Direction September/October 2017 - 35

Photo courtesy of Gentle Giant

"We've been working
harder over the last
three years than we did
in the first three years
when we started the
company."
-Jonathan Neal, CEO, Metropolitan Moving & Storage

move and gets them and their family
settled at the new location. It also
provides an additional two or three
temporary staff members from the
Boston headquarters to get the new
office off to a good start. The initial
promotion, advertising and booking
are also handled by the home office,
while the staff learns the territory and
handles on-site estimates.
"Ultimately, we expect them to do
everything themselves without a person in the office, so initially, we need
to give them a lot of long-distance
support," O'Toole said.
As people are hired, Gentle Giant
schedules on-site training. It also flies
the newly minted regional manager
to Boston for personalized operations,
finance, human resources and sales
instruction. Human resources and
leadership are huge challenges for new
managers, O'Toole said. "They have
to know how to recruit and how to
handle problems."
Financial management training is
key, too. "We make sure the person
understands the financial situation,"
O'Toole said. "We really have to
coach them on the finances so they
understand how many dollars are
coming in and going out."
O'Toole admitted that opening a
new remote office isn't easy, especially
for inexperienced managers. "Doing

all this on your own is very challenging," he said.
And from the company side, "It is
expensive to open an office with your
own people," O'Toole said. "You
aren't going to make money in the
beginning. That is a challenge for us."
FIRST CLASS MOVING SYSTEMS INC.
First Class Moving Systems Inc. CEO
Chris Hunt and Chief Operating
Officer Will Fallon met during college,
where they picked up a few bucks
working for a small moving company
in New Jersey.
Hunt went on to earn a law
degree. Fallon studied criminal
justice. They kept in touch, and both
moved to Florida in the late 1990s.
Despite having other careers, they
had a yen to start a moving business
of their own. So in 2000, each
kicked in $10,000, and they bought a
used truck from Graebel Van Lines.
Operating out of Fallon's house,
they specialized in Tampa-area local
moves. "We were a one-dimensional
consumer household goods company," Hunt said. "We didn't know
anything about the military business,
and we didn't have a single national
account. No one helped us. We had
to learn on our own."
In 2005, they got a break. They
joined National Van Lines and

SEPTEMBER | OCTOBER 2017

GENTLE GIANT MOVING
AND STORAGE CO.
Twenty-five years after the company
was founded in 1980, Boston-based
Gentle Giant began expanding its
operations outside of New England,
opening an average of one regional
moving and storage office every
year. The company now earns about
25 percent of its revenue outside
of the New England market, said
Gentle Giant founder and CEO
Larry O'Toole.
The secret to successful expansion,
O'Toole said, is finding people who
are skilled and committed employees
to run the remote offices.
When Gentle Giant is considering an expansion, it posts available
positions so potential internal candidates can apply. "We prefer to identify
someone within the company who
has come up on the trucks as a mover
and has gotten training in marketing,
finance and other aspects of logistics,"
O'Toole said. "We want a manager
who personally trains his staff to our
standards and culture-someone who
understands our culture."
After identifying the right person,
Gentle Giant pays for that person's

Gentle Giant team members pose with Luke, left, one of the company's training managers.

35
Direction

Thanks to the expansion, "We've been
working harder over the last three
years than we did in the first three
years when we started the company,"
Neal said.
Both men had played high school
and college athletics. Neal played
lacrosse; Bistle played baseball.
"Playing sports gave us a lot of
competitive drive," Neal said. "We
don't quit, and we don't take 'no' for
an answer."



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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