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Hart Moving & Storage Celebrates 50 Years

2014 October 23
by Wheaton World Wide Moving
Hart Moving & Storage

Hart Moving & Storage celebrated its 50th anniversary last Thursday, October 16 in Lubbock, Texas. The event included a ribbon cutting ceremony with Lubbock Chamber of Commerce, facility tours, Barb-B-Que and refreshments.

Hart Moving & Storage has been a Wheaton World Wide Moving agent for 38 years and has won multiple Total Quality Care awards and the KCBD News Channel “Best of the West” in 2012. Founded by Joe Hart, their facility is located in the South Plains of the Lonestar State and is 75,000 square feet with 20 units of equipment and 25 employees.

Below are some pictures and video from the event.

Video:

http://youtu.be/7lbzMjpXKq8

Congratulations to Hart Moving & Storage on their 50th anniversary and to many more!

13 Cleaning Hacks to Help You Keep Your Deposit

2014 October 21
by Wheaton World Wide Moving
cleaning_supplies2

Done packing and think you’re ready to move? Not so fast. If you are leaving an apartment behind and want to retrieve your security deposit, you need to leave the property spotless. Even if you are moving from a house, you still want to clean whatever appliances you are taking and leave the new owners a happy home.

No need to rummage through your packed things for cleaning supplies. You likely don’t need to buy new products either-more supplies just mean more things to move. Most of these tips use common household items like vinegar and baking soda.

In the Bathroom

  1. Grout. Mix baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. Scrub the mixture into your grout, let it sit for a few minutes, and then rinse itoff. Also, soak cotton balls in bleach and place onto mildewed areas. 

    Natural cleaners. Vinegar, baking soda, salt and lemon.

    Lemon, vinegar, salt and baking soda can be used to clean almost anything.

  1. Showerhead. Fill a plastic bag with vinegar, and use a rubber band to attach the bag around your showerhead. Let it sit overnight. Future residents won’t have to worry about clogs or lower water pressure. While you’re cleaning the shower, use a fabric softener sheet to remove soap scum. 
  1. Drains. For a sink, combine baking soda and vinegar, and pour it down the drain while the mixture is still fizzing. Come back after an hour or more and flush the sink with hot water.
    • For a bathtub, you can add pressure to further strengthen your unclogging power. Pour the baking soda and vinegar mixture, stop the drain, and then fill in the bathtub. Take out the stopper after about an hour.
    • Boiling water and even Alka-Seltzer tablets have also been known to help with clogs.

4. Toilet. Don’t let hard water stains in your toilet bowl give you a headache. Luckily, there are several fixes. You can use a wet pumice stone and a soft touch to remove the rust. Or you can soak some toilet paper in vinegar and set it around the ring. If you’re feeling adventurous, use Coca-Cola. Pour a 12-ounce can of the soda in the toilet bowl, and watch the acidity break down your stains.

 In the Kitchen

  1. Oven. Pour 1/2 cup of ammonia into a bowl and leave it in your cool oven overnight. Clean out the next morning. While vinegar and baking soda suffice for a lot of cleaning needs, ovens often require a heavy-duty cleaner-this is a circumstance where you’ll want the extra help. 
  1. Microwave oven. Soak a sponge or washcloth, and microwave it for about two minutes on high. The steam and vapors will loosen all of that crusted-on mess. Grab the sponge or washcloth using an oven mitt-or a different cloth-and wipe down the sides. You can get the same effect with a small, microwavable cup of water. 
  1. Stove top. For gas stoves, pour baking soda around the burners. Then add a tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide. Wait a bit, and scrub the gunk away. For glass, electric stovetops, you should be able to clean most of the mess with simple dish liquid and water. Use baking soda to break down serious grime. Stove
  1. Cabinets. Got a greasy film on your wooden kitchen cabinets from cooking oils and grubby hands? Homeowners have seen success with mixtures of baking soda and water, baking soda and vegetable oil, and detergent and water. Use your favorite combination or whatever items you have on hand, scrub the surface, and rinse with water. 
  1. Dishwasher. Start by pulling out the filter and washing it as you would a dish. Once you put the filter back in, run the dishwasher on empty. You can either place a cup of vinegar on the top rack or put a few packets of sugar-free lemonade Kool-Aid in the dispenser to clear out residue. 
  1. Stainless steel surfaces. Buff counter tops, the exterior of appliances, and more with some olive oil on a washcloth.

All Around the House

  1. Blinds. Stick your hand in a clean, old sock and wipe down each of the blinds individually. To get rid of extra grime, dip the sock in a mixture of vinegar and water first. 
  1. Windows. Create a solution with one part vinegar to three parts water. Dunk a towel into the solution and clean your window.Wear gloves if you don’t want to smell like vinegar for hours afterward. Then crumple a piece of newspaper to buff up the window. 
  1. Carpet. Once again, vinegar saves the day. Most stains will come out with a cleaning solution of 1/4 teaspoon of vinegar (or a detergent that doesn’t contain bleach) and 4 cups of water.

For heavier stains, like wine, tea, chocolate, and coffee, use a mixture of 1 tablespoon of ammonia and 1 cup of water. Rubbing alcohol will work on glue or nail polish stains.

Use these simple and affordable cleaning solutions to leave behind sparkling surfaces. And most importantly, you can pick up your deposit and head off to your new home in peace.

Celebrate National Pizza Month

2014 October 16
by Wheaton World Wide Moving
Photo credit: IStock

In case you didn’t know, it is National Pizza Month and in the moving and storage industry, pizza should be the official food.

What else can you use bribe your friends with to help when packing?  With one simple phone call, pizza can show up at your place in less than an hour without distracting you from packing and moving tasks.

It’s also a great meal to make from scratch with those random ingredients that you might otherwise have to throw out when you relocate…  If you are in the middle of a move and would like to make pizza we’re here to help with the following 10 delicious recipes:

How to make dough:
Whisk 3 – 3/4 cups flour and a 1/2 teaspoons salt. Add 1 1/3 cups warm water, 1 tablespoon of sugar and 1 packet yeast. When foamy, mix in 3 tablespoons olive oil and knead until smooth. Brush with olive oil, cover in a bowl and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour 30 minutes. Divide into two 1-pound balls. Use 1 pound per recipe unless noted.

To save time, you can buy premade dough at your local grocery store or pizzeria.

New York Style
Oil a 15-inch pizza pan and press the dough onto it. Sprinkle olive oil on to the dough, then top with 1/2 cup tomato sauce and 2 cups shredded mozzarella. Bake until golden, then garnish with pecorino, dried oregano and olive oil.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pizza_in_the_United_States#mediaviewer/File:New_York-Style_Pizza.png

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pizza_in_the_United_States#mediaviewer/File:New_York-Style_Pizza.png

Margherita Pizza
Make the dough into two 9-inch rounds. Top each with 1/2 cup crushed tomatoes, dried oregano, salt, pepper and olive oil; bake until golden. Sprinkle with 1/2 pound diced mozzarella, pieces of basil and salt. Bake until the cheese melts, then drizzle with olive oil.

BBQ Chicken
Make the dough into a 15-by-9-inch rectangle. Top with cooked chicken, 1/4 cup barbecue sauce, scallions, jalapeños and 1 cup shredded cheddar. Bake until golden.

Sicilian
Oil a rimmed baking sheet and press the dough onto it. Cover and set aside until doubled. Top with 3/4 cup tomato sauce and 2 cups shredded mozzarella; put olive oil on top and back until golden.

Bacon-Egg
Press dough into 6-inch rounds. Top each with diced raw bacon and bake until crisp. Crack an egg onto each crust and top with olive oil, salt and pepper and bake until the eggs set. Top with baby greens such as spinach or kale.

Artichoke
Stretch dough into a 15-inch round; brush with olive oil. Top with 1 cup shredded asiago and grilled halved artichoke hearts. Sprinkle with thyme; bake until golden.

Hawaiian
Stretch dough into a 15-inch round. Top with 1/2 cup each tomato sauce, shredded mozzarella and diced pineapple, 2 ounces sliced ham, and red pepper flakes; bake until golden.

Vegetable Pizza
Make the dough into 15-inch rounds and bake until crisp. Mix 8 ounces cream cheese, 1/2 cup sour cream, 2 tablespoons chopped basil and 1 minced garlic clove. Spread over crust. Top with chopped mixed fresh vegetables (any available) and shredded cheddar. Sprinkle with paprika.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pizza_in_the_United_States#mediaviewer/File:Chicago-style_pizza.jpg

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pizza_in_the_United_States#mediaviewer/File:Chicago-style_pizza.jpg

Chicago Style
Dust a 10-inch cake pan with oil and cornmeal and press 2 pounds dough into it. Top with 2 cups each shredded mozzarella and tomato sauce, some cooked sausage and Italian seasoning. Bake at 425 degrees, 40 minutes.

Squash-Pepper
Stretch dough into a 15-by-9-inch rectangle. Top with paper-thin slices of butternut squash, caramelized onions, olive oil and red pepper flakes. Bake until crisp.

What is your favorite pizza recipe? Let us know by commenting below.

 

For these recipes and more, please visit foodnetwork.com

Where Florida Begins: Jacksonville

2014 October 14
by Wheaton World Wide Moving
Jacksonville

If you are looking for a place with beautiful weather, nature, golf and of course plenty of beaches, then Jacksonville, Florida is for you. After a brief hiatus, we are continuing “Road Trip” series by traveling to Jacksonville, Fla.

Spanning over 840 square miles, Jacksonville is the largest U.S. city by area, as well as, the most populous city in Florida and 14th largest in the United States. It is located on the St. Johns River and the Atlantic Ocean. It is home to the second-largest port of the East Coast which contributes to its steady economic growth.

Ask any Jaxon and they will tell you the biggest benefit of living in Jacksonville is the weather. Jacksonville has a tropical, warm climate with mild winters, however the city is hot and humid during the summers, which can be overwhelming to many. Even though it is located on the Atlantic Ocean, Jacksonville rarely sees hurricanes.

17th_at_sawgrass

Photo Credit: PGA Tour

What to Do:

Photo credit: http://www.cruisenewser.com/jacksonville-port/

Photo credit: http://www.cruisenewser.com/jacksonville-port/

Obviously, the beach is the most popular destination for tourists and residents alike. For most residents of the city they have access to a beach within an hour drive. Jacksonville also boasts the largest urban park system with 262 designated parks, covering 80,000 acres.

Jacksonville offers plenty to do for the sports and recreation aficionado. The PGA tour headquarters is located in Ponte Vedra and hosts the annual Players Championships. Not a pro golfer? No worries, there are over 70 private and public courses available for your choosing. If golfing isn’t your thing, Jacksonville is home to the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars.

Best neighborhoods:

Consider these neighborhoods when looking for a home in the Jacksonville area.

Northside – These neighborhoods are located close to the airport, Jacksonville zoo and Huguenot Park. Convenient commute downtown, but it is far enough away that is the most rural section of Jacksonville. Many of the properties are on the riverfront.

Riverside – Riverside Avenue had the reputation in the early 1900’s as one of the most beautiful streets in America. It is just a short commute to downtown with the St. Johns River nearby. The St. Vincent’s Medical Center is located here along with plenty of doctor’s offices. This is a trendy area for restaurants, clubs and funky shops and is known for being fun and youthful among the young professional crowd.

jacksonville_beach_pier_sig

Photo Credit: http://www.insideflorida.com/photo/279/

The Beaches – This is the priciest, but most desirable neighborhoods in the Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach and Jacksonville Beach areas. Locals spend their weekends biking, surfing, running or rollerblading. First Street runs through all of the beach communities.

Orange Park (Westside) – A 45-minute commute from downtown, Orange Park (Westside) is known for its reasonable housing prices in more rural settings. Neighborhoods such as Fleming Island and Doctors Inlet offer convenient dining and shopping, but overall the neighborhoods are still have wooded areas.

Ready to Move?

With all that Jacksonville has to offer, who wouldn’t want to relocate there? After all, the cost of living in Jacksonville is less than the National Average and the job growth continues to improve by 2.4%.

We can help you get there! Wheaton World Wide has two agents located in the Jacksonville area to help with any move to and from Jacksonville.

Florida Transfer & Storage
2940 W. 45th St.
Jacksonville, FL 32209
Phone: (888) 828-6398
www.flatransfer.com

Veteran’s Moving & Storage
5591 Commonwealth Ave.Jacksonville, FL 32254
Phone: (904) 683-6445
www.veteransmovingandstoragellc.com

Road Trip: Wheaton World Wide Moving

Be sure to stay connected with Wheaton as we continue our cross-country journey.  So far, we’ve made stops in Los Angeles, Calif., Pittsburgh, Pa., Atlanta, Chicago, Ill. and Charlotte, N.C.

Wheaton World Wide Moving license plate

Next Stop:

We will be exploring Madison, Wisconsin on our next road trip, but we need your help! Let us know the best places to live, things to do and where to eat by commenting below or on our facebook and twitter pages. #RoadTrip

 

 

On the Road with A.J. – The Finale

2014 October 9
last

I was pumped. I had helped load, unload, load again and now, 2,500 miles later, it was time to deliver our new favorite customer’s household goods to her new home. I felt like I had been through a mini apprenticeship and learned a lot in a very short period of time. And Bob was going to let me do a lot more now that I’d paid some dues.

“We’re a few minutes early, why don’t you go get us some coffee,” said Bob as we pulled up on the side of the road just before turning into Mrs. Bennett’s neighborhood. “There’s a 7-Eleven right up the road.”

That wasn’t exactly what I had in mind, but hey, the new guy has to take care of the important stuff. By the time I got back, we were ready to roll. An excited Mrs. Bennett waved to us from her garage as we pulled up.

“I’m so glad to see you guys,” she said. It had been a long trip for her too. She and her son made the drive just a day or so before and it was clear they were pretty tired too.

We got right to work and I was assigned to floor protection duty, putting down furniture blankets then Masonite in a strategically arranged path to roll dollies throughout the house without causing damage.

I unwrapped furniture, put together tables, lamps and whatever came my way. Speaking of lamps, I got in a fight with one of those three-part torch lamps with the wire running inside the entire length from the base to the housing of the little light bulbs that get to be 400 degrees when lit. In the end, I won, but only after I scratched the heck out of the middle tube after it became incredibly uncooperative and lopsided as I was trying to screw it together.

After a full week on the road, and a lot of coffee-fetching, this was my moment to pull rank. This was my moment to throw my weight around and make something happen – just because I can.

“Mrs. Bennett, I’m afraid I’ve scratched up your lamp. I want you to take a look at it let me know what you think. Once you do, if you’re concerned, I’ll be happy to simply replace the lamp and we’ll just take care of it before I leave,” I said smugly.

“Oh, don’t worry about it,” she said. “I’ve had that thing forever. It’s not expensive at all. No worries.”

Seriously? Well, I tried.Bob and AJ's trip

As I’ve already noted, Tampa was hot and humid and by 2 p.m. (just as Bob had predicted) we were finishing up the delivery and I started pulling up the floor protection, folding up furniture blankets and collecting garbage – tons of tape, cardboard bits from torn cartons and empty water bottles. We had one job left – an extra stop to Mrs. Bennett’s son’s home to deliver a heavy gun safe. It was a short drive and the AAA Moving & Storage helpers made short work of it – just as the afternoon rain started to fall.

As we headed back to AAA to pick up my stuff and for Bob to get on the road to Georgia to deliver his next customer, I was a bit sad that the whole adventure was coming to a close. I said my goodbye’s (after another Italian sausage from Victor’s food truck across the street) and Bob took off in his truck honking the horn all the way out into the street.

Marty Shulz from AAA was kind enough to take me to the airport, about a half hour away. As we neared the turnoff, I got a frantic call from Bob who was well on his way down the road. Turns out, something was wrong with Mrs. Bennett’s bed and she wanted Bob to turn around, or someone to come fix it.

Marty and I went into action. We exited the highway and drove back to Mrs. Bennett’s house. Someone else would have to get the coffee this time – now I was in-charge.

Mrs. Bennett showed us the bed. “I don’t ever remember seeing that board before,” she said pointing to what looked like a very complicated set of drawers attached to the foot of the bed.

Marty and I must have stared at that thing for 15 minutes before either one of us had a good idea. In the end, I owe Marty a debt of gratitude because he finally figured it out. I was clueless and I’m sure I went pale when I realized that there was the distinct possibility that we would never get it put back together.

After borrowing Mrs. Bennett’s only screwdriver (thank goodness the screws were Phillips and so was the screwdriver), we re-assembled the bed and drawers and Mrs. Bennett gave us her sign off. We said goodbye (again) and headed to the airport. My adventure was complete.

If you’ll indulge me in a few final comments:  I’d like to thank Bob and Lori Krumpols and their staff for setting up this opportunity – these folks are at the top of their game and consummate professionals in their craft. I couldn’t have asked for a better guide to provide me with insight into the INCREDIBLY hard work our Wheaton and Bekins drivers, agents, packers loaders and helpers do every day.

I am humbled by the complexity, experience, physicality, mental fortitude, tenacity and perseverance of these folks and their ability to wake up the next day and do it again, creating another satisfied and loyal customer. On more than one occasion, a loader, helper or Bob himself said, “it’s not rocket science.”

No. But few things besides rocket science are. It is, however, Relocation Science, and anything less than that acknowledgement sells this profession far short of its true value.

I’m proud to work with the Wheaton | Bekins network and all of you.

 

Enjoy some photos and videos of A.J.’s trip below:

Video tour of Bob’s Truck

Moving household goods between a truck and a shuttle

 

On the Road with A.J. is a blog series written by Executive Vice President of Wheaton World Wide Moving, A.J. Schneider as he travels across the country with truck driver Bob Krumpols of Preferred Movers of Nashville, Tenn. He will be experiencing life on the road while assisting with everyday interstate moves.  Follow A.J.’s journey on the Wheaton World Wide Moving blog, Facebook page and Twitter page.

A Personal Customer Experience Leads to Increased Customer Engagement at Wheaton World Wide Moving

2014 October 7
by Wheaton World Wide Moving
I-Heart-Customers-High-Res

By Stephanie Linville, Director of Market Research & Pricing

The customer experience (CX) is no longer a series of independent interactions customers have with the various touch points in our organization; it’s an ongoing dialogue between Wheaton World Wide Moving and our customers.

This journey begins when customers are deciding which van line to choose to move their household goods on an interstate move. While some might view the customer relationship ending when the move is complete, the reality is the dialogue continues in the form of our customer surveys, referrals of our company to family and friends (which, by the way, happens to be our biggest source of new customers), repeat business with former customers and online reviews posted to social media.

Engaged customers are those who continue this dialogue with us. They are loyal enough to refer us to others and/or continue to use us for their future moves. If these customer behaviors are our end goal, then how can we get our customers engaged with Wheaton World Wide?

Providing a personal customer experience isLoveCustomerSign_Wheaton the key to engaging our customers. That said, we are fortunate this challenge should be easier to accomplish in the moving and storage business than in other industries, since our service is a highly personal one. We are in our customers’ homes, handling their belongings and interacting with members of their family, including their children and pets.

In addition, generally speaking, most people do not make multiple interstate moves during their lifetime, but when they do, the experience is a major life event due to the significant expense and stress. Because of these factors, when Wheaton does an excellent or poor job, customers feel strongly enough about our performance to let us know. This is one of the reasons why we have such a great response rate to our customer surveys – currently 55% for our electronic surveys.

What does this mean? Well, simply by the nature of our business, all of our customers have the potential to be highly engaged. And if the Wheaton World Wide customer experience is affected by every touch point in the organization, then all of our employees, agents, drivers and crew members impact CX in some way.

Tuesday, October 7th, marks the second annual CX Day, and at Wheaton World Wide we are celebrating our customers during the entire week of October 6 – 10! Just like we showed gratitude for our drivers during Driver Appreciation Week, we will continue this successful marketing campaign and show appreciation for our customers by having our agents, drivers and employees take pictures of themselves (and customers, if possible) holding “I ‘heart’ customers” signs and upload these images to our social media sites. We look forward to a fun and memorable CX Day!

Photos from some CX Day events:

Wheaton World Wide Moving employees helped create a poster with their hand prints to signify all hands are involved every move.

 

On the Road with A.J. – Day Six

2014 October 6
AAA 2

Loading a shuttle truck in the heat and humidity of Tampa, Fla. is a maddening process. In your mind, you know that what you’re doing is simply the same  — exact – thing you just did at origin in terms of reloading the truck. And in this case, we needed a shuttle at origin too. But mind over matter is the name of the game. And once we parked the big rig in the lot of AAA Moving & Storage and pulled up the shuttle truck, we started the transfer like it was a new job.

aaa 3

Roger Thompson, Judi Gottried, Marty Schulz of AAA Moving & Storage

We had pulled into town that morning and the folks at AAA were waiting for us to get started, including Roger Thompson who was our primary loader and arranged the majority of the items we transferred from the big truck to the little one. I was already anticipating the fact that I would be more participative as we got closer to final delivery – I had learned a few things along the way and I knew Bob would let me do more. I was right, and the sweating started like a waterfall.

vICTOR 2

Victor Victor, the hot dog guy and his special Italian sausage

About two hours into the process, the skies opened up and a steamy rain soaked the parking lot, not cooling off anything, but made our efforts like operating under water. When the rain slowed down, a vote was cast (I wasn’t there for the vote) and I was elected to get lunch across the street at a food truck parked next to a junk yard.

While this blog was intended to be about moving, I’m going to take a side track and tell you about the best Italian sausage I’ve ever had. Victor, the owner of the food truck piled on the onions, peppers, sauerkraut, ketchup, mustard and whatever else your heart could desire. He told me people come from miles around to pick up his sausage to put in spaghetti or other dishes because it’s so good. We were in food heaven – never mind that it felt like 100 degrees outside. Nothing stops me from eating. Clearly.

We took a break to eat and then got right back to loading the shuttle truck in preparation for final delivery the next day. We agreed to meet back at AAA at 7 a.m. and then head to our customer’s new home to unload. I was anxious to finish the job, but knew I was in for a workout.

 

AAA 1

Loading a shipment to a shuttle at AAA Moving & Storage in Tampa, Fla.

 

On the Road with A.J. is a blog series written by Executive Vice President of Wheaton World Wide Moving, A.J. Schneider as he travels across the country with truck driver Bob Krumpols of Preferred Movers of Nashville, Tenn. He will be experiencing life on the road while assisting with everyday interstate moves.  Follow A.J.’s journey on the Wheaton World Wide Moving blog, Facebook page and Twitter page.

On the Road with A.J. – Day Five

2014 September 30
by Wheaton World Wide Moving
Florida!

So here’s the thing….when a truck driver asks you to scout out a spot to park the truck for the evening, make sure you know what you’re talking about. As I ran back to the truck – proudly, I might add – to let Bob know that it would be no problem to park in the back of the Holiday Inn Express in Valdosta, Georgia, my confidence level was 100 percent.

As Bob slammed on the brakes about halfway toward the spot I had identified, the look on his face indicated that my confidence was no longer warranted – not even a little bit.

“This is a big truck,” said Bob, clearly annoyed. “I couldn’t event get one of our regular trucks in there.”

At this point, the truck was past the point of no return – backing up was the only option. Bob jumped out of the truck to survey my fiasco and then motioned me to come around.

“OK,” he said. “I’m going to back up and get parallel to that truck over there. You get behind me and make sure I don’t run into him or the fence. If I get close, make sure you let me know…can you do that?”

Bob did a masterful job overcoming my rookie mistake and backing the truck into the specific spot he was looking for. And I did a terrible job indicating how close the back of the truck was to other stationary objects. In the end, Bob took me aside and showed me how to properly indicate how much space is left at the back of the truck so the driver can see you in the rear-view mirrors and step on the brake in time to avoid an accident.

A tractor-trailer is a massive object. Perhaps you’ve gathered this by now, but calculating the swing of the truck and the trailer around corners, keeping the tires and fenders away from tall curbs and generally planning your exit from wherever you park is something that comes with a lot of experience.

Clearly, the same concerns apply to parking near a customer’s house and why information regarding potential shuttles is so important to discover before the driver ever shows up.

Tomorrow, we’re loading our customer’s shipment onto a shuttle truck to deliver it on Wednesday to residence – more to come!

Valdosta, Ga

On the Road with A.J. is a blog series written by Executive Vice President of Wheaton World Wide Moving, A.J. Schneider as he travels across the country with truck driver Bob Krumpols of Preferred Movers of Nashville, Tenn. He will be experiencing life on the road while assisting with everyday interstate moves.  Follow A.J.’s journey on the Wheaton World Wide Moving blog, Facebook page and Twitter page.

On the Road with A.J. – Day Four

2014 September 29

What are the odds? As we pulled in the Flying J truck stop for lunch, there sat a Wheaton truck with the “kids in the box” logo. Looks like everyone had the same idea – take a break and grab something to eat.Truck 5

We looked around for the Wheaton driver but never crossed paths and by the time we got back outside he was already gone. It was good to see a familiar logo. In the meantime, I wandered around the store where yoTruck 1u could buy anything from tools and GPS devices to wood carvings of animals and chicken fingers…which I did….and lots of them.

As I wandered around thinking of the reasons why I should buy a key chain with my name on it, or a “just truckin” t-shirt, the loudspeaker came on with the following announcement:

“Customer number nine, your shower is ready. Customer number nine…your shower is ready.”

Yes…since you asked… I thought about finding a way to take a picture of the pay showers at the truck stop, but no matter how I worked through it, the result ended in my arrest. So, you’ll have to use your imagination.

Besides the moving part of Truck 2our business, drivers have a lot to contend with as it relates to the little things we take for granted – like finding a place to take a shower. Or finding a hotel that has appropriate truck parking. Many drivers have “sleeper cabs” with enough space to bunk down for the night, but without the amenities of water or refrigeration for food. Luckily for me, Bob’s truck is the exception and he has both – so getting a cold drink or grabbing a snack is a lot easier. Bottom line, if you have eating tendencies like mine (..Truck 3in my world, chicken wings are their own food group) it would be very difficult to eat healthy meals when fast food and truck-stop burritos are prevalent.

Another thought occurred to me – there’s no such thing as a sick day. If you’re supposed to be at the customer’s home at 8 a.m. on Wednesday morning, you can’t simply call off because you have the flu. There’s no backup plan to have someone fill-in for you if you start to feel bad at 9 p.m. the night before.

I asked Bob what the options are in that situation. The answer? There are no options – you fight through it and get the job done.

When you think about it, most of us have some flexibility in our jobs. We can use our PTO time or a sick day and more than likely, someone in the office can pick up the slack when you’re down and out. When you’re out on the road, there’s tremendous autonomy, and tremendous pressure.

We’re sitting still for today to make sure our Hours of Service are reset and that we’re ready to go tomorrow when we’ll begin our trek to Tampa, Fla. to deliver Mrs Bennett’s shipment – right on time.

Check back later for a video tour of Bob’s truck!

 

On the Road with A.J. is a blog series written by Executive Vice President of Wheaton World Wide Moving, A.J. Schneider as he travels across the country with truck driver Bob Krumpols of Preferred Movers of Nashville, Tenn. He will be experiencing life on the road while assisting with everyday interstate moves.  Follow A.J.’s journey on the Wheaton World Wide Moving blog, Facebook page and Twitter page.

On the Road with A.J. – Day Three

2014 September 27
by Wheaton World Wide Moving
Selfie

For those of us who find ourselves yelling at the slow person in the left lane to move over,  you’ll find it interesting to note that truck drivers do exactly the same thing to each other. Sitting up high in the cab of a truck gives you a completely different perspective on the road. It’s almost like there are two different, but parallel universes happening on the highway – one up here and one down there. It’s a bit disconcerting for the uninitiated. But once you get the hang of it, the massive windshield and the height perspective give you an unbelievable view of all the scenery our country has to offer.

From the antelope, horses and cows in the grassy plains, to the mountains and interesting rock formations, we Day three - 2saw it all unfold on a 60 mph (…maybe faster…) HD screen in front of us. The screen was covered in bug juice, but that just adds to the reality of the situation.

Having said that, if you have attention deficit issues, then Nebraska and the portions of Wyoming we drove through today would not be a problem as there is little to pay close attention to…if you know what I’m saying. Which leads to the issue at hand – our drivers spend hundreds of hours and thousands of miles on the road that could easily put you to sleep with its monotony. It’s also physically taxing to drive a big-rig weighing many tons made up of truck, trailer, sloshing fuel (more than 300 gallons) and, of course, household goods. Add a brisk wind to the mix and you’ve got a chore on your hands to keep the truck in the middle your lane.

It’s not easy to drive those hours by yourself in the cab of a truck. Personally, I don’t like myself well enough to spend that much time alone…with myself.

That’s just my opinion after driving my first full day – we’ll test my theory on tomorrow’s drive. And to be clear (…this is for the benefit our award winning safety director) I have not, aDay three - 3nd will not attempt to drive the truck at any point during this process. I promise. I did request and receive the requisite passenger authorization to ride in the truck, in case you were wondering.

And since we’re talking about safety issues, I thought I’d take it a step further. Last week, Mark Kirschner and I spent time in Washington, D.C. visiting our state legislators at the Capitol in order to ensure that the various rules affecting our industry were top-of-mind. One of those issues are Hours of Service rules. I won’t bore you with a recap of the rules – any driver reading this knows full well what they are. As a company, we believe strongly in a culture of safety both for our drivers and for the people with whom they share the road. The rules are there for good reasons.

However, I am now keenly aware of the planning that drivers must do to ensure they meet their hours-of-service driving requirements. It’s not a simple task to plan out a trip based on load and delivery spreads, customer expectations, customer reality and then unforeseen circumstances. For example, one of the issues we discussed with our state representatives is the oversight in the regulations that makes it difficult for drivers to get their trucks out of their customer’s neighborhoods and to a safe place where they can spend the night if their driving hours for the day are used up. As an industry, for example, we’d like to see an allowance that would let drivers to go a certain distance away from residence even if loading runs long for the day. Getting stranded in a neighborhood due to hours of service rules isn’t good for anybody.

Wow – that got serious for a second. But I want to illustrate the point that the word “driving” is a bit of a misnomer when you’re referring to the profession. It’s much more. It’s clearly time management, financial management, people management (remember the customers, packers, movers and loaders) and the plain old stress management of knowing you’re driving nearly 3,000 miles from Salt Lake City to Tampa Florida and then back to Kennesaw, Georgia.

As we drove along, Bob reminded me that our first customer delivery, for Mrs. Bennett in Tampa, was hinging on the fact that she too was making the trek from origin to destination by car.

“That’s a lot of driving,” said Bob shaking his head. And she’s not a professional. We’ll be checking on her progress over the weekend.

On the Road with A.J. is a blog series written by Executive Vice President of Wheaton World Wide Moving, A.J. Schneider as he travels across the country with truck driver Bob Krumpols of Preferred Movers of Nashville, Tenn. He will be experiencing life on the road while assisting with everyday interstate moves.  Follow A.J.’s journey on the Wheaton World Wide Moving blog, Facebook page and Twitter page