Pacific Coast Business Times | More Than Muscle
By Dana Olsen
Business at Meathead Movers is stronger than ever after the San Luis Obispo company received a national award recognizing young entrepreneurs.
The Empact 100 list, which is in its inaugural year, honors companies owned and operated by people 20 and younger who are making a positive impact on the economy. Aaron and Evan Steed co-founded Meathead 14 years ago when they were students at San Luis Obispo High School. The brothers landed at No. 42 on this year’s list, which ranks the companies by revenue. Meathead’s revenue is not publicly disclosed.
Meathead, a private moving company that employs 200 college students throughout California, was selected for the list after Aaron Steed spoke at a College Entrepreneurs’ Organization event in October.
“The organizers asked me to submit Meathead’s information because of what we’re doing. The list recognizes young entrepreneurs who impact our economy and inspire others to join the movement to revitalize it,” said Aaron Steed, the company’s president and CEO. “My hope is that our story inspires others to start or grow their business and boost our economy.”
When the Steed brothers started Meathead in 1997, their goal was simple: make money. Being able to employ their friends was a perk.
“My brother was into football and I was into wrestling,” Steed said. “We were strong, and our parents’ friends constantly asked us to help out and do heavy lifting around the house. We decided to name ourselves Meathead Movers because that’s who we were.”
In 2001, the brothers got their moving license and became the youngest professional movers in town. Since then, Steed said, the company has been “crushing it”.
Meathead has hired student athletes from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, UC Santa Barbara, Cuesta College, Moorpark College, Hancock College and other schools in the region to operate its 32 trucks. In 2004, the U.S. Small Business Association honored the company with its Young Entrepreneur of the Year award.
In the past year, the company has added 106 jobs- largely because it opened an outpost in Los Angeles- and extended its moving services into Los Angeles and Orange County.
Sheena Lindahl, co-founder and president of Empact, said the companies on the list have created a total of 2,500 jobs in the U.S.
“These are young people who are going out there and making it possible for people to make a living,” Lindahl said. “What we’re trying to do with the list is make these young entrepreneurs stand out. Especially with the job crisis going on, we want to show that it’s a really serious thing to go out there and take risks and create jobs.”
The 100 winners were honored at the White House in November. Several entrepreneurial organizations, including Kauffman Foundation, Startup America Partnership, and Future of Entrepreneurship Education Summit and Opportunity International, teamed up with Empact to administer the award.
Meathead’s ultimate goal, Steed said, is to change the moving industry. Because most of the company’s employees are college-aged athletes (Meathead is the second-largest employer of Cal Poly students after the University itself), Steed said he runs Meathead as a mixture of a professional business, sports team and fraternity.
Meathead opened its version of a sorority house earlier this year when it launched a companion business called Meathead Packers. While there’s no rule that says movers must be male and packers must be female, all of the company’s packers are female.
“It’s obvious that women are going to be better packers than men,” Steed said. “They’re more organized, they have better handwriting on the boxes, and they put pink tissue and fabric sheets in there.”
Steed said the new packing service isn’t necessarily a big money maker, but its part of the company’s commitment to making moves go smoothly.
While Meathead extended its service to Southern California earlier this year, Steed said the company hopes to serve the region without opening additional offices.
He said the company is focused on streamlining and improving operations before it opens more locations.