The Orange County Register: Meathead Movers hikes entry-level wage to $15 an hour
The company is looking to hire another 200 workers
BY KEVIN SMITH
Most businesses aren’t in a hurry to boost employee wages.
But Meathead Movers, which hires student-athletes for the heavy lifting, just hiked its entry-level pay from $12 an hour to $15 an hour. The increase comes a full three years before California’s minimum wage will reach that level.
Attracting and retaining employees
“We wanted to show our employees that we’re willing to make an above-and-beyond investment in them,” company CEO Aaron Steed explained. “We are hoping this will attract and retain more high-quality employees. But we will also expect a higher level of accountability.”
With offices in Santa Ana, Oxnard, San Luis Obispo, Bakersfield and Fresno, Meathead is the Golden State’s largest independent moving business. The San Luis Obispo business employs around 700 workers and operates a fleet of 110 trucks.
Hiring another 200 workers
Moving into its busiest season, Meathead is looking to hire another 200 employees across its five branches.
Steed knows what it’s like to be young while living and working in California.
“We know firsthand the struggles of making ends meet and the increased costs of living,” he said. “We started the company in high school because we needed to figure out a way to make money while keeping up with our athletic schedules. With that foundation, we are committed to making that a reality for our student-athlete employees. Increasing our pay was another step to ensuring that.”
All of the company’s movers and packers — roughly 650 of the workers — just received the pay increase. The other 50 employees work in administration and were already earning well above that rate.
Find more details about those jobs online at meatheadmovers.com/about-us/positions/.
Happy to get the raise
Bronson Pearce, who has worked with Meathead Movers for six months, was more than happy to get a pay increase.
“I came in to work one day and found out we were all getting raises,” the 22-year-old Bakersfield resident said. “This is huge.”
Passing the cost along
Steed acknowledged he had to tweak some things to make it happen.
“We had to raise our rates a bit in order to pay for this,” he said. “We’re passing two-thirds of the cost on to customers and we’re absorbing one-third of the increase. The increase for customers will be negligible … about 3 to 4 percent.”
Meathead’s wage hike puts the company at the upper end of the industry’s pay range. Figures from PayScale.com show the average rate for moving employees is $13.33 an hour.
How employees are recruited
Meathead recruits its student workers primarily from colleges, although some are high school students. Work shifts are scheduled around each employee’s school commitment and athletic events.
“A lot of our hires come from friends of our existing employees, and we offer incentives for job referrals,” Steed said. “We also go to athletic programs and let them know about the jobs we have available. We reach out to athletic teams at high schools and colleges and also go to storefronts and local gyms.”
Pearce, who currently works two days a week, plans to go full time when school’s out.
“I was about to get promoted to mentor so I would be making more money anyway, but this is another $3 an hour on top of that,” he said.
Mentors function as team captains for moving crews while also handling paperwork and training newcomers.
Popular with customers
Steed said his company is popular with clients because the workers are strong, clean cut and drug-free.
“All of our student/athlete workers are background checked,” he said. “We also have a moving concierge, which is free to customers. He can help quarterback other services, including storage, house cleaning and window washing.”
Meathead Movers handles local and long-distance moving for both residential and commercial customers. The company also operates two mini-storage facilities, as well as a wine storage operation in San Luis Obispo.