Direction September/October 2017 - 34

Photo courtesy of Metropolitan Moving & Storage

SEPTEMBER | OCTOBER 2017

Metropolitan Moving & Storage CEO Jonathan Neal moved the company into its current warehouse in 2014.

Direction

34

The recognition gave company CEO
Jonathan Neal and co-owner and
Chief Operating Officer Robert Bistle
plenty of bragging rights-and the
impetus to keep growing.
Neal and Bistle met while they
were working at another local moving
company in D.C. Neal was in the sales
department, while Bistle was involved
in the operations side.
In 2004, they started Metropolitan
with a savings account fattened by
the money they had made working
summers. Neal, with a background in
marketing, handled the business side,
while Bistle focused on operations.
They had one truck and four movers.
By the end of the first year, it was a
15-person operation. "We didn't go
crazy, but by 2008, we were up to five
trucks and 20 people," Neal said.
After 2009, when the real estate
market changed and tightened,
Metropolitan grew increasingly
reliant on referrals from real estate
professionals. In an effort to help
clients sell properties faster, real
estate salespeople were focusing on
decluttering and staging properties.
Instead of relying on storage, several
agents asked Metropolitan to take the
extra furnishings and store them in
their warehouse until the properties
sold and the customers were ready for

a full move. "The decluttering part
of the business grew until it was more
than a third of our total business,"
Neal said.
This meant the company required a
lot more storage. Metropolitan started
with a 1,500-square-foot warehouse
and expanded to a 3,500-squarefoot facility. By 2010, thanks to the
decluttering boom, it moved into a
13,000-square-foot warehouse. By the
time 2014 rolled around, Metropolitan
was again at storage capacity.
Neal said the company found
a well-located and brand-new
40,000-square-foot space that it
could design to meet its unique
needs and lease with an option to
buy. This deal allowed the company
to easily add two additional suburban
Washington, D.C., counties to its
service area and gave it good access
to a new connector highway that tied
all of its areas together.
Even though the space was attractive, making the decision was tough.
"We knew we'd have to reset our
gears," Neal said. "Even though we
were bringing over the contents of
our other warehouse, it wasn't enough
to fill 40,000 square feet. Moving
out there meant we needed to be
breaking all our records in order to
keep up with the costs involved with

the space-more expenses, more
insurance, more everything. We had to
get hungry again so we could fill this
beautiful new space."
Metropolitan made the move at the
beginning of December 2014, so it
would be ready by the time the busy
season started in April. There was a
year and a half left on the lease for its
old warehouse. Neal was confident
that someone would rent the old space
promptly. Unfortunately, he was
wrong-and the old space sat vacant
for 12 months.
Part of a solution came from doing
well by doing good. Metropolitan
offered the unused warehouse to a
charity to store items it was collecting
to give to clients. That donation not
only garnered the company lots of
good will and new customers, but
there were tax benefits as well.
Nevertheless, 2015 was a challenging year, but Neal said the company is
over the hump. Today, Metropolitan
is up to 20 vehicles and 48 movers,
and its new warehouse is full. It
gets straight A's on the Angie's List
customer service rating system, and
in 2016, it received the Super Service
Award from Angie's List for the
eighth straight year.
Metropolitan has always relied on its
owners' hard work and sweat equity.



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Direction September/October 2017

From the President
Industry News
What's New at AMSA
Supplier Profile
Growing a Moving Company Takes Heavy Lifting
Patent Trolls vs. Transportation Companies
Washington Watch
Fast Facts
Advertisers' Index
Direction September/October 2017 - Cover1
Direction September/October 2017 - Cover2
Direction September/October 2017 - 1
Direction September/October 2017 - 2
Direction September/October 2017 - 3
Direction September/October 2017 - 4
Direction September/October 2017 - 5
Direction September/October 2017 - 6
Direction September/October 2017 - 7
Direction September/October 2017 - From the President
Direction September/October 2017 - 9
Direction September/October 2017 - Industry News
Direction September/October 2017 - 11
Direction September/October 2017 - 12
Direction September/October 2017 - 13
Direction September/October 2017 - What's New at AMSA
Direction September/October 2017 - 15
Direction September/October 2017 - 16
Direction September/October 2017 - 17
Direction September/October 2017 - 18
Direction September/October 2017 - 19
Direction September/October 2017 - 20
Direction September/October 2017 - 21
Direction September/October 2017 - 22
Direction September/October 2017 - 23
Direction September/October 2017 - 24
Direction September/October 2017 - 25
Direction September/October 2017 - 26
Direction September/October 2017 - 27
Direction September/October 2017 - 28
Direction September/October 2017 - 29
Direction September/October 2017 - Supplier Profile
Direction September/October 2017 - 31
Direction September/October 2017 - Growing a Moving Company Takes Heavy Lifting
Direction September/October 2017 - 33
Direction September/October 2017 - 34
Direction September/October 2017 - 35
Direction September/October 2017 - 36
Direction September/October 2017 - 37
Direction September/October 2017 - Patent Trolls vs. Transportation Companies
Direction September/October 2017 - 39
Direction September/October 2017 - 40
Direction September/October 2017 - 41
Direction September/October 2017 - Washington Watch
Direction September/October 2017 - 43
Direction September/October 2017 - 44
Direction September/October 2017 - 45
Direction September/October 2017 - 46
Direction September/October 2017 - 47
Direction September/October 2017 - Advertisers' Index
Direction September/October 2017 - Cover3
Direction September/October 2017 - Cover4
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