Moving On; The Gentle Giant Alumni Bios – Jim Ladio

Jim (4th from the Left) with his lightning fast Syracuse University Crew Team

For this month’s “Moving On” Alumni Bio, we’re going to find out more about Jim Ladio, one of the most fun loving young Giants we’ve worked with in recent years.

How You Heard About Gentle Giant - “From (incredibly handsome Gentle Giant Moving Company legend) Mitch Curtis! We were playing softball and Mitch mentioned Gentle Giant to me while he was hurling softballs in his trademark short shorts. Then, when I came back from a wilderness certification and self-sufficiency program in Washington State, he set me up with an interview. If I would have never left my corporate finance desk to become a wild man of the woods, I would have never found GG and I would be less of a human as I stand here now.”

Gentle Giant Tenure - September 2010 – January 2013

Locations Worked Out Of – Somerville, Franklin, Marlborough, Acton

Favorite Giants to Work With – “Greg Larson, Jeff Pope, Pat Andrus, Nuno Melo, Tom Travers, and everybody else who would get mad if i didn’t mention their name.”

Most Challenging Job – “It was an average day moving pianos with Pat when we suddenly realized a job had been left off the schedule. We had to get a massive concert grand rental (sitting quietly at another location across town) to Harvard University (back across town in the opposite direction) for an important alumni banquet, and we had about half the time we normally would have needed to get it done. 1 hour and 20 minutes later, we had the 9 footer carefully wedged into the food services elevator at Harvard after Pat pulled the entire thing in by himself, leaving tuna tartar and beef carpaccio scattered on the ground from zooming past the slow-moving caterers. Up it went and out onto the stage with 3 minutes to get tuned and ready. All set after 2 minutes, 1 minute to spare, with no one the wiser!”

Favorite part of Working at GG – “The immensely positive feeling of a day’s hard work… every single day on the trucks.”

Best Score – “The brand new king bed that I sleep on!”

Jim won Allie's heart in Italy by wearing GG gear

LIFE AFTER GENTLE GIANT

Where Traveled To - “2.5 weeks on a whim to Ireland, Germany and Switzerland for one amazing trip. Then, left for Italy for 6 months to volunteer on a 1,200 acre honey, olive oil, and cattle farm in the heart of Tuscany.  http://www.barbiallanuova.it/  Check it out!”

Jobs Had – “From Italy to California, I’m now working with The Organizer Guys http://organizerguys.com/ in the Bay Area, putting the skills I acquired at Gentle Giant to great use.”

What Does Your Future Hold – “I’m hoping to help propel this company to greater heights, which may include developing a mutually beneficial relationship with Gentle Giant’s San Francisco Moving Company Great Giant at the same time.”

How Has Gentle Giant Helped You in Your Career – “I’ve never worked harder in my life. GG pushes excellence, perseverance, and personal growth in their Giants through teamwork and a commitment to providing an elite, customer focused service. Moving furniture is only a part of what Gentle Giant does. They’re in the business of empowering men and women to lead a purpose filled life. The recognition they give for hard, challenging work will do that to you.”

Gentle Giant Moving Company and Their Intense Warehouse Gym

At Gentle Giant Moving Company, health and fitness is a top priority, which is why the industry leader has dedicated space in their warehouse to build a full gym for Operations and Office staff.

Employees of the Boston moving company can work out with professional trainer John Zimmer to perfect form, increase strength, and maximize endurance, which is one way Gentle Giant decreases the chance of workplace injuries and promotes healthy living on and off the job.

This fun video gives you a peak inside Gentle Giant’s training center and how this incredible gym came to be at Gentle Giant Headquarters in Boston. Enjoy!

 

Having a Co-Chief on the Job Ensures Every Move Goes Smoothly

By the middle of winter it becomes apparent to everyone at Gentle Giant just how seasonal the moving business can be.  But during these slower times we remember that we’re always building a stronger company.  We often compare this seasonal cycle to the flight of a commercial jet liner.  During the summer we’re in flight at 30,000 ft. and strictly focused on getting jobs done well.  During the winter the plane is on the ground in the hangar, and it’s time to perform the necessary maintenance before the next busy season.

The Giants with another happy customer

This winter, Gentle Giant’s Training Department has worked hard developing a new role that will greatly improve our customer service and operational capacities for the busy summer and beyond.  The new role we’re introducing is called the “Co-Chief.”  The purpose of this role is to be a second in command to the Crew Chief; but even more importantly to support the Crew Chief on successfully executing every important detail that our customers have come to expect.

As a company and service provider, Gentle Giant has always prided itself on delivering the greatest possible moving experience for our customers, guaranteed.  To deliver on this promise, we have always challenged ourselves to grow the types and levels of service that we offer.  In this new age of moving services we are able to provide everything from storage to furniture restoration.  While our skilled Crew Chiefs are focused on making every customer “a customer for life,” and ensuring every job runs smoothly from beginning to end, it’s important for them to know that someone else on their team can share accountability for some of the details and support them in their roll.

The Co-Chief will also be key in making sure our crews hit all the important “Brand Essentials” during the job, including discussing Gentle Giant Restoration, preparing and giving out the Comment Card, and writing the Thank You card.  We are looking forward to beginning this new program because we are confident that this will help develop stronger Crew Chiefs, increase customer satisfaction and retention, and improve our company, top to bottom.

Meet the Giants: Allston Piano Manager Pat Andrus

Pat Andrus is the embodiment of a Gentle Giant. While his body builder physique makes even the heaviest pianos seem lightweight, his approach to piano moving is gentle, calm, and confident.

Pat on the job in downtown Boston with the Allston Piano truck.

After growing up in Gloucester, MA, the nation’s oldest fishing port, and graduating from Westfield State College, Pat dove head first into the corporate world, but realized after a few years that he was becoming burnt out on the grind’s monotony and headaches. He began looking for a change of pace, and in his research for a new vocation, he came upon Gentle Giant.

“I thought to myself, if I am going to become a mover, I’m going to work for the best,” Andrus explains.

Being a collegiate football player made Pat use to physically demanding activities, and was fully prepared to meet the demands of Gentle Giant’s challenging every day moves. From the beginning, his favorite part of working at Gentle Giant was being able to manage customer’s expectations while executing difficult and stressful moves.

Pat spent his first year at Gentle Giant getting used to the pace of the trucks and ultimately thrived. The culmination of his hard work throughout the first year came when he was awarded co-Rookie of the Year with Brandon Sparks, who is now Branch Manager of Gentle Giant’s San Francisco office, Great Giant Moving Company.

Shortly after his second year at the Giant, Andrus found himself at a crossroad. He loved the company, culture, and his coworkers, but wasn’t sure there was any room for advancement for him within the company. Thankfully Gentle Giant has a track record of promoting excellent people, and approached Pat with the prospect of managing Allston Piano Moving Company, Gentle Giant’s recently acquired piano moving division. Needless to say, Pat jumped at the chance to manage the business, develop new crew chiefs, and book big jobs.

Pat on the beach in Nantucket after another successful piano move.

“Being placed in charge of Allston Piano provided me with an excellent opportunity to make my mark at Gentle Giant and help grow a brand within the company,” Pat notes. “I really enjoy the challenges that come with my position and the success we have achieved thus far.”

In less than five years, Pat went from a helper on the trucks to the Branch Manager of Allston Piano Movers.  “Working on the trucks taught me about teamwork, strategy, customer service, and properly managing high pressure situations, which are now the tools I rely on in my management role.”

During these five years, Pat witnessed Gentle Giant struggle after the housing market collapsed. What impressed him the most at that time was how Gentle Giant was able to dramatically streamline the organization without having to sacrifice any jobs. “Surviving those tough years was no small task in an industry with such small margins, but Gentle Giant survived by maintaining their commitment to employees.”

When Pat isn’t estimating piano moves, booking jobs, managing crews, training rookie piano movers, starring in commercials, or bringing grand pianos down from the 4th floor of a Beacon Hill condo on his back while four other guys hold the balance, Pat enjoys strength training, hiking, spending time with his English bulldog Riley, and taking every opportunity to enjoy the ocean.

Moving Yourself? Pack Like the Pros with These Helpful Tips – Part 1

These days, everyone is looking to save a few dollars, and this is especially the case when relocating yourself and your family. Buying a home is expensive enough, so it is no surprise that one of the most common questions we get asked at Gentle Giant is “how can I cut costs during my move?”

The simplest answer is to buy used packing boxes and pack yourself. Although it may seem like a daunting task, we assure you it is not as bad as you think. As long as you give yourself enough time before the move, take it room by room and step by step, packing doesn’t have to be a daunting task.

The first step in a successful pack is using the proper boxes. By familiarizing yourself with the best boxes to use for the various items you’ll be packing, you’ll prevent the boxes bottoms from giving out. Additionally, you won’t be doing yourself any favors by filling an extra large box with heavy books and cans of soup. An extremely heavy box going through your living room floor is a surefire way to lose your security deposit.

The Book Box - 1.5 Cubic Feet of Raw Power!

This adorable little box may be small, but it is not to trifled with. It packs a mean punch by being able to hold up to 65 lbs. of your heaviest books, wine bottles, CD’s or vinyl records, hand tools, canned goods, dry food, kitchen utensils, or any other smaller, heavy items.

 

 

The Linen Box – 3.1 Cubic Ft. of Cardboard Boxery!

This medium sized box can take almost anything you can throw at it. If you’re in the mood for packing linens, folded clothes, pots and pans, toys, lampshades, or pillows, this bad boy is the box for you!

 

 

 

The “Large” Linen Box – 4.5 Cubic Ft. of Boxy Goodness

This beautiful box is certainly not your grandparents Large Linen Box! Not for the feint of heart, this box is similar to the 3.1 cubic ft. Linen Box, but is better equipped to handle lighter, bulkier items like linens, folded clothes, blankets, quilts, and pillows. This box can also be used to protect over-sized lampshades.

 

The Dish Barrel – A 5.2 Cubic Ft. Box that can dish it AND take it!

For years, people have griped that there is simply no perfect box to pack dishes, well now those people can take those gripes, wrap them up in packing paper, and safely pack them in this double corrugated with their dishes, china, glassware, lamps, and other fragile items!

 

 

For fans of vintage Gentle Giant, take a look at this great video starring our Director of Sales, Tom O’Gorman, as he walks viewers through the box selection!

 

 

What Secret to a Fast Move Other Companies Don’t Want You To Know

Great Giant Moving Company in San Francisco has begun to make a name for itself by blasting out difficult moves in record time while showing great respect for all the pieces moved. For other companies, moving fast sometimes means moving carelessly, but not Great Giant.

One secret they begged us not to share was their secret for flying large items out of the house quickly while maximizing room on the truck. You didn’t hear this from us, but because Great Giant hires athletes whose strength often match their speed, they are able to blast large pieces like desks, filing cabinets, nightstands and dressers out of the house while leaving their contents inside. That’s right, a dresser full of clothes would normally take some time to empty and box up, but when Great Giant is on the job, the dresser is inspected to make sure it can be moved with its contents, then it is wrapped up and carried out of the house with as much ease as if it were empty. For desks, it takes an extra step because the drawers have a lot of loose items that need some attention. In instances like this, the Giants will take packing paper and stuff the drawers so that nothing shifts in transit.

One note on filing cabinets. The Giants will of course move filing cabinets with contents, but it is recommended to empty a few drawers because with it full, there is a greater chance of damaging the cabinet in transit on account of all the weight.

This may all sound too good to be true, so to see it for yourself, call Great Giant at 1-800-442-6863 or Request an Estimate Online.

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.

10 Questions You NEED to Ask Before Hiring a Mover in San Francisco

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 San Francisco Branch, Great Giant, has compiled a list of 10 Questions you NEED to ask while you are researching moving companies in San Francisco.  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 Great Giant’s answers to each question.

1.) How do you select your employees?

Gentle Giant and Great Giant have 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?

Having only been operating in San Francisco for a year, the number of moves Great Giant has done locally in California is 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 Great 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, Great 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 Great Giant a part of the AMSA, but Gentle Giant was recognized by them as the Independent Mover of the Year in 2009. 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?

Great 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?

Great 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, and the same goes for Great Giant. 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 Great Giant in  San Francisco, please call us at 1-800-442-6863 or Request an Estimate Online.