In this episode, Louis Massaro shares his process for how to hire movers for your moving company.
- “What we’re doing right now is we’re taking hiring movers, something that seems so complex and so challenging and so tough, and we’re just breaking it down to a process, that once you set it up, just runs, in your company, and makes it easier.”
- “The better the mover hiring process, the less decision-making needs to happen every single step of the way. And who makes the decisions? You make the decisions. When everything that happens in the company requires a decision that has to come to you? Handcuffs. You’re not going anywhere. No free time, no fun. The mover hiring process sets you free.”
- “When I was still in the truck rental yard, I had such a problem with movers. I mean, part of it was, they showed up, they saw this young kid working out of his car and it was like a joke. Back then I had a Mercury Mountaineer SUV, drove down to Graebel, “Go get them.” I said. He came out with more guys than we could even fit in the car.”
- “Does everybody see how this can be helpful for hiring movers, to just run them through this process? Okay. No more just placing an ad and going, “It didn’t work.” You need to get these movers because when you start to increase your sales, if you have no movers, the sales are useless.”
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Who’s got problems hiring movers right now, or this summer? Okay.
First of all, we need to talk about the qualities and skills that we’re looking for, movers skills. Lumping, right? Almost anybody could do that. Right? They just have the skill to lump.
Loading; it’s a different skillset. It takes a little more experience. Packing. Assembling, disassembling, reassembling. Inventorying; I know that’s not a word, but I had to keep with the theme, right? They know how to go in and do an inventory, for storage jobs or for long distance jobs.
Padding; wrapping furniture. Estimating, that’s another skillset. If you’re given any type of flat rates or any type of binding estimates or anything like that, you need to be able to have movers that go out there and look at the inventory that you have, either on your tablet, or on your bill of lading or your sheet, whatever you’re giving them with the inventory, and before they start the job, take a look at what the body of work is and make sure it matches so that if there needs to be a revision to the job, it’s done ahead of time. But if they don’t know how to estimate, they can’t do that.
Now, if you’re just doing hourly-rated moves, you don’t need somebody with that skillset. But if you’re doing flat rates, if you’re doing binding, you need somebody with that skillset. Crating; are they able to take this chandelier down and crate it? For us, we outsource that. I don’t think I ever… In all my offices, I had one person that was good at that. But it’s a skillset. Driving, and communicating. Other than blatantly damaging stuff, the biggest customer service problems come from just pure… I forgot the word I’m looking for.
Poor communication. It’s like I’m trying to communicate and it’s not coming out, poor communication. I just manifested poor communication by saying that.
Those are skills, right? Those are skills. But we also have qualities, because just because they have the skills doesn’t mean you want them working for you. They’re respectful, good hygiene, right? Helpful, cooperative, team player; nobody’s sending out one-man crews, right, to do moves. So, team player. Physically capable; they don’t have to be jacked. They just have to be physically capable to move stuff. As long as they’re able-bodied they could do it, they’re physically capable. They make the cut.
Reliable; I’m not even going to ask for a show of hands, because I’m not going to waste them on something like this. How many people have movers not show up in the morning? I know it’s everybody in the room. I’ll save your shoulder. And they’re coachable. A lot of movers, they know it all. If you can’t coach them and you can’t work with them, you kind of know, you step off, and then you can’t make any corrections that you need.
So you’ve got qualities and you’ve got skills. What we’re doing right now is we’re taking something that seems so complex and so challenging and so tough, and we’re just breaking it down to a process, that once you set it up, just runs, in your company, and makes it easier. The better the process, the less decision-making needs to happen every single step of the way. And who makes the decisions? You make the decisions. When everything that happens in the company requires a decision that has to come to you? Handcuffs. You’re not going anywhere. No free time, no fun. The processes set you free.
Type one. These are the four types of movers, the four types of applicants you’re going to get. They’re experienced, they’ve got the skills and they’ve got good qualities. You know they can load, they can pack. They’re respectful, they’ve got good hygiene, they’re coachable.
Type two; inexperienced. Good qualities, but they’re eager to learn. They’ve never moved before. They’ve got good qualities: they’re physically capable, they’re respectful, they’re coachable, and they’re eager to learn.
Type three; they’re experienced, but bad qualities. They are the master mover, but as a person they’re a scumbag. Anybody got some of those, or been around? Okay. We stay with them because we’re like, oh, we need them, they know how to do it.
Type four; inexperienced. They’ve got good qualities; you interview them. They’re like, “I don’t know how to move”. They seemed like a good person, but they’re like, “I don’t really want to learn how to do this.” They’re not eager to learn.
So those, as you get applicants, really, the first step is you want to determine, which bucket do they fall in? They’re one of these four. If they’re one, hire them. That’s what you want, all day. Type one, all day.
If they’re two, hire them and train them. It’s going to be very, very difficult to broaden your labor pool if you’re only looking for movers that have moving experience. It’s going to be very challenging.
What you’re going to end up with is a lot of type threes, which, you know what? Add them to your mover database. You should keep a mover database of all the applicants that ever apply for your company and anybody that’s ever worked for your company. You could do it as simple as having a spreadsheet, or you could do it in your CRM. As simple as having a spreadsheet where you have a column, they’re a driver. What type are they? They can only work weekends. This is how much money they need to get paid minimum. Maybe you don’t hire them, is what I’m getting at. People come across.
But summertime, it’s the end of the month, it’s busy. You were like, “Man, we’re turning down business.” You go in the database, which you connect to your email, you connect to text messages, and you blast out emails and texts: looking for guys for this weekend, we’ll pay at the end of the weekend; whatever your incentive is to get them to come work.
When you have that database, you can treat that… Those are leads. Remember, you need leads to book moves, opportunities to book moves, but then you also have to pull this other piece together where you’ve got to get guys on a truck to go service the move. So if we’re nurturing leads that come in, let’s nurture the applicants that come in as well. Let’s keep them in a mover database.
Even if you don’t use it for the next year, until next summer. How nice would it be next summer when you’re in a jam, if you’ve got a few hundred people on a sheet that you could upload into something and text message all of them: hey, we’re looking for guys. If you can work, we’re paying $250 referral fee, call me at this number or send an email. It’s powerful, mover database.
Inexperienced, good qualities, not eager to learn? Keep looking. Don’t waste your time. Whoever’s doing this, the filtration here, it becomes very easy for them, right? You’re not telling your team or your dispatch or your ops manager, “Hey, if they’re a good guy and they got experience…” It’s too vague. Put them in one of these buckets, and then make the decision accordingly.
So then we have to mover hiring process. How does it start, how does it finish? You’ve got recruiting, application, interview, rotation. Recruiting, application, interview, rotation.
Recruiting; an employment ad, still the best way to do it. You’re going to have to place a lot of them. Somebody’s like, “I put an ad on Craigslist.” “How many?” “One.” We really need movers. Okay, try five. When you place an ad on Craigslist, you guys probably know this already, but when you place the ad and someone else places an ad, it pushes yours down and just keeps going down like that. When you’re in hiring mode and you need people, get aggressive with that. I know it costs money, but what costs more money? That, or losing jobs that you could book? Or paying for leads to book moves, to then be told by operations, no more moves. You want this thing flowing. You never want to stop booking moves, never. We’ll talk about that Sunday.
Referrals. Your mover database. People that work for you already, offer some money: if they refer someone to you, it stays for 90 days. What’s that worth to you? A hundred bucks, $500? Community outreach. Colleges, churches or wherever you worship. They’ve always got somebody there, the pastor or whoever, has got somebody that is down on their luck. “I’ll do anything, I’m willing to work. I’m a good person.” Talk to them. See who they have.
Application. So you get your recruiting going. And by the way, with recruiting, you could also do social media, you could also run ads, like on Facebook and stuff like that, and target a certain demographic. However, to me, that’s either an add-on that you add on to a strong process, or it’s a hack. It’s a dabbler tool. It’s the person that says, “No, it doesn’t work to put an ad, because I put one and nobody showed up.” Let me try this, I got to be in social media, let me try this. Not to say it’s bad, but that’s the type of thing that you add on top of an existing process just to enhance it. It doesn’t replace a real, proven process.
Have all these people go to an application on your website. So if you have a web form that is, get a free estimate type of thing, think about that. But on a page where they’re just filling out their application, on the website, it comes directly into your CRM, it comes directly into an email. This way you have that. Now if you guys have been in Moving Sales Academy and you know I’m like, no, no applications, have them call? This is different. A mover is different; you want to see the application. It’s not about how they sound on the phone, it doesn’t matter how they sound on the phone. Get the application.
Then have somebody qualify the application. You’ll try to determine which type of mover and the quadrant they are. You’re not going to be able to fully know, but you could probably eliminate some applications right off the bat and then put them in your mover database. Whether you’re hiring them or you’re not hiring them, get them in the mover database. It’s a powerful tool when you’re ready for it, which is in those moments where you’re like, “I need movers.” You send out a text, send out an email, or start calling people down the list.
My mover database started off as a piece of paper with coffee stains and fingerprints and dirt all over it, taped to the side of the dispatch desk, years ago. Right, who has that? All right, well, it’d be nice to sort, do certain things and be able to actually use some technology to make it a little bit easier. You need the mover database.
Then, interview. Call them up, do a phone interview. If they sound promising, bring them in for an in-person interview.
And then, skill evaluation. What this means is, you’ve interviewed them over the phone. You’ve brought them in, you’ve done an interview, you’ve gone through your interview questions. You’re asking them about their experience. If they’re like, “Yeah, I’m this and I’m that, and I worked here and I did that. Yeah, I could load, yeah, I could crate. Yeah, I could do all this.” Okay, cool. Interview, right.
Then you grab a chair, you grab a pad, right there on the spot in your office, so have them pad the chair. If they take the pad and throw it over the chair, and they told you they were “like an expert mover”, and they didn’t lay the pad down and then put the chair on it? You know. It doesn’t mean you don’t hire them, but now you’re going to have to train this person. There’s a difference. You have a credenza or whatever’s in the office. Right? You don’t need to bring in a whole big mock home, but put a dresser there, or even a piece of your desk; have them pad that.
What questions are they asking? Are they saying, “Do you have any tape or rubber bands? Do you want me to shrink wrap this?” Right? How are they folding it? That way you know what you’re working with, right, because some people you don’t have to waste any time training them. But other people, they’re a good person, they’re eager to work, and they’re eager to learn, but they’re also in a job interview. People lie in job interviews: they need a job. Don’t look at anybody and go, “They lie”, they’re dead to me. They’re going to steal; they’re going to be the worst person. If they were like, “Yeah, I got experience.” It’s just that they’re thinking, how hard is it, moving furniture? I’ve moved before. Right? It just puts you in a position to know what you’re working with. Do I need to get them in training or can they go right out on the truck?
Now you want to get them in the rotation. Because what’s another big concern? You hire too many movers, and how do you get them in the rotation when you have other guys that want the hours?
Well, first, assign a mover mentor. Even if you can start with one, if that one has to be you, okay, but eventually you’ll have multiple mover mentors. Instead of making them a trainer, or let’s say you don’t have a full-on training program and you don’t want to do this whole week-long thing and you’re ready to get them out there. You take one of your best guys and say, “Listen. I’d really like your help to help me bring on and mentor new movers.” Not train; when you give somebody the mentor label, it feels a little, “Oh yeah, I’m a mentor”, right? It’s different than, “I’m a trainer.” They feel a different level of significance. Now, when this new person goes with the mentor, it’s established, this is your mentor. They’re going to show you the ropes, they’re going to show you how things are done. The mentor knows what they need to show the trainee.
Now, even in the truck, on the drive to the job, the mentor is like, “This is what we do, this is how we do it”, kind of laying the groundwork. The mentee knows that they need to “pass this test”, if you will, in order to get hired on. Now, know that, when you first try, you might give somebody such a big head that they’re just like an asshole, right? They’re a mentor all of a sudden and now they’re just like, “Do this, do that. Shine my shoes.” Right? You just might have to reel them in a little bit. You start giving people a position of power that have never been in a position of power, and they might not take it gracefully. But again, don’t rule them out. Mentor them. Coach them. I built my entire business on taking people that had a certain basic skillset, and coaching them and mentoring them to keep rising up within the company. Keep rising up within the company.
Then, on-the-job training. I know some of you might disagree with this, but I’m sending someone on a job, I’m never sending an extra person. If it’s a three-man job, I’m not sending the customer four. Maybe if it’s a flat rate, maybe, but I’m not sending the customer four on an hourly-rated job and saying, “They’re in training, we’re giving them to you for free.” Doesn’t take much to lump, right? You don’t have to do a full-on training, but send three; let the trainee be one of the three, and collect for three men. Even your experienced guys break shit. You don’t not charge for them.
I know some people disagree and they’re like, no, if they’re training, I want to be… The customer doesn’t need to know it’s their first day on the job. They want people to move them, and as long as there’s somebody there that’s loading and packing and doing all the padding, you could get somebody up to speed really quick that’s eager to learn. Remember, they’re eager to learn. You didn’t just pick them up in the Home Depot parking lot, like “Hey, you want to work today? Get in.” Right?
There’s nothing wrong with that, if it comes down to it. When I first, when I was still in the truck rental yard, I had such a problem with movers. I mean, part of it was, they showed up, they saw this young kid working out of his car and it was like a joke. One of them was like, “Hey man, I know Graebel. They got all these…” Their headquarters was in Denver. “They got a whole cafeteria where all the lumpers just hang out.” “Yeah? Let’s go. Get in.” Had a Mercury Mountaineer SUV, drove down to Graebel, “Go get them.” Went inside, came out with more guys than we could even fit in the car; they were in the cargo area. I don’t know how many were in there, but if we got pulled over, it was going to look like I was smuggling people into the country. So you do what you have to do, but if you know they’re eager to learn, I would get paid while they’re on the job.
Then, you rotate out your C team, right? You want to establish an A team, a B team and a C team. You don’t have to tell them, like, “You’re a C team, you’re a B team, you’re an A team.” It’s an internal thing. Unless, you have a really good succession plan where you clearly lay out how you move from C to B to A. If you have that laid out, then I think it is good for someone to know where they stand, but they need to know, how do I move up, specifically? What do I need to do? Unless you have that, A team, B team, C team is internal.
A team, those are the guys you wish you could have them on every single job. B team? Yeah, okay. C team, you’re nervous when they go out. You’re waiting for a phone call, right? It’s like extreme measures that you’re sending them out. What you do is, you just start rotating them out. You don’t have to fire them. “No, I don’t need you today. I don’t need you.” You’ve got to get them in the rotation. I know it’s one of the toughest things to do when you’ve got… If any of you’ve ever had grown men crying to you that they need hours, who’s ever had that? It’s tough. Don’t drag somebody through the mud, but you also can’t take people with you that aren’t helping your company. Rotate out the C team.
Does everybody see how this can be helpful to our movers, to just run them through this process? Okay. No more just placing an ad and going, “It didn’t work.” You need to get these movers because we’re also going to increase your sales this weekend. No movers, the sales are useless.