Top 10 Helpers Celebrate at HireAHelpers HQ

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10 years, 10 Helpers, 10 Call Service Representatives.

A trio of celebrations was recently held on HireAHelper’s “Top 10 Helper Day”, HireAHelper’s 10 year aniverssary event that doubled as a summit of some of the best people working in the moving industry today.

A Contest for Movers

Rigo’s Moving Company being interviewed at HireAHelper headquarters.

Rather than just ordering a cake for the big “1-0”, HireAHelper used their milestone moment to shed light on the people who make the company possible: hardworking movers, as well as the people booking their jobs every single day.

Here’s how they did it: they asked Call Service Representatives (CSRs) to vote for their favorite movers in the HireAHelper network. Additionally, HireAHelper asked the movers to submit the names of their favorite CSRs, as moving companies interact with their call center day in and day out. In many cases, movers interact with various CSRs for years on end. Voting on both ends was based on professionalism, efficiency, helpfulness and ability

More than a thousand moving companies across the country were eligible. (Not to mention a few dozen phone operators.)

The voting was fierce and the lists were long. But after the votes were tallied, the top five moving companies on the list were invited to take part in a special event at HireAHelper headquarters in sunny San Diego, CA, which took place this month.

Top 10 Helper Day

One by one, the contest winners emerged into HireAHelper headquarters, each bringing with them unique backgrounds spread out across the United States. They also brought anecdotes regarding how they found out they had been named a top 10 moving company in the country.

Says Crystal Rocci out of Lakeland, Florida’s Family Movers, “(We) got the email and he’s shaking and I’m like, ‘Why are you shaking?’ And he hands me the phone…and I’m reading it and saying, ‘Honey, we made fourth place!'”

Movers also shared stories from their long journeys establishing themselves as major players in the moving world.

Family Movers receives their certificate.

There’s a lot of bad reputation in the industry,” says Carmen Ball, from Aurora, Colorado’s LeDoux Moving Solutions. “If you build a reputation, you know, you gotta ride on your reputation. You screw that up, you don’t stick around.

“That’s my name on my shirt. I am representing everything, not just the company, I am representing the family as well.”

Continues Ball, “There’s many small businesses where we are that have been in business 20 years and they don’t do what we do. But I really believe (in) focusing on reputation and integrity.

Winners pose with their certificates.

The theme of the day? Going the extra mile.

“Rigo is very passionate about what he does,” says Susana Avelino of Rigo’s Movers out of Los Angeles, the contest winning moving company. 

Martha Martin, also of Rigo’s Movers, echoes that sentiment. “(Rigo) wants everything perfect. If something happens, resolve everything. If something gets damaged, try and fix it.” To get this level of recognition, they stress that customers have to always feel safe and secure in their hands.

“Our guys always calm down the customer and say, ‘Okay, you’re in good hands. Let me do my job and let me wrap everything. We will fit it on your truck.'”

Prizes Galore

The Top 10 Helper ceremony was held in front of a big screen and among boxes of gourmet donuts, during which the top 10 Helpers and CSRs received recognition. All present Helpers received their certificates and cash prizes. Afterwards, a catered lunch of tacos and drinks awaited everybody outside.

On getting to meet with the top 10 CSRs that they’ve worked with for years, Rocci of Family Movers exclaims, “I was like, ‘Yes!’ I finally get to put some faces to some names! I talk to these super energetic people on the phone, and I’m like, ‘I thought I was the only person like that.’ [laughter]”

Top 10 Helper Day wasn’t the only place celebrations were held, however. The top 10 CSRs were assigned a Helper from the rest of the top 10 list and given free airfare, lodging, cash prizes, and the opportunity to award the rest of the top Helpers their certificates in person.

Jess and Camille, winning CSRs, visiting Top 10 Helper “Moving Texas” in Austin.

Says Camille, Helper Relations Specialist and a winning CSR,

“There is definitely something different about meeting a Helper in person, something significant about putting a face to a name that brings life to their voice the next time I work with them over the phone.”

Again and again, winners stressed the importance of community as a key to success.

Now with 2017 in the books and ten successful years behind them, HireAHelper is positioned to continue their impressive take over of the moving labor marketplace. And with the Top 10 Helper contest being such a hit with everybody that participated, hundreds of professional moving companies (and the passionate employees that fuel them) remind us that all continued success will have to go through them.

Rachel Ledoux of Ledoux Movers reiterates, “You can slam out a bunch of jobs and…walk away thinking that everything’s great, then come to find out later that they never took the time to find out if that customer was actually happy.

“You know, moving is more than just a business; It’s relationships.”

For a list of the top 10 Helper winners and their prizes, click here.

Texas DMV Offers Free Training for Movers Beginning Oct. 19th

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Need to train your crew and get up to date on mover regulations? Got questions about the rules of the road for commercial moving trucks? Heck, just interested in a free breakfast?

The Tyler Morning Telegraph has announced that the Texas DMV and the Better Business Bureau will be co-hosting a Motor Vehicle Mover Training Seminar on the morning of Thursday, October 26th on the Tyler Junior College West Campus. The session is scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. and will run for three hours.

As the Telegraph states, “the training is designed for moving companies and those in related industries to become more familiar with current laws in order to avoid violations.” You’ll be able to ask questions and get answers from Texas DMV personnel as well as representatives from several other state agencies, and maybe find out a few new things that pertain directly to you and your business.

Not only is this seminar free, breakfast will also be provided by Chick-fil-A. But hurry! Registration closes on October 20th. Call Olivia LeVoy at 903-581-5704 for more info and to reserve your seats.

And that’s not all!

The Texas DMV puts on seminars four times a year all, across the state. There is actually one coming up very soon – October 19th! – in San Antonio. This session is specifically for Household Goods Movers, so the agenda looks to be right up our alley. But again, hurry up and grab a seat or two before it fills up!

And if you miss this one, or you don’t see a seminar in your area, check back once in a while. The TxDMV will be rolling through your area eventually!

Here Are the Movers Who Are Helping in Houston

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It’s not easy to just drop what you’re doing and drive to another part of the country. It’s even harder when you’re a mover in the last days of the busiest season of the year.

But when disaster strikes, people find a way to move. And movers find a way to help.

Thousands and thousands of people all across the country have dropped what they were doing to give something – anything – to the victims of Hurricane Harvey. Among the most busy have been our storage and moving colleagues. Here we highlight some of their efforts and how they were able to get it done.

Florida

Two Men and a Truck

Greg Micklos of Pensacola, FL is no stranger to hurricanes. As a resident of North Carolina, he lived through a few of them. So when the owner of Pensacola’s Two Men and a Truck franchise saw what was happening in Southeast Texas, he knew he had to help.

Micklos quickly launched his “Truck4Texas” campaign on Facebook which, as he puts it, “took off like wildfire.”

“We’re working with a lot of different organizations,” he told the Pensacola News Journal, working to fill trucks to take to Texas. One of those organizations is a school called All American Twirlers run by Jana Williamson, who in 2004 lost her home, her car and everything else she owned when Hurricane Ivan swept through. 

Screenshot of Facebook Post, 2017

Micklos’s drivers, meanwhile, have been volunteering to drive to Texas on their own time – an admirably selfless move when you consider the slow season will soon be upon us and these weeks are the last window of opportunity to cash in on the peak summer season.

All My Sons Moving & Storage, Hilldrup Moving & Storage

WSVN News

Further down in Florida, All My Sons Moving & Storage is working with the Miami Dolphins, with three trucks loaded up and heading for their Gulf Coast neighbors. All My Sons already had a working relationship in place, so they were able to quickly capitalize on the opportunity to help out. A good lesson to you out there who aren’t already reaching out to community organizations.

But you don’t have to have buddies in the big leagues to lend a hand. Up the Atlantic coast, the minor league baseball team in Richmond, VA called the Flying Squirrels set up a collection drive at a recent game. And who is hauling all those donations down to Houston? The hometown Hilldrup Moving & Storage Company.

The Flying Squirrels may be the headline grabbers here, but it doesn’t matter. What matters is collecting whatever you can and getting it to the people who need it. If it helps to hook up with a notable name, go for it.

Arkansas

All That Matters

And if you don’t have that notable connection? You go for it anyway. Amanda Shay, owner of All That Matters in Little Rock, AK decided to fill up an 18-wheeler and, with a couple of her own men, head not for Houston, but “those small towns that nobody is really doing anything for.”

KATV News

In the course of helping out, they ran into a bit of trouble themselves; First, when they weren’t able to unload their truck at their designated drop-off location in Louisiana, then later finding themselves in need of food and gas with everything around them closed or shut down thanks to Harvey.

It’s quite a story. Check out the All That Matters Facebook page to listen to Ms. Shay recount her experiences while she gives thanks to all the many people who helped her and her crew along the way. Clearly, her’s was not just a matter of driving somewhere, dropping stuff off and driving home.

Illinois

Mayflower, Hungry Man Movers

WRSP News

Up in Illinois, two high school football rivals teamed up to collect 75,000 bottles of water at a Friday night matchup. And there to carry all that and more down the Mississippi Valley into Texas? A local Mayflower Van Lines agent. http://foxillinois.com/news/local/rival-teams-come-together-to-donate-water-to-texas-09-03-2017

Hungry Man Moving is not a national van lines agent, but that didn’t stop Snyder and Clay Clark from making the trip from Milwaukee with their own load of bottled water. “Canned Water for Kids actually contacted us,” said Hungry Man Moving staffer Amanda Malka. “They told us they could give us as much water as we need and as many times as we want, and take as much as we can carry.”

On their multiple trips, Hungry Man Movers were also taking diapers, wipes, formula and other much-needed supplies. “We advertised on Wednesday,” they told Fox6Now. “By Friday, the truck was full.”

Not bad for a couple of hungry men.

Naturally, there are stories like these from all over the country.

Some of them might even involve our HireAHelper community. So if any of you have a story to tell about how you were able to help out the victims of Hurricane Harvey, let us know! We’d all love to hear it.

And if you’re looking for a way – or another way – to help, check out this list by the American Logistics Aid NetworkOr go here and tell them where you are and what your company can do.

Are you somewhere near the Houston area? Here’s a list of ways to help out, including up to the minute and still very pertinent information on:

  • Shelter and relief
  • Disaster recovery
  • Rescue efforts
  • Shelter and supplies
  • Donations
  • Blood donation
  • Volunteering

If you have some info to share about how those of us in other parts of the country can pitch in, please share! Because even as the flood waters recede, the victims of Harvey will continue to need help.

The Stuff That’s Illegal to Bring Into Texas

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Relocating to Texas, like relocating anywhere, comes with the responsibility of knowing the laws of the land. Every state differs, and some states are stricter than others. But when it comes to what you can and cannot transport across state lines – and what you can or can’t possess once you’re there – we are sure there is no state quite like Texas.

Here are all the things that are illegal to bring into Texas, broken down by type. Welcome to the wild, mild west.

Fruits and Vegetables

While Texas may have a reputation for oil wells and football teams, the state also boasts a humongous $100 billion agriculture industry. It is no surprise then that they have more than a few rules regarding what fruits and vegetables can’t be brought over state lines.

The good news is the Texas Department of Agriculture spells out all the rules right here in this document. The bad news is this document is 21 pages long and uses a lot of big words. If you’re the type to snack on exotic fruit with hard-to-pronounce names, you may want to read carefully over the TDA’s rules. For the rest of us, here are the basics:

Of particular interest is the citrus fruit family. As the Southwest Farm Press states, “With very few exceptions, no citrus plants, or even pieces of citrus plants are allowed into the state from anywhere.” The National Plant Board gets a bit more technical, explaining (on page seven) that, “any living or non-living rootstock, leaf, root, stem, limb, twig, fruit, seed, seedling or other part of any plant in the botanical family Rutaceae, subfamily Aurantioideae.” As citrus is a huge part of the Texas economy, even one bad plant could potentially ruin entire crops.

In addition to citrus fruits, Texas has plenty of prohibitions in place. If you’re coming from Florida or Puerto Rico, these things are some of the major items prohibited:

  • Apples
  • Avocados
  • Bell peppers
  • Blackberries

There are more than 50 kinds of fruits, vegetables, berries and spices that Texas prohibits coming from down south, due to Caribbean Fruit Fly infestation.

If you’re coming from anywhere in the US (except California, Arizona and parts of New Mexico), Texas also prohibits:

  • Hickory trees
  • Pecan trees
  • Walnut trees

As well as “…(any) parts thereof, except extracted nut meats”, thanks to the never-popular pecan weevil.

Finally, these vegetable plants are not restricted but heavily regulated coming from anywhere, due to a whole host of diseases and pests:

  • Tomatoes
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Broccoli
  • Collards
  • Peppers
  • Onions
  • Eggplants

It’s all right here in this exhaustive “Summary of Plant Protection Regulations from the Texas Department of Agriculture. Give it a read if you have the time and the will. Or just play it simple and leave every last lemon, walnut and berry behind.

Pets

We have some good news for all you Texas-bound pet owners. The Lone Star State merely requires that all dogs and cats be certified as rabies-vaccinated.

The bad news is that something as simple (and responsible) as keeping Rover on a legal leash requires a watch, a map, a thermometer, a tape measure and a weather forecast. According to Texas statute “§ 821.077. Unlawful Restraint of Dog” :

  • (a) An owner may not leave a dog outside and unattended by use of a restraint that unreasonably limits the dog’s movement:
  • (1) between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.;
  • (2) within 500 feet of the premises of a school; or
  • (3) in the case of extreme weather conditions, including conditions in which:
  • (A) the actual or effective outdoor temperature is below 32 degrees Fahrenheit;
  • (B) a heat advisory has been issued by a local or state authority or jurisdiction; or
  • (C) a hurricane, tropical storm, or tornado warning has been issued for the jurisdiction by the National Weather Service.
  • (b) In this section, a restraint unreasonably limits a dog’s movement if the restraint:
  • (1) uses a collar that is pinch-type, prong-type, or choke-type or that is not properly fitted to the dog;
  • (2) is a length shorter than the greater of:
  • (A) five times the length of the dog, as measured from the tip of the dog’s nose to the base of the dog’s tail; or
  • (B) 10 feet;
  • (3) is in an unsafe condition; or
  • (4) causes injury to the dog.

Considering all this, it might just be easier to get a tiger.

We’re not kidding. Reading the Texas laws regarding owning exotic animals – including lions, tigers, bears and gorillas (seriously) – it seems only as difficult to register a “dangerous wild animal” as it does a pickup truck.

(While we’re at it, we’ll mention that it is legal in Texas to own flamethrowers, venomous snakes and, for the truly under-stimulated, military-grade tanks.)

But back to the world most of us inhabit. If you are relocating to Texas, you should know that certain species of fish and other aquatic life are prohibited. Despite their lengthy explanation on the environmental and economical destruction wreaked by the lionfish, the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department doesn’t list this non-native critter among their outlawed types of marine life. Here are just a few of the fish that are prohibited:

  • Tilapia
  • Piranhas
  • Freshwater Stingrays
  • Freshwater Eels
  • Temperate Basses
  • Oysters

All resources and information considered, it seems reasonable to believe you’re okay bringing your parakeet with you to your new home in Texas. But we strongly recommend checking with your local authorities as to what laws apply to your pets. As an example, in Waco, all dogs, cats and ferrets must be vaccinated against rabies; all pets must be spayed/neutered and microchipped; dog houses must have at least three walls in addition to a roof and a floor that is not the ground; and no, you cannot give your pet its rabies shot yourself.

Alcohol

The good news here is that Texas puts no limits or taxes on any alcoholic beverages you are transporting into the state, as long as you are in the process of relocating to Texas and the alcohol in your possession is intended for personal consumption only.

The bad news is that the Texas heat will skunk your swill faster than you can say “Lone Star Lager”. So you better hope that your’s isn’t a long distance move in the heat.

Keep in mind, however, that once you are actually settled in the Lone Star State, you’ll be subjected to fines and/or jail time if you fail to declare that case of tequila on your way home from Mexico, or any other alcohol you bought out of state and are transporting back into Texas.

As for figuring out the laws in your particular municipality for purchasing beer, wine or liquor, good luck.

Plants

Texas has no apparent problems with houseplants that are grown indoors in a commercially-prepared potting mix (rather than in soil) and are free of pests and diseases. These may enter Texas without certification.

However, according to the same “Texas Dept. of Agriculture Summary of Plant Protection Regulations” we saw earlier, “houseplants grown or kept outdoors require a phytosanitary certificate from the department of agriculture of the origin state indicating freedom from pests and diseases.”

We’ll be blatantly honest here. There seems no guarantee that your word will be good enough if someone wearing a TDA uniform asks if you’ve ever put your rubber tree plant out on the patio or the front porch, and you say no.

And just in case you were wondering, you can’t bring all that firewood for your backyard chiminea. Texas doesn’t even like Texans moving firewood from one part of the state to another, for fear of spreading potential or active infestations. Check out the Texas info on DontMoveFirewood.org – and consider giving that chiminea a good washing too before trying to carry that across the border into Texas.

Firearms

And what would Texas be without guns? In keeping with their wild, wild west reputation, the state makes it easy for lawful firearms carriers from other states to legally carry in Texas, either through reciprocal or unilateral agreements with those other states. In other words, just like having a driver’s license from another state allows you to legally drive in Texas, having a permit to carry a firearm in another state allows you to legally carry your firearm in Texas.

The analogy is not perfect, of course. Texas has no firearm-carry agreements with Oregon, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Maine, Vermont or New Hampshire. And while you have 90 days upon relocating to Texas to switch your driver’s license over, there is no requirement whatsoever to register your firearm in the State of Texas.

None.

How’s that for wild?

It’s not complete anarchy, of course. “Texas requires any individual in possession of a handgun to inform a law enforcement officer of their permit or license to carry if an officer asks them for identification.” Texas also spells out restrictions and requirements regarding carrying in vehicles, open carry and places where carrying is illegal.

As far as transporting your firearm from your old state to your new home in Texas, your most pressing concern might be following the laws of the various states you may be passing through along your way.

In some ways, Texas seems like an almost lawless land. In others, the laws can seem unduly convoluted. You can have a gun. You can get a tiger. Just be sure to leave the tangerines behind!


Illustrations by Subin Yang

Which States Gained and Lost the Most People From Moving Last Year? We Break It Down

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[Synopsis: As United, Atlas reveal their annual migration stats, states try to explain themselves.]

United Van Lines has done it again!

They’ve released their nationwide migration statistics for the year, that is. And right off the bat, we see some small surprises.

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Everything You Need to Know Before You Visit Magnolia Market

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As we found out a few weeks ago after sharing a few tips on how to incorporate Chip & Joanna’s Fixer Upper Style into your own home, there are lots and lots of fellow Chip & Joanna fans out there! Finding out that many of you share our admiration for this positive, charming and uber talented couple did not surprise us (who doesn’t love those two?!) instead, it got us super excited and gave us another excuse to chat about this power couple here on the HireAHelper blog.

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