Can Movers Help You With Other Stuff Besides Moving?

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If you thought moving companies do nothing but put all your stuff on a big truck, you’d be right—if you were living sometime in the distant past.

Today’s moving companies are constantly expanding their range of services and offering them all à la carte. That half-job or heavy lifting you need help with? Sure, you can try begging and bribing your friends, or you can call up a few movers in your area. You might be surprised at what they can help you with.

So What Else, Exactly, Can Movers Help With?

More than you can probably imagine. Heck, you don’t even need to be moving to have them give you a hand! More and more, people are turning to moving companies for all kinds of tasks too big to tackle alone. Movers make great day laborers, for things like:

Clearing out your garage or basement

  • Having a couple of sets of hands to move stuff while you figure out whether it goes to the curb or your cousin’s house or back into the garage can save you an entire weekend (if your garage looks anything like mine)
  • This also applies to attics, sheds, or anywhere

Hauling individual furniture from Point A to Point B

  • From your house to the curb; from your bedroom to the basement; to that cousin’s house; to the municipal trash dump; to your local secondhand store or consignment shop

Moving everything out of the room you are repainting or remodeling 

  • And then moving it back when you are done

Hauling stuff to your home from the furniture store

  • Or from your second cousin’s house, or from the garage of the guy selling that big beautiful piano on craigslist

Movers can (and often will) also take care of those jobs tangential to a move:

Even if you’ve managed to tackle your entire move on your own, you may be left with a mountain of unwanted cardboard boxes and unusable packing paper that you just don’t want to deal with. Movers, however, see gold in those mountains. So try giving them a call.

Protip: Most movers tend to charge for a minimum of two hours of labor, due to scheduling their business hours. This is not by any means a hard and fast rule, but make sure you ask before you book your help.

Can I hire movers to JUST help me load and unload my U-Haul?

You betcha!

Renting a truck or a moving container and hiring moving labor for all the heavy lifting is a huge trend—and for good reason. You save a ton of money by renting your own truck, and you save your back by hiring movers.

À la carte movers often:

  • Bring all the equipment
  • Have all the knowledge necessary to do the job right
  • Pack stuff you need packed, wrap stuff you need to be wrapped
  • Load it all up safely and securely

You drive your U-Haul (or Penske or Budget), or have your portable container delivered, and a fresh crew of movers unloads everything at your new home. This is what we call a Hybrid Move. As far as moving goes, it’s the best of both worlds. And it’s what HireAHelper movers do best.

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Protip: If you are moving locally, your movers may be able to rent you moving blankets for a small fee. But if you are moving out of the area, you might be able to rent them from your rental truck company. You may, however, have to buy them. Just please don’t move without them!

Can my movers do my entire move?

Yes, of course. Your traditional Full Service moving company will handle the whole moving enchilada if that is what you want, including packing up your entire home, right down to your last box of biscuits. This is the easiest way to move. It is also by far the most expensive.

Movers Know Best

Of course, we can’t tell you what’s best for you. But we can say with total confidence that movers know how to best handle your stuff. Whether it’s a single item job or a few pieces of heavy furniture; whether you’re moving one room or one door down or one hundred miles away; whether you need loading help, unloading help, or both, hiring moving labor is the best and most economical way to make sure your belongings are taken care of.

If you’re not sure what to do, that’s cool. Calling a mover and asking a few questions costs nothing. And it could end up saving you a lot.


Illustrations by Rob Wadleigh

How Often Should You Clean These 20 Household Items?

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Cleaning the house is one of those things that most people just don’t like to do. Getting out the rubber gloves, smelling all of the chemicals and spot cleaning with a toothbrush isn’t exactly the most appealing activity.

However, different areas in your house can be a breeding ground for bacteria, mold and fungus. Places you didn’t know were hazardous like your kitchen and bathroom sinks can become some of the most disgusting places.

So how often, exactly, should you clean each area of the home? We’ve got your answers!

 

[SEE FULL INFOGRAPHIC]

 

How Often Should You Clean Your Living Room

Living Rooms

Your living rooms are naturally some of the cleanest parts of the home. However, we can track dirt in or kids and pets can make spills, so it’s best to keep up with this area fairly often. Here’s how often you should clean things in your living room.

Carpet

Once a week: Your carpet is a place where dust, dirt and allergens tend to hide. Giving your floors a weekly clean with a good-quality vacuum cleaner is super important. In places with constant foot traffic, you may want to vacuum more than once a week.

Protip: If you need to spot clean a stain, you can mix a teaspoon of liquid dish detergent with a quart of warm water and ¼ teaspoon of white vinegar. Apply this mixture on the spot and then rinse and blot dry!

Couch

Once every two weeks: Most people don’t realize how much dirt, dust, fur and oils your furniture absorbs. It can host allergens and other nasty things if left unattended. Regular cleaning can help extend the life of your furniture, which means a surface cleaning every couple of weeks using the upholstery attachment on your vacuum.

Protip: You should also plan to have a professional clean the upholstery about once a year, depending on how much you use the piece of furniture. If you develop a stain in between cleanings, put your iron on the “steam” setting and wave it back and forth over the problem spot.

Windows and Blinds

Once a month: The windows and blinds in your house can accumulate dust and dirt. To keep the mess at bay, you should try to wipe down your windows and blinds at least once a month.

Protip: When cleaning your blinds, you can use an old sock dipped in a 50/50 solution of vinegar and water. Stick your hand inside the sock and swipe it over each blind for a quick and easy clean.

Ceiling Fans

Once a month: Have you ever had dust accumulate on the blades of your ceiling fan? Since it’s so high up, many people forget that it’s up there until the dust bunnies have already taken over. To prevent the dust buildup, dust the top of your blinds once a week.

Protip: You can prevent the dust from falling everywhere if you use a pillowcase to dust your fan blades. Simply slide each fan blade into the pillowcase and enclose the case around it, then slide it off. The dust will stay inside the pillowcase and you can easily throw it in the wash when you’re done!

Baseboards

Once a month: Your baseboards can collect dust and dirt, but most homeowners don’t see cleaning the baseboards as a priority. If you keep up with cleaning them once a month the task won’t be too time-consuming.

Protip: Use the brush attachment on your vacuum to swipe the top edge where the dust settles. If there are scuffs or spills, wipe them away with an erasing sponge.

How Often Should You Clean Your Bedrooms

Bedrooms

Your bedroom may accumulate more germs than you realize. Since you spend a good amount of time here (approximately one-third of your life), it tends to accumulate germs. How often exactly should you clean your sleeping quarters? We explain here.

Bed Linens

Once a week: Bed sheets can accumulate a serious collection of sweat, body oils, dirt from outside and more. When they get too dirty they can become a breeding ground for bacteria and fungi. Those are not things you want sharing a bed with you! While most people wash their sheets only every four weeks, experts recommend washing them once a week.

Protip: If you have white sheets, toss a squeeze of lemon juice in the washer. It’s a natural brightener without the chemicals in bleach products.

Duvet Cover

Once a month: If you use a top sheet you can get away with washing your duvet cover once a month. If you don’t, you may want to wash it every two weeks just to be safe. Like pillows and bed linens, duvet covers can be a breeding ground for bacteria, fungus and dust mites.

Protip: Changing a duvet cover is on most people’s list of top annoying things, but did you know there is a simple hack to make the job easier? Use the burrito method for an easy switcharoo. Turn your duvet cover inside out and place comforter on top. Roll it up, tuck it in, and unroll it—it’s magically on!

Bed Pillows

Every three months: While you should be washing your sheets (and pillowcases) once a week, you should be washing the pillows themselves once every three months. Pillows can play host to critters and debris like dirt, oil, skin cells and even dust mites.

Protip: Most down-alternative pillows can go in the washing machine, while feather pillows need to be dry cleaned. Buy down-alternative to ensure cleaning is easy and frequent.

Mattress

Every three months: Your mattress is another thing that can accumulate sweat, dust, dust mites and allergens quite easily. To keep the bacteria and fungi at bay, clean your mattress with the seasons. You can use the upholstery attachment to vacuum the mattress, and clean its cover (if it has one).

Protip: Spot clean oil stains or food spills with a mix of baking soda, salt and water. Cover the stain, let it sit for 30 minutes then wipe it away with a damp cloth.

Closets

Twice a year: It’s usually a best practice to do a full-closet cleaning and purge twice a year. While it can seem like a daunting task, having a clean closet full of clothes you actually wear can be a game changer for your morning routine.

Protip: When purging, keep basic, classic items and toss anything trendy you haven’t worn in over a year. You can also ditch duplicate items or things you don’t feel comfortable in. Your closet should be full of only things that make you happy!

How Often Should You Clean Your Bathroom

Bathrooms

We all know the bathrooms can get pretty gross, but most people probably still don’t clean them as often as they should. Things like bath towels and bath mats can accumulate mold, while your toilet and sink can be a bacteria breeding ground. Here’s how often you should clean the things in your bathroom.

Toilet

Every day: Toilets have a reputation for being the dirtiest place in the house, but the average toilet is cleaner than you think. To make sure your toilet stays sanitary, it’s best to give it a light clean every day, then give it a deep clean once a week.

Protip: Want to keep toilet stains at bay? Pour vinegar in the top of your toilet and let that sit while you spray vinegar around the seat and clean.

Bathroom Sinks

Every day: Did you know that your bathroom sink is even dirtier than your toilet seat? The bacteria travel from your hands onto the sink every time you wash your hands, so it’s incredibly important to disinfect your bathroom sinks every day.

Protip: You can use disposable disinfecting wipes daily to make sure the area stays sanitized. It’s easy, and you can throw the whole mess away afterward!

Bath Towels

Every three or four uses: Towels are tricky, because the more you use them, the more often you will need to change them. If you take more than one shower a day, or if you have multiple family members using a towel, it may need to be cleaned once every couple of days.

Protip: On the other hand, if you’re the only one using it and you shower at the gym three times a week, you may be able to get away with washing it weekly. Be sure to wash your towels in water that is at least 140 degrees Fahrenheit (60 degrees Celsius) so that you kill all of the bacteria that’s inevitably breeding them.

Shower Grout

Once a week: Your grout can be one of the most annoying things to clean in your bathroom. However, it can also make the most impact on how clean your bathroom looks. Nobody likes a shower with dirty grout, so keep up with cleaning it weekly.

Protip: To clean, dip a toothbrush in bleach and scrub any discolored areas. Every once in a while you will need to seal your grout so that water and mold can’t seep in.

Bath Mats

Once a month: Bath mats that have rubber backing can wear out faster if they are washed more than once a month. However, mats that don’t have a rubber backing, or that are in a frequently used or extra-dirty space like the kids’ bathroom can be washed more often.

Protip: If a rug doesn’t have time to dry out it can harbor all kinds of mold and fungi. To kill all signs of life, wash the rug on high heat. Rugs with rubber backing should be air-dried.

How Often Should You Clean Your Kitchen

Kitchens

Believe it or not, your kitchen is the dirtiest place in your house. This is pretty unsettling considering we cook our food here. But, that’s precisely why it’s so dirty! Germs like e.coli can stick on cutting boards, hide in your fridge and set up camp in your sink. Here’s how often you’ll need to clean to maintain a safe and sanitary cooking environment.

Kitchen Counters/Sink

Every day: The kitchen sink and counters can be another place that germs accumulate. Since you’re often cutting meat and dealing with food products, the kitchen sink can actually end up being one of the dirtiest places in the whole house.

Protip: To keep your eating area sanitary, use one tablespoon bleach in one quart of water and spray down the sink daily. You can also use disposable disinfecting wipes here.

Sponges

Every week: Unfortunately, the trend is to keep your kitchen sponges until they smell and fall apart. Letting them get this bad means that they’re teeming with bacteria, funguses and things that can potentially make you sick. You should be cleaning your sponge weekly, and replacing them every two to three weeks.

Protip: For their weekly cleanings, mix ¾ cups bleach in one gallon of water and let your sponges soak for several minutes. Then just rinse and you’re done!

Oven

Once a month: Many people think that cleaning their oven is something to save for a special occasion, but the longer you wait to clean it, the harder it will be. Keeping up with monthly cleanings is the best way to make sure your oven stays in good working order.

Protip: A trick to making the process easier is to put a bowl of water in the oven and turn it up to high for 20 minutes. This will help loosen some of the dried dirt and grease. Then, wait for the oven to cool before wiping it clean!

Dishwasher

Once a month: Most people don’t realize that their dishwasher can accumulate all sorts of gunk and grime. It cleans the dishes you eat off of so you will want to make sure you give it a routine cleaning once a month (and a deep cleaning once or twice a year).

Protip: Place a cup of vinegar inside the dishwasher and run it on a hot water cycle. This is a great way to routinely clean your dishwasher and keep it in tip-top shape.

Refrigerator

Four times a year: A clean fridge is a safe fridge, yet nobody likes to deep clean it. While it’s best to give it a wipe down daily, you should only need to give it a deep clean about four times a year.

Protip: When you’re getting ready to clean the fridge, purge it of any ingredients that are past their “use by” date. Remove and soak the drawers in warm water while you wipe down the rest of the fridge. It’s best to work in sections so that all of your food doesn’t get too warm!

How Often Should You Clean These Household Items

The Furniture Dolly: How To Move Heavy Furniture

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How do you move large pieces of furniture? It’s a question we hear all the time. It’s a daunting prospect, having to haul heavy, bulky items like dressers, bookcases and entertainment units from your house to your moving vehicle. 

Fortunately, there are several ways to do it safely.

The Furniture Dolly

At first glance, a furniture dolly is not very impressive. It’s just a rectangle on wheels. Barely six inches tall. No handles. No straps. Most likely made of wood and sporting a curious inability to roll straight when given a push.

But don’t let its modest appearance fool you. A furniture dolly can help you move just about anything you can put on it, making it your best back-saving friend when it comes time to move.

Is It Safe to Put Furniture on a Furniture Dolly?

You bet! A good quality furniture dolly can handle upwards of a thousand pounds – more than most people need, and certainly, more than most people can lift. (No matter how many friends they’ve gotten to come help.) Even a less-expensive dolly can handle a few hundred pounds. Just be sure to check the specs before you bring it home and put it to work.

Can a Furniture Dolly Move Tall Things Like Bookcases or Long Sofas?

The simplicity of a furniture dolly makes it versatile enough for items of just about every shape and size, and is great for hauling stacks of boxes too! Long chest of drawers? Tall china hutch? Bulky, heavy armoire? That little 4-wheeler (as many movers call it) can handle it all and then some, allowing you to move your stuff over long distances with minimal effort and strain.

How Much Is a Furniture Dolly?

Want one to own? A furniture dolly usually costs somewhere between $20-40, varying slightly depending on how many hundreds of pounds they can hold. (Usually starting around 800 pounds.)

Just need to rent one? If you’re renting a moving truck, often times rental truck companies offer furniture dollies for about $7.

Department stores like Home Depot tend to have them for around the same $7-10 mark. Or if you’re hiring movers, they usually provide tools such as furniture dollies free of charge that they themselves use to move your stuff.

Is a Furniture Dolly Easy to Use?

It’s totally safe and simple to utilize … but only if you know how to use it. Make sense? Cool! Here’s how to use a furniture dolly.

The Basics of How to Load 

Putting a piece of furniture on a furniture dolly is just that: putting it on. Carefully lift a piece of furniture up and place it to where the furniture dolly is located on the center-most flat surface of the furniture. 

But it’s more complicated than just that.

Sure, some items can sit on a dolly the same way they sit on the floor. As long as there’s a flat bottom surface that can support the weight of the item there’s no need to lower it onto its side or tip it onto its back or turn it completely on its head.

But other times, you’ll need to load the furniture a different way. Here are the most important things to know.

  • Map out your exit route to where you are loading it. This is a major mistake waiting to happen. If you aren’t going to be able to angle that long dresser into a hallway, there’s no sense in sitting it horizontally. Likewise, if your armoire just barely clears the top of the doorway, you probably won’t get it through on a dolly. 
  • Safely figure out which side of that piece of furniture you’ll put downside. This is what the pros follow: sit tall items like bookcases and armoires on their sides, and long items like dressers upside down. If it has legs or a hollow underside, it won’t rest properly sitting upright. Yes, you’ll have to turn it sideways or even upside down. And before you lay it on its back, understand that the back sides of many pieces of furniture are not fashioned to support a tremendous amount of weight, so use your best judgment.
  • Empty out armoires and bookcases before attempting to load them. A chest of drawers can be moved without being emptied, assuming there’s nothing inside except clothing. Emptying and taking out drawers will make it noticeably lighter and more manageable, so always weigh your options. (Ha.)
  • Secure any doors and drawers that might fall or slide open. This can easily be done with large mover’s rubber bands or lengths of string that tied tightly. Some people choose to wrap their furniture with pads before moving them and this will absolutely keep those doors and drawers closed, but keep in mind that while essential, furniture pads can make it more difficult to maintain a firm hold if you have to carry it up or down a flight of stairs!

How To Load Your Long Piece On End

This is probably the most precarious way to both load and transport a piece of furniture on a dolly because, well, physics.

But like I said, in narrow spaces and tight corners it sometimes is the only way. Here we’ll go through it in a two-person scenario because we don’t encourage loading a piece like this on your own.

 

  • Position your dolly on the floor close to (but not up against) the side of your dresser (or long piece). Tell your friend to attentively stand by.
  • Lift the side of your dresser opposite your furniture dolly until the side of your furniture facing down touches the dolly. (Make sure you clear the item from the wall and any other potential obstruction!)
  • Raise your dresser onto the dolly while your friend holds the dolly in place until it’s in a vertical position, keeping a firm hold to prevent tipping or rolling awry. Don’t be afraid to lower the dresser back down, taking its weight off the dolly to let your friend adjust the dolly’s position. You absolutely want to ensure the dresser ends up sitting balanced and square on the dolly. (You may have to try a few times.)
  • We recommend two sets of hands for rolling it across the floor and down the hall. The person in front steers and watches for obstacles while the person in the back pushes (gently). Both of you need to constantly be on guard to make sure the item doesn’t begin to tip ever so slightly.

Protip: If the top of your dresser has a lip or overhang that extends beyond the surface of the side resting on your dolly, allow that lip to hang over the edge of the dolly so that dresser sits flat and vertical.

Loading Your Tall Piece on Its Side

The basics here are the same as in loading it on end, although the geometry and the dynamics make it possible to handle this type of situation on your own. (Still, we believe four hands are always better than two.)

  • Position your dolly on the floor near the face-down side of the piece.
  • Working from the same side of the piece as your dolly, pull the top of the piece toward you. Lower it slowly, eyeing your dolly and nudging it into a place where your piece will be balanced once it is resting fully on the dolly.
  • Maintain control by keeping that dolly in place with your foot. This part gets trickier the taller your piece is, so take care to keep both your piece and yourself steady. As in the previous example, your dolly may begin to kick out as the weight of your piece comes down on it, so if at all possible, have someone lend you their hands.
  • Lay flat and push! Assuming your piece is sitting square and balanced on the dolly, pushing it across the floor should be a relative piece of cake. Just take care taking those corners since those top and bottom ends are now sticking way out in front and back of the dolly.

Protip: Your furniture has legs? When tipping heavy pieces of furniture with legs, be very aware of the weight of your object. The longer and slimmer the legs, the better chance they will snap under the weight. Whenever possible, grab a friend or two to help keep the weight off those legs as you lower the piece down onto your dolly.

Loading Your Sofa

This may be the easiest situation to handle or it may be a disaster in the making. It depends on what lies under your sofa’s skin.

  • If the backside of your couch has a solid surface beneath the upholstery, all you need to do is center your dolly behind your couch and tip your couch on its back and you are rolling!
  • If your sofa has a frame that leaves a lot of hollow area under the upholstery, you may have to work quite a bit harder to get your dolly in a place where it will support that sofa without tearing through anything.
  • Hollow? A piece of plywood or another flat source of support placed on top of your dolly can compensate for what your sofa lacks. A few flattened moving boxes may lend enough support for the job, as will a couple of two-by-fours that, when laid crossways on your dolly, will support your sofa from the top edge to the bottom.

Protip: This same strategy of using plywood, cardboard or a couple of pieces of scrap lumber to create a wide, flat surface is also useful when stacking boxes on your dolly! Or when moving odd-shaped items like exercise machines and pieces of art.

Things to Watch Out For

Once you’ve rolled that dresser or sofa safely out the door, down the driveway and up to the truck, you may think that all is well. But pushing that piece of furniture up the ramp and onto the back of the truck comes with its own hazards.

  • Keep one eye on the ceiling so you don’t destroy any overhead light fixtures or smoke alarms. Also be on the lookout for anything potentially high up on the walls, like smoke alarms or fuse boxes.
  • Unless your front door (or any door) swings 180 degrees, the edge is going to be sticking out, leaving a clearance of however wide your furniture is minus one-half inch.
  • Take care not to crush your knuckles against those door jambs! (It hurts, trust me.)
  • You also need to keep an eye on the floor. A throw rug, the uneven spaces between floor tiles, even something as small and unassuming as a Lego can stop your dolly … while whatever is sitting on top of it keeps moving forward.
  • Coaxing your furniture up a ramp is not wise or easy. Any item sitting low and long can stretch beyond what the angle between the driveway and the ramp will allow, scraping up the ramp while the wheels of the dolly are still on the ground. You might do well to turn your dolly ninety degrees so you can push that piece of furniture (carefully!) sideways up the ramp. (Make sure the side with the drawers and doors is facing upward!)

 

Protip: It should be obvious that furniture dollies are not at all useful anywhere there are stairs involved. It may be tempting to be creative, but believe me, 4-wheelers and staircases do not mix. Grab a friend, or a few, and carry that piece of furniture slowly and carefully.

Does This All Seem Like a Lot of Work?

I’ve been moving furniture for decades, and trust me, some people just shouldn’t be moving their own furniture. At the end of the day, it’s hard work, and professionals are professional for a reason. With that said, if you’re going to do it yourself, you need to make sure you do all the stuff above so you don’t hurt yourself (not to mention your valuables).

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Even if you only need to get movers to move your heaviest stuff, it may be totally worth it to just check to see who is around you and what they charge to help. It may be a lot more affordable than you think.

And don’t worry, they’ll bring the furniture dolly.


Illustrations by Marlowe Dobbe

What Pantone’s 2017 Color of the Year Can Look Like in Your Home

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Not only would it be festive to incorporate more green into your home for the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day festivities, but Pantone named green as their color of the year for 2017. Bold choice! This bright green hue oozes freshness, brings the outdoors in, and as Pantone states, “[Is a] refreshing and revitalizing shade and symbolic of new beginnings.”

It’s a smart choice too; Injecting a pop of green into your space will ensure that your home is ready for the holiday, sure, but you’ll also get those staying up-to-date vibes. Look at you go!If you’re interested in bringing a sense of outdoors inside, or maybe you’re just looking to refresh your space, we’ve got six tangible ways to stay on-trend by adding green to your space.

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The Psycho Couch Kicker

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[Synopsis: One mover’s experience proves that the customer is NOT always right.]

I stood in the customer’s living room and watched in disbelief as she shoved her sofa across her new hardwood floor with one impatient foot.

It wasn’t that she could physically move her sofa with one leg that shocked me; the thing was more like a loveseat, and not at all heavy. What I couldn’t believe was that she screamed bloody murder (practically) about the scratches we had already put in her floors – which we hadn’t. She had actually done the damage herself, pushing and shoving and dragging around everything we’d set down in her house.

It was in one way impressive; her psychotic show of anger and her utter dissatisfaction with the terrible job she had decided we were doing – I’d never seen anything like it.

I stood there, looking at the thin semi-circular gauges she’d just put in her new floor with her sofa-kicking show. Not wanting to throw fuel on her already raging fire I didn’t say anything.

Not wanting to throw fuel on her already raging fire I didn’t say anything.

Big mistake.

A half hour later she was on the phone with her move coordinator growling through a list of all the damage we movers had caused – including those gouges in the floor from her sofa. I pointed out (without waiting for a pause in her tirade) that she had done that herself.

“Oh, and now they’re trying to play it off like the damage was MY fault,” she told the person on the other end of the line. 

Some of you have probably run into a customer like this.

Some of you probably haven’t, not yet. I was in the moving business for years before I had the pleasure of working for such an outstanding person. But whether your customer is sweet as a peach or a raving lunatic, be consistent and be forthright as you do your job well. And don’t be afraid like I was in that one instant to point out something that the customer needs to know.

You never know what – or who – will come back and bite you in the butt down the road.

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