Meathead Movers starts with muscle power to grow company with 32 trucks
Ventura County Star By Mark Storer Thursday, December 8, 2011
Aaron Steed, 30, and his brother Evan, 29, were in high school in the 1990s when they decided they had to figure out a way to make some money.
“We were both student-athletes,” Aaron Steed said. “We had to find something that was flexible because of our schedules, and we came up with the idea of helping people move.”
The start of the Steeds’ business education took place outside the classroom.
“In the beginning, we’d work for friends’ parents and others that we got to know. They’d rent a U-Haul and then come and pick us up because we couldn’t drive,” said Aaron Steed, a high school wrestler. “We learned that by being polite, having a good attitude and not damaging furniture, we made more money.”
That revelation led to the formation of Meathead Movers, a company that now owns 32 trucks and employs 200 people. This month, the brothers received the Empact 100 award, an honor granted by Empact, a conglomerate of businesses, chambers of commerce and others who vote on the Top 100 entrepreneurial private startup companies run by people 30 and younger.
On Nov. 17, President Barack Obama’s senior staff honored the Steeds at the White House as entrepreneurs who are working to improve the economy.
The ceremony was streamed live at www.whitehouse.gov and featured a number of other young entrepreneurs who received the Empact 100 award.
“We’re really pleased with the award and with the recognition,” said Evan Steed, who played high school football.
In 2007, Meathead Movers, based in San Luis Obispo, opened a Camarillo office and bought a home there.
“It’s really taken off,” Aaron Steed said of the business. “Last year, we hired 106 employees, most of them college student-athletes, and started servicing L.A. and Orange counties.”
“We’re in the worst job and business climate since 1929,” Evan Steed said. “The worst sector of that climate is the 18- to 25 year-olds who can’t find employment. We’re hiring student athletes, traditionally a group that has a hard time finding work, and providing jobs right here in our own backyard with the opportunity for advancement,” he said.
The Steeds train their employees and provide opportunities for advancement.
“We have meatheads, who are the employees in the field who do the moving,” Evan Steed said. “Then there are super-meatheads and then mentors.”
Inside the office, the titles are far more traditional, with crew coordinators and operations managers.
“Our general manager, Angela Allen, has worked her way up from a part-time customer service representative to general manager of a multimillion- dollar company with 200 employees,” Evan Steed said.
The company has grown 30 percent in the past year.
“We hire strong, clean-cut, drug-free student athletes,” Aaron Steed said. “The two guys who load your belongings will be the same two who deliver them. We concentrate on one customer at a time, and we don’t charge by weight. Customers get a ‘not-to-exceed’ price, and we always try to come in lower than that.” Movers also can earn tips.
Meathead Movers has national ambitions, according to Aaron Steed, but for now is concentrating primarily on the Central Coast to San Diego.
“This industry is ripe for disruption,” Aaron Steed said. “We’ve set a new standard for what to expect from a mover, and we make the experience fun for customers.
There’s a lot of trust, comfort and emotion involved in this business, so we hire people who understand that.”
“We definitely want to inspire people to take action as entrepreneurs,” Aaron Steed said. “We’re a bootstrap company. We didn’t use venture capitalists. We started with no trucks, just the manpower, and now we have 32 trucks. What we’re proudest of is that we empower student athletes and give them a path to advancement while focusing on their goals.”
Evan Steed said: “My proudest moment was when one of our employees got married and bought a house. That’s when I realized that we are all about the American dream: achieving through hard work and dedication.”