The Story Behind a former Gentle Giant Mover Becoming a 2012 Olympian

Since opening for business in 1980, Gentle Giant has employed its fair share of incredible athletes; but this is no coincidence. When I started moving furniture and created Gentle Giant, I did it with friends of mine that I had met through rowing because I knew they were strong, dedicated, and had a “never quit” attitude.

One of the greatest athletes that ever moved with us, Will Miller, is still making us proud even after he hung up his purple shirt. Now an Olympic Rower, Will took the time to speak with USA Today about work, his father, and where his athletic drive comes from. The following is an excerpt from the piece Will Miller Follows Dad in Olympic Rowing by Michael Florek:

“Will Miller and his rowing teammates worked hard so they wouldn’t be known as “that” crew for the U.S. men’s eight.

After not qualifying for the Olympics at last year’s world championships, the eight needed to win a last-chance qualifier in Lucerne, Switzerland, on May 22, for a spot in the London Olympics.

The Americans didn’t want to be the first U.S. men’s team to fail to qualify for the Olympics in the event’s history, dating to 1900. During that time, the USA has won 12 gold medals in the event and 16 total medals, including bronze in 2008.

Miller, a graduate in engineering from Northeastern, was part of the team that beat New Zealand last week by 10 seconds. Miller, who turns 28 in two weeks, didn’t start rowing seriously until college, and since graduation had competed more in the quad than the eight.

Miller knows all too well about the USA’s illustrious past in the sport. His dad, William Miller, was a rower on the 1972 U.S. Olympic team in the men’s coxless fours.

I’ve heard some funny stories from my grandparents about them getting over there and just seeing a hitchhiker on the side of the road, bumming a ride to the course. They stopped and picked him up, and it ended up being (my dad). I don’t imagine that’s going to be happening in this day and age.

Your career is kind of dogged with different decisions you make along the way, and sometimes they’re pretty tough. You don’t know what going down one path will take you and stuff like that. So a lot of times it’s just you get to talk to a guy that’s been there and understands that.

He (dad) understands that we have coaches and everything else so he doesn’t try to impose like technical stuff, or training ideas or things like that because we have coaches dedicated to those kinds of things. But sometimes in the sport, things might not be going as well as you would like them to, and it’s nice to know that somebody can talk you through it.

It was cool growing up because he never really imposed anything on me. He never ever tried and forced me to row or anything like that. I just kind of fell into it on my own.

I grew up playing other sports. I tried rowing a little bit in high school, but I really just decided I wanted to give it a go in college.

I played lacrosse in high school. I was OK. I played on a really good team. We went like 25-0 my senior year, won state. I mean, I wasn’t the best guy on the team by any stretch of the imagination, but it was fun to be on a pretty good team.

I graduated from Northeastern and my original plan was just to get a job. After taking some time off after graduating I found that I missed the competitive nature of rowing. I missed the teamwork and everything else. I just really missed the sport. I started doing a little bit of training on my own and found myself in a position to head out to California Rowing Club in San Francisco rowing under Tim McLaren, who has a great reputation as a coach, so I took the opportunity. It’s been just rowing since then.

The past three years I’ve been in the quad but my background in college, what I grew up doing, is the eight. So the coaches had me try sweeping a couple of times, and I seemed to fit in with the group pretty well. It seemed like a good opportunity for me, so I stuck with it and I ended up in the eight.

The selection for the eight took place up in the San Francisco area because Mike Teti is the eights coach, and he’s also the coach at Cal. I think it was 40-something guys in total had gone through the selection process. It was just a long process of racing and trying out different combinations, and getting data on everybody. So I was down here in San Diego for a part of it, and I kind of went up a couple of months before the naming date.

The thing with rowing is it’s really early on in the Games. Our first race is July 28 and that’s all we’re focusing on right now is that race. Oftentimes, what’s happened in the past, is the opening ceremonies have been tough for rowers to get to because we’re racing the next day.

In terms of external factors, wind is the number one thing. It will change some race times by a pretty good amount. In the eight, it’s not going to have quite as much of an effect on your times because you have a lot momentum.”

How Moving Furniture Can Save Families in Need

Gentle Giant Moving Company has been able to grow consistently over the past three decades by safely and quickly moving every piece of furniture they have ever been faced with. We have moved antique, incredibly fragile pieces, as well as large steel pieces that we could’ve sworn weighed more than a Buick LeSabre. You name it, we’ve moved it successfully. We’ve even moved a Buick LeSabre…

For us, furniture is our livelihood, so we have a certain respect for it (even the furniture that refuses to fit out a doorway). Without furniture, our jobs would be easier, if not unnecessary. Our customers, however, sometimes have a much different relationship with furniture. Either a particular furniture piece will be their most valued possession and will request Gentle Giant treat it like a delicate newborn baby, or they will hate a piece of furniture like it was their arch nemesis and will request Gentle Giant to drop it off the back of the truck while we cruise down the highway.

Of course, we would never do this, but in the past, if ever a customer wants us to “get rid of” a piece of furniture for them, we would take it back to our warehouse and find it a good home. While this worked, it was a long process lacking organization, which is why Gentle Giant New York has teamed up with the Furniture Sharehouse, a fabulous organization that takes unwanted furniture and allows families in need to come “shop” through their Sharehouse, for free.

Gentle Giant recently visited the Furniture Sharehouse in Westchester County, and we were blown away by the volume of different furniture items they have carefully organized and inventoried. We are very happy to start contributing even more to this great organization. Gentle Giant will be communicating with our New York customers, letting them know that any unwanted furniture furniture can easily be donated to a family in dire need of a livable home.

For more information, please visit http://www.furnituresharehouse.org/how-you-can-help

10 Questions You NEED to Ask Before Before Hiring a Mover

The entire moving process is long, complicated, and stressful, so the last thing you want to worry about is hiring an unqualified, unprofessional moving company to move you to your new home. That’s why Gentle Giant compiled this list of 10 Questions you NEED to ask while researching moving companies.  These questions will allow you to easily identify legit companies over other companies that cut several dangerous corners to keep their prices low.

To help, we’ve supplied Gentle Giant’s answers to each question.

1.) How do you select your employees?

Gentle Giant has an intensive interview process, complete with full background checks and physical endurance tests to insure each candidate will make a successful Giant. We also demand more than just athleticism and good backgrounds – moving can be very stressful so we hire interpersonally savvy people who can maintain stellar attitudes in the midst of challenging situations.  

2.) Do you provide benefits for the movers?

Gentle Giant provides health and dental insurance, 401k, short and long term disability, as well as additional Health and Wellness benefits, including compensated gym membership. Offering these benefits to employees isn’t just the right thing to do, it makes for better company culture and retention rates in an industry known for high personnel turnover and cheap labor.

3.) How many moves do you complete a year?

Across our national company, Gentle Giant completes over 13,000 moves annually. This number has continued to rise as we expand across the country and work closely with Realtors in the regions we work in. Gentle Giant has even grown during the down economy, which is another thing to ask a moving company: how well have they done over the last few years?

4.) If there’s a problem during the move, who will be handling it? Which department, individual, or a third party?

The Crew Chiefs Gentle Giant places in charge of moves are experienced, expert movers who have received extensive training which can often lead to the proper handling of claims right on the spot as they happen. However, if a problem needs further attention, Gentle Giant has a highly trained, in-house Quality Control Department that professionally and diligently handles every type of claim that comes in. In most cases, claims can be handled on the phone or in person by a handy Quality Control Field Representative, who can fix, repair, or replace almost anything.

5.) What type of estimates do you offer?

We offer hourly estimates and “not to exceed” estimates for local moves.  Binding estimates are offered for interstate moves.

6.)  Do you take credit cards?

Yes, as well as checks and cash.

7.) Are you (your company) a member of the American Moving and Storage Association, The Better Business Bureau, or are you listed as a Pro Mover?

Not only is Gentle Giant a part of the AMSA, but we were recognized by them as the Independent Mover of the Year in 2009. In all of Gentle Giant’s regions, we’re members of the Better Business Bureau and the Chamber of Commerce (we also won the much-coveted BBB Award for Marketplace Ethics).

8.) Does your company offer secure storage?

In all of Gentle Giant’s regions, we offer secure, fully insured temperature controlled storage options. Gentle Giant’s storage comes with a detailed inventory list for easy access to specific items in storage. Climate controlled storage (which is not the same as temperature controlled) is also available in most regions.

9.) Do you offer insurance for moving?

Gentle Giant offers Full Replacement Value Insurance, Actual Value Replacement Insurance, and Basic Liability Insurance. Insurance options are carefully explained to each customer during the booking process, and can be changed on the day of the move with the job’s Crew Chief.

10.) What makes you different from all the other movers?

Gentle Giant has been a leader in the moving industry because of our intense focus on customer service, the athleticism of the crews we send out on jobs, and our 100% Money Back Guarantee. Unheard of in the industry, this Guarantee states that Gentle Giant customers are entitled to a 100% money back satisfaction guarantee for each member of their moving crew: packer, driver, local mover, or long distance mover.

We hope that this has been helpful, and if in the end you want to go with Gentle Giant in one of our regions, including San Francisco, Seattle, Charlotte, Washington DC, Lorton, VA, New York, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, or Massachusetts, then please call us at 1-800-442-6863 or Request an Estimate Online.

In New York and Throughout the Country, Gentle Giant Moves People Forward!

Over 30 years ago, Gentle Giant opened for business and changed the moving industry forever. We took a simple process and perfected it where it needed perfection. Before Gentle Giant stepped onto the scene, most moving companies would simply hire guys who were able to withstand the physical torture that came with just muscling furniture all day without the proper technique. These guys would get burnt out and disgruntled quickly because there was no training or support, and if they couldn’t continue moving, there was always someone younger and dumber to take the job.

Larry works out with some new hires at the Harvard Stadium

Larry O’Toole, Gentle Giant’s Founder and CEO, saw this process and decided moving was the perfect opportunity to engage with customers, focus on service, and truly change what was expected from movers. Larry focused on hiring personable, athletic men and women that cared about what they were doing, and looked at moving as a challenge they could conquer with hard work and a strong team, not a chore they were unlucky enough to be tasked with. Proper training was a major focus for Gentle Giant since the early days, and has only improved as we’ve grown to be a nationwide company. The same goes for the Giants we hire. We look for individuals that not only rise to the physical challenge of the job, but see the value in running a crew, working face to face with customers, and managing complicated jobs day in and day out.

Gentle Giant is so incredibly proud of every person that has ever worn our maroon shirt. Many Giants have come and gone, but as Larry always says, “once a Giant, always a Giant.” Essentially what he means is that Gentle Giant instills a set of values that can be applied to any profession. Many doctors, lawyers, entrepreneurs, and other professionals got their start at Gentle Giant, but will frequently check in with us to say that a big part of their success was learning how to work hard at Gentle Giant.

To see for yourself the high caliber of people we hire, call us at 1-800-442-6863 or Request an Estimate Online.

How Gentle Giant New York Separates Itself From the Rest of NY Movers

Being the online voice of Gentle Giant, I get to spend a lot of time in all of Gentle Giant’s Regional offices, keeping up to date on all the great things our Giants do across the country. One of my favorite branches to visit is our New York office. Not only do I love all of the Giants that have made this branch one of our best, but i also enjoy all of the unique challenges associated with moving in one of the wildest, most jam packed cities in the country.

Although a lot of the work our New York office does takes place in beautiful Westchester County, Gentle Giant does head into Manhattan often enough to see how some of our competition do their business. Spoiler Alert, some of these companies do some dicey work.

The first competitor we saw was driving through the Upper East Side in front of us. Without a signal, he took a fast and hard left, side swiping a parked car hard enough to make a woman walking on the street scream and dive out of the way. What did this company do? They did what an non-reputable company did; they kept on going. Left the car just as they had found it, still parked but with significantly more moving truck caused damage. We couldn’t believe it.

When we arrived at our job, we were met with another moving company finishing up their job. Because of how this building was set up, we had to share the loading dock. We were blown away by the sight of the other movers emerging from the elevator with clouds of cigarette smoke behind them. Gentle Giant is a non-smoking company, but even if we weren’t, I can’t even fathom the amount of inconsideration and unprofessionalism it would take to smoke inside a residences elevator.

I will say however, for every company making these poor decisions, there are very reputable companies in our industry that take their profession very seriously. Those are the types of companies we are proud to say are our brothers and sisters in this wild industry.

To book your move with the best of the best in New York, call us at 1-800-442-6863 or Request an Estimate Online.

10 Questions You NEED to Ask Before Hiring a Mover in New York

The entire moving process is long, complicated, and stressful, so the last thing you want to worry about hiring an unqualified, unprofessional moving company to move you and your family to your new home. This is why Gentle Giant‘s New York Branch has compiled a list of 10 Questions you NEED to ask while you are researching moving companies.  These questions will allow you to easily identify legit moving companies over other companies that cut several dangerous corners to keep their prices low.

To help, we have supplied Gentle Giant’s answers to each question.

1.) How do you select your employees?

Gentle Giant has an intensive interview process, complete with a full background check and a physical endurance test to make sure the candidate will make a successful Giant.

2.) Do you provide benefits for the movers?

Gentle Giant provides health and dental insurance, 401k, short and long term disability, as well as additional Health and Wellness benefits, including compensated gym membership.

3.) How many moves do you complete a year?

The number of moves Gentle Giant has done locally in Westchester County and Manhattan are only a fraction of the 13,000 moves Gentle Giant does nationally every year. This number has continued to rise as we expand across the country, strengthen relationships with Realtors in the regions we work in, and continue to grow our Interstate business.

4.) If there is a problem during the move, who will be handling it? Which department, individual, or a third party?

The Crew Chief’s Gentle Giant places in charge of moves are experienced, expert movers that have received extensive training which can often times can lead to the proper handling of claims right on the spot as they happen. However, if a problem needs further attention, Gentle Giant has a highly trained, in-house Quality Control Department that professionally and diligently handles every type of claim that comes in. In most cases, claims can be handled on the phone or in person by a handy Quality Control Field Representative, who can fix, repair, or replace almost anything.

5.) What type of estimates do you offer?

We offer hourly estimates and “not to exceed” estimates for local moves.  Binding estimates are offered for interstate moves.

6.)  Do you take credit cards?

Yes, as well as checks and cash.

7.) Are you (your company) a member of the American Moving and Storage Association, The Better Business Bureau, or are you listed as a Pro Mover?

Not only is Gentle Giant a part of the AMSA, but we were recognized as the Independent Mover of the Year in 2009 by the organization. In all of Gentle Giant’s regions, we are members of the Better Business Bureau and the Chamber of Commerce.

8.) Does your company offer secure storage?

Gentle Giant offers secure, fully insured storage options. Our storage comes with a detailed inventory list for easy access to specific items in storage. Climate controlled storage is also available in most regions.

9.) Do you offer insurance for moving?

Gentle Giant offers Full Replacement Value Insurance, Actual Value Replacement Insurance, and a Basic Liability Insurance. Insurance options are carefully explained to each customer during the booking process, and can be changed on the day of the move with the job’s Crew Chief.

10.) What makes you different from all the other movers?

Gentle Giant has been a leader in the moving industry because of our intense focus on customer service, the athleticism of the crews we send out on jobs, and our 100% Money Back Guarantee. Unheard of in the industry, this Guarantee states that Gentle Giant customers are entitled to a 100% money back satisfaction guarantee for each member of their moving crew: packer, driver, local mover, or long distance mover.

We hope that this has been helpful, and if in the end you want to go with Gentle Giant in New York, please call us at 1-800-442-6863 or Request an Estimate Online.

New York’s Best Moving Company, Gentle Giant, Puts the “Ability” in “Reliability”

For Gentle Giant’s New York Branch Manager Noah Duarte, stressing the importance of reliability is a task best done by example, not just words.

Noah has been at the core of Gentle Giant’s company culture for over a decade, and in that time has defined what it takes to be an exemplary Giant. On top of being an athletic, hard working individual that knows the safest, best ways to move furniture, Giants have to be reliable and dependable, because that is what sets us apart from our competition.

“Moving is not rocket science,” Duarte explains, “but being the best mover takes perfection in several different areas.”

Gentle Giant‘s mission to make every customer a fully satisfied customer starts before the customer is even a customer. In other words, when Noah or one of the other Giant’s he has trained to conduct on-site estimates goes to a potential customers house, they show up on time, dressed professionally, and equipped with the experience to accurately assess and evaluate the upcoming move. Taking this first step in the right direction sets the tone for what the customer can come to expect while working with Gentle Giant.

Come move day, Gentle Giant shows up on time, fully prepared and ready to work within the estimated time given, for the estimated price given. But Gentle Giant’s reliability does not end there. If anything goes wrong during the move, or if the customer was not 100% satisfied, our Quality Control department is on call and specially trained to make our customers happy.

If you are moving in the Westchester, NY area, and you want a mover you can rely on, call Gentle Giant Moving Company at 1-800-442-6863 or Request an Estimate Online.

3 Steps Gentle Giant Takes to Earn Repeat Customers

Across our 18 locations in 9 states, the Gentle Giant customer experience stays consistent. Whether a customer hires us to execute a Load and Deliver within our New England Region, or put some belongings into storage in Charlotte, NC, or do in-house moving in Seattle, they can count on a well trained, professional, and athletic crew showing up on time and ready to work hard, until you say the job is done. Having this consistency and reliability for over 30 years has earned us repeat business from customers that wouldn’t think of hiring any other company to do Gentle Giant’s job.

 Another reason our customers continue counting on Gentle Giant move after move is having the security of our 100% Money Back GuaranteeIn the unlikely event that you are dissatisfied with the performance of one of our moving crew members, Gentle Giant customers are entitled to a 100% money back satisfaction guarantee for each member of their moving crew: packer, driver, local mover, or long distance mover.

We also value every customer that has ever trusted us to move their most precious possessions. Earning and keeping customers takes dedication before, during, and after the move, which is why from the time you call to get an estimate from Gentle Giant to the customer follow up we conduct after the move, you will be treated like a VIP.

All Gentle Giant asks for from you is the opportunity to show you why we have been an industry leader for over three decades. Our hope is that after we move you once, you’ll be jumping for the Giants!

What New Hampshire Moving Company Gentle Giant is Looking Forward to in 2012

In the video below, Gentle Giant Moving Company Founder and CEO Larry O’Toole takes some time to look back at 2011, as well as look ahead to 2012. Larry started Gentle Giant 32 years ago, and has since grown the small moving company into the industry leader, with 18 offices in 9 states, including New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, Washington Dc and Virginia, North Carolina, Washington, and California.

 

Gentle Giant New York Has A Morale Problem

The problem with the morale in New York’s Gentle Giant Branch is that there is too much. Manager Noah Duarte and his crew have built a natural chemistry that allows them to not only work quickly and efficiently, but to enjoy every second of it.

By having a team of Giants that know each others strengths and weaknesses, the moves they go on are executed with a precision unmatched by movers that don’t have the type of morale Noah and his crew have.

On moving jobs, the going can get tough, but by having crews that support one another, the challenge becomes a memorable, fun experience. So, when you hire Gentle Giant New York, you’re not just getting professional movers, you’re getting terrific people.