer it? What’s the question exactly?

Chris:
Well, no. I guess he said, “How did you have so much success at such a young age?” I think maybe that’s where his…

Louis Massaro:
I was just young when I started.

Chris:
Yeah.

Louis Massaro:
That’s it. I mean, it’s not …

Chris:
But I mean, maybe he’s asking like … Maybe he’s 19 right now. Maybe he’s starting to rent a couple trucks or whatever. Is it an age thing? I mean, can anybody at any age become successful in the business or is there something special you did at 19 that you can’t do at 35?

Louis Massaro:
I mean, look, I didn’t have a family. Meaning, I didn’t have like a wife and kids like I do now. I don’t know that I could have put in those hours. The way I work then and the way I work now is completely different, but if I didn’t have the tools and have learned the lessons that I had learned between 19 and I’m 39, and I’m in a place where I’m very happy with my work-life situation because I’ve cultivated that over the years.

Louis Massaro:
But if I didn’t have those tools, and I was 39, and I had a wife and a young baby, and I needed to go make it happen. I will go make it happen again, period because you need to do what you need to do.

Louis Massaro:
So it’s like I could look at it and go, “Oh, I’ve got to work hard because I didn’t have anybody at home.” Okay, well, you know what? Even if I had somebody at home then, the first year and a half to two years that I really went hard, built momentum for a long time that lasted and I’m just, I’m not a believer.

Louis Massaro:
I’m too old, I’m too young. I come from this community, I come from this background, I come from this country. Everybody can have an excuse, I could have had an excuse. I was too young. I was too skinny.

Louis Massaro:
I think if we look at our perceived shortcomings, we could always find an excuse why not to start? But unless you’re 13 years old or you’re 85 years old, it might be challenging those two extremes to start.

Chris:
Yeah.

Louis Massaro:
But if you’re in your working years, I mean, you could start. I mean, and not even start. It’s more about go further. So right now, I’m thinking about him, let’s assume he’s 19. Next time let’s ask. Let’s get some more data next time. When they ask a question, just respond and say, “Hey, this is Chris.”

Chris:
Yeah, I’ll follow up, maybe get a little detail.

Louis Massaro:
Get some more details because I’d love to find out and be able to help them directly, but I think about somebody that’s 19 and I think about somebody that’s maybe like 55 that owns a moving company, that’s just kind of, they’re like, “Man, I’m just going to coast.”

Louis Massaro:
I’ve had this company for 30 years and things are so different now and things are so challenging now and I’m just going to coast. All it takes is a few good years to get yourself on track to significantly make more money, reduce your stress, create yourself a model business that if you’re at that later stage of your career, “It’s time to set that shit up.”

Louis Massaro:
Don’t wait until you’re in a position where you just can’t work anymore and you have a business now that’s worth nothing, right? Tell yourself I’m going to spend the next three to five years getting this thing so in order that when I’m done, I could sell it and I could walk away.

Louis Massaro:
There’s no excuse. Our own worst enemy is us. If you want to know your own worst enemy, just look in the mirror, right? It’s all perceived things that we tell ourselves, “I can’t do this. What about that?” It’s all fear.

Louis Massaro:
And learning how to overcome that is something that everybody should be on that journey too. Don’t just master your business, master your mind.

Chris:
Right.

Louis Massaro:
Right? Which again, mastery is not … It’s a journey. Right? I haven’t mastered my business, I haven’t mastered my mind, but I’m a lot further than I was if I didn’t make that decision to do so.

Louis Massaro:
So wherever he’s at. you’ve got to take the steps, right? People want the success, but they don’t want to do the work.

Chris:
Yeah.

Louis Massaro:
They don’t want to do the work or they want the shortcut, right? The shortcut is finding out information of someone that’s been there before, has done it and be able to at least have the map of where to go, but you still got to do the miles, you’ve still got to put in the work no matter what.

Louis Massaro:
So and there will be times where it’s challenging. There will be times where you want to quit. There will be times where it doesn’t seem like you’re going to get out of whatever predicament you’re in and you’ve just got to believe that you will and just keep going.

Chris:
Yeah, you have that same unstoppable drive that whether you’re 19 or you’re 55, like you said, that’s it.

Louis Massaro:
That’s it. Every problem is a solvable problem.

Chris:
Yeah.

Louis Massaro:
Every obstacle can be overcome and it’s that … I think what trips a lot of people up is they want it to be a certain way, they want it to be perfect and when it’s not perfect or when the employee doesn’t do it exactly how they want to do it or when the move goes not as planned, or the customer is a pain in the ass, or whatever, you just got to know that stuff is going to happen.

Louis Massaro:
Every time something bad happened in my company, and somebody would freak out and this was first me having to tell myself this. It’s like, “It’s going to happen again.” Truck blows over on the highway, ruins the whole shipment. I’m like, “You know what? It will probably happen again someday. So let me not be surprised.”

Louis Massaro:
You just got to … There’s things that are going to happen in business. They’re not going to always be good, right? And you just got to move past them. That’s it, fix it and move on.

Chris:
Yeah. Fail forward.

Louis Massaro:
Yeah.

Chris:
Yeah, awesome, good. Well, I hope that helps. Young guys out there, that’s how you do it.

Louis Massaro:
And old guys and young ladies and old ladies and everybody in between.

Chris:
That’s right. That’s great. Well, thanks for filling us in on that. I mean, I feel like there’s so much to learn about the moving business and about the processes and everything that you … The journey you’ve been on, but in the end, you end up learning about yourself.

Louis Massaro:
I think this is the best business for that. I think if you … I know just coming up in the business, just people that I knew that had other companies or partners, I’m going to get out of this business someday, I’m going to do something else. Great.

Louis Massaro:
This will prepare you for something else. Everybody is always looking for that glamorous thing to do. A moving business isn’t glamorous. There’s nothing glamorous about it, but it’s a way for you to provide a service to the community and make money, what’s wrong with that?

Louis Massaro:
And if it’s something that you have a … You want to go be an architect one day or you want to open up a bar, you want to be a musician or whatever and something else that you have, this is what’s in front of you right now, go make money with this, set up a model business and sell it.

Louis Massaro:
I mean, give yourself that head start, spend the next three years, five years just really putting it in, really dialing it in and then sell the thing, cash out, and go do whatever it is you want to do, but don’t waste the precious time that’s in front of you with something that is essentially such a great business because no matter what happens, people always need to move.

Chris:
Yeah, right. It’s part of life.

Louis Massaro:
It’s part of life.

Chris:
And we’re happy to help them out.

Louis Massaro:
Yup.

Chris:
Good. Well, anything else you’d like to add?

Louis Massaro:
That’s it. So we will … We’ll see you on the next episode. Listen, do me a favor, if you like this podcast, if you like this particular episode, go to iTunes, iTunes podcast. Give me a rating on there, give me a comment, let me know what you think, let me know what you like about it.

Louis Massaro:
If you didn’t like something about it, let me know as well and go find me on Instagram. It’s @louismassaro, that’s @L-O-U-I-S M-A-S-S-A-R-O. Take a screenshot of you listening to this, take a picture of you watching the video, send it to me, if you’ve got questions that you want us to feature on the podcast, just DM me in Instagram and we’ll try to get it in as soon as possible.

Louis Massaro:
My goal is to help each and every person in this business get away from the struggle, be able to scale their business without the uncertainty, without the stress, be able to make more money, have a smoother running business and live a better quality of life. So I hope that I was able to do that for you in this episode. My friend Chris, thanks for being here.

Chris:
Yeah, my pleasure.

Louis Massaro:
And we will see you guys next time, go out there every single day profiting your business and thriving your life.

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