We talk to movers every day from all over the country, spanning both coasts and the heartlands in between. Despite the variety in geography, time zones and temperatures, it was clear that most of you are currently feeling the hectic pace of the busy moving season. And the same can be said for some of our northern neighbors.
So for this month’s Truck Talks, we decided to chat with Zach Williams, Director of Marketing & Communications of Williams Moving & Storage, to learn a little bit more about the relocation climate in western Canada.
MCR: We’re in our peak-moving season right now (the summer months between Memorial Day and Labor Day). Is Canada’s busy season right now too?
Zach: Yes. Volumes pick up in June and the peak season will run through September.
MCR: How did Williams Moving & Storage get started in this business?
Zach: During the great depression in 1929, George Williams was driving around Vancouver looking for a job. He drove by the port and saw all of the immigrants getting off the ships. He noticed an elderly lady struggling to pull a trunk full of her belongings, so he got out and asked if he could help her get to where she was going. When he dropped her off at her at her destination, the lady gave him some money. A light bulb went off, and Williams Transfer was born.
He worked everyday, transporting people from the port to their destination. What started with trunks and luggage eventually turned into furniture. When he became busy enough, he bought some trucks, hired some people and changed the name to Williams Moving. 84 years later, we are the largest family-owned moving company in Canada.
MCR: What are some common misconceptions between moving in the U.S. versus moving in Canada?
Zach: We have never moved anybody into an igloo!
MCR: Any fun local industry lingo you want to share with us?
Zach: “Bead” when referring to packing tape. You will often hear professional movers saying “put a bead on it!” when packing a carton or wrapping a piece of furniture. What they are actually saying is “put some tape on it!”
MCR: It’s been our experience that movers are usually very active and involved in their community. Does Williams Moving & Storage have any charities, projects or community activities that you’re close to?
Zach: We are heavily involved with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). Former Williams President & CEO Sonny Williams succumbed to it in 1996. We hold many events throughout the year to raise money and awareness. We are also heavily involved in the community. We participate in local events all over British Columbia and Alberta. We firmly believe in giving back to the communities that we work and live in.
MCR: What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever moved for a customer?
Zach: Our Special Products Division transported a giant telescope up a mountain to an observatory once. We have also transported dinosaur skeletons for a museum exhibit.
MCR: What are some of the biggest mistakes you see when you arrive at a move job and how can these be prevented?
Zach: Our biggest thing is communication. Ensure the customer and your sales team have worked out all the details of the move. This allows Operations to provide your crews with the tools they need to perform the job, and sets the move up for success.
MCR: What advice would you give to a customer on their first move?
Zach: Do your homework! Make sure you qualify the moving companies you get quotes from. We often tell our customers to check with the BBB or look for reviews online.
MCR: Brokers, rogues and unlicensed moving companies are a big issue in the U.S. Is Canada fighting similar competition from rogue movers?
Zach: Yes unfortunately we are. It seems like anyone with a pickup truck thinks they can be a professional mover. It gives the industry a bad name, however there is not much that we can do about it. The best way to combat it is to educate the consumer on what to look for when selecting a professional moving company.
MCR: What advice would you give to a new moving company just starting in this business?
Zach: Buckle up!
Thanks for the tips Zach. We hope you and the Williams Moving & Storage team have a productive rest of the moving season. Next time we move, we’ll be sure to “put a bead on it!”
Have questions you’d love to see in a future Truck Talks? Give us a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org.