Falling for fall

Written by Dawn Kroeger

autumn-homeNow’s the time when college football chatter is a hot topic at the office, caramel apple and pumpkin flavored drinks are available at your local coffee shop, the Pottery Barn Kids Halloween costume catalogue is delivered to your door step – there is no denying, signs of fall are everywhere.

I love everything fall – decorations, events, and food. Yet, here I find myself, dusting off the same old fall decorations (didn’t I JUST put these away?) and putting them on display, again. Every year I tell myself I will shop the 70% off sales at the end of the season for new fall decorations. And every year, by the time those sales come around, I’m completely over the season and well on my way to winter depression. So this year, I found a few quick ways to spruce up that awesome autumn atmosphere in my home and prepare it for Old Man Winter.

1. Homemade potpourri: In the absence of a fall candle, I remembered my grandmother used to simmer a pot on the stove and it made her home smell like fall heaven. I just threw together water, cloves, cinnamon sticks, and a sliced apple and simmered on the stove. Instantly, my family wanted to know what smelled so good. There are several other recipes to try, too!

2. Clean the gutters: Before the leaves start flying this fall, take the time to clean out your gutters. Clogged gutters can lead to damaged exterior surfaces and lead to water in your basement. Once they’re clean, look into gutter mesh guards to prevent leaves from getting in.

hurricane3. Fall hurricane: I loosely followed the instructions for the fall hurricane found here. It was easy and fun for kids to help create and it makes a festive yet affordable centerpiece. When the fall season is over, I plan to replace the seeds and candle with ceramic bulbs in holiday colors.

4. Fall flowers: Nothing says fall like a hardy mum. These babies come in many colors and can be purchased at your local farmers market very affordably. I purchased three: two for my front porch and one for my entry way. The site of the robust flower makes me happy each time I walk in my door. Added benefit for anyone with a less-than-green-thumb: It’s nearly impossible to kill one of these beauties.

5. Furnace: The weather is starting to get cooler and it’s time to give your furnace a checkup. It’s a good idea to have your heating system inspected by a professional and cleaned to ensure your home is toasty warm this winter. To avoid the last-minute rush, consider scheduling this task in early fall, before the heating season begins.

Now, with the time and money you saved, grab yourself a hot caramel cider and spend the afternoon on Pinterest pinning a multitude of fall recipes you may or may not decide to make.

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is the first and largest franchised moving company in the United States. Let us help move you forward! For more helpful tips and information on moving services subscribe to our blog and like us on Facebook.

Downsize your home using these 5 easy tips

DSC_0274Written by Claire Schneider

Are you currently in the process of downsizing your home? Whether you’re an empty nester trading your home for a condominium or you’ve decided on a high rise in the city, what to keep is often the toughest decision in the process. We’ve compiled a few tips to help you organize and prepare for downsizing your life to make the most of the tighter space in your new place.

Assess your actual needs

In my opinion this is the hardest phase of downsizing, but it is the most crucial. It’s tough to go through every belonging and decide what needs to move with you and what needs to go. Make it easier by determining whether you would need to replace a specific item if you got rid of it prior to your move. Go through room by room starting with the kitchen, since kitchen items don’t typically hold as much sentimental value. Also, keep in mind how often you’ve actually used each item. For instance, that oversized platter you only take out for Thanksgiving. If you’re considering keeping something “just in case,” it’s a good indicator you should either donate it or place the item in storage.

Another way to decide if an item should move with you is to think about how much space you’re willing to give that item in your new home. The giant, decorated vase may be very pretty, but are you willing to give up floor space for it? Instead, think of ways you can incorporate shelving or storage into your home décor.

For those sentimental items you can get rid of or put in storage, think of different ways you can keep it. Could your kids’ or grandkids’ artwork be kept in a scrapbook rather than a box in the closet?

Go through current storage areas

Storage spaces are areas we often ignore because the idea of sorting through them seems like a daunting task. Go through your basement, attic closets, and even your junk drawer. Take everything out and sort through each item, only putting back what you have used in the past year and donating the rest. Think about the storage spaces you will have in your next home and only keep what will fit.

Create a mock layout of your new rooms

Create a mock layout of the new rooms in your home to avoid realizing your oversized sectional won’t fit in your new living room on move day. This way you’ll have a great visual of what furniture will actually fit in the space, and avoid the unnecessary move day stress. Smaller home dwellers know it’s vital to avoid cluttering spaces with things which don’t serve a specific purpose. Instead, think of items that could serve dual purposes and incorporate them into your design elements.

Organize your move

DSC_0257When beginning to pack, be sure you pack items from the same room in the same box. This will reduce many headaches during the unpacking process. Label all boxes by what room they go in. You may want to buy different colored tape and coordinate it with each room in your new home.

If you’re moving to a condo or apartment with shared parking or an elevator, check with building management to see about reserving a parking space for the moving truck and if you can reserve the elevator on move day. This will not only make the move much easier, but if you hire movers, it will also save you time and money.

Be creative with new storage spaces

As noted previously, smaller homes generally lack storage. Once you’ve moved in, identify spaces where you can add storage space. A common hidden storage treasure is under staircases. Here you can use the wasted space to create a shelving unit or cubbies to hide items you use enough to not put in a storage unit. Instead of using a typical coffee table, invest in an ottoman and a tray. This way you can still have a place for your drinks as well as extra storage inside the ottoman. In the kitchen, use bench seats at the kitchen table; these are trending hot so there are a lot of choices, and, best of all, they provide ample storage.

At TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® we realize moving needs are unique for every customer, so we’re ready to customize a move to ensure the best moving experience. Our uniformed movers and drivers undergo extensive training; they are permanent employees, undergo background checks, and are subject to random drug testing. They are committed to exceeding expectations and ensuring your move is completed efficiently to keep your moving costs affordable.

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is the first and largest franchised moving company in the United States. Let us help move you forward! For more helpful tips and information on moving services subscribe to our blog and like us on Facebook.

Moving to an Island? TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® has you covered.

Written by Dawn Kroeger

During peak season, Mackinac Island is a tourist destination for up to 15,000 visitors daily and home to nearly 500 year-round residents. Perhaps the most noticeable observation upon arrival by first-time visitors is the absence of automobiles. Visitors and residents travel by foot, bicycle, or horse drawn carriage creating a throwback tempo comparable to the 19th century. Tour carriages and horse-drawn taxis transport folks wherever they need to go. But what happens when you happen to be one of those 500 year-round residents moving to the island? You call the best mover around, of course.

Bay 5Executing a smooth move is a work of both science and art. Over the past two decades many elements of the moving industry have changed, but some aspects have remained constant – movers, driver, and a truck. When the Bay City, Mich., location answered the call to move a family’s belongings to the island, they added a new element to the mix: movers, driver, and horse and buggy.

The Michigan franchise recently moved a customer to Mackinac Island, the premiere tourist spot for northern Michigan. The island, nestled within Lake Huron, is the perfect spot for hiking, biking, and indulging in infamous Mackinac Island fudge; however, it is not the easiest destination in which to complete a move. In addition to being surrounded by a body of water, the Bay City team had to undergo another obstacle since Mackinac Island outlaws motor vehicles, prohibiting a TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® truck from driving around the island.

Bay 1While every move completed is a bit different, the Mackinac Island move included a few more steps. The movers loaded the customer’s belongings onto the truck, rode a ferry over the waves of Lake Huron to the island, and then transferred the items onto a dray led by two horses. Once on the dray, the movers maneuvered the horse-drawn cart with the customer’s belongings through the bustling, winding streets of the island to the new home and unload. To minimize the length of the move, two horses and two drays each pulled 4,000 pounds at once and rotated between the dock and the customer’s home, creating a smooth move process uninterrupted by challenges.

“I was excited, nervous, and a bit shocked when we received the call to move someone to Mackinac Island,” said President of the Bay City location Jessica Pula. “We were bidding against two other major moving companies for the job.

In the end, the customer selected the locally owned TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® based on reputation and was thrilled with the outcome of the move to Michigan’s iconic Mackinac Island.

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TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is the first and largest franchised moving company in the United States. Let us help move you forward! For more helpful tips and information on moving services subscribe to our blog and like us on Facebook.

Eight interns and a truck – Part 6

Written by Cheyenne Yost

Abby King – Marketing

AbbyMeet Abby, she’s a marketing intern and my partner in crime here in the marketing department at TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®/INTERNATIONAL, Inc. We have teamed up on various projects and tasks throughout the summer. Though it’s only her first internship, Abby has gained an immeasurable amount of knowledge and experience in the corporate world. After meeting on our first day back in May, we became fast friends and I couldn’t have asked for a better coworker and newfound pal. Here’s what she had to say about her summer interning at TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®/INTERNATIONAL, Inc.

Q: Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your background?

Abby: I was born in Rockford, MI but lived most of my life in Okemos, MI. After I graduated from Okemos High School, I went off to college at Central Michigan University and I’m excited to start my senior year at CMU this upcoming fall. When I graduate in May I will finish with a degree in Advertising and MDPT (Media Design, Production & Technology).

Q: What made you apply at TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®?

Abby: TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® has always been a familiar company to me. CFO Jeff Wesley has been like my second dad since I became friends with his daughter in first grade, and I also went to school with CEO Brig Sorber’s son, Brycen. When I started to mature and actually understand the history and concept behind TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®, I realized how amazing it would be to work for such a highly respected company.

Q: What are your usual day-to-day tasks here at the office?

Abby: The awesome thing about being in the marketing department is there is no such thing as “usual day-to-day tasks”. One day I could be designing an ad for a TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® franchise, while the next day I could be walking around as our mascot Truckie at a local event, having kids bombard me. One of the biggest projects I have worked on this summer is updating the marketing grass roots manual for franchises to utilize. Not only have I helped update the content of the manual, but I have been given the opportunity to integrate my own designs with the original designs of TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®. I will be the first to admit that I do not have the patience or attention span to sit behind a desk and work on the same task all day, every day. That’s why marketing and I are a perfect match, the variety of tasks keeps me engaged and entertained.

Q: Do you have past internship experience or is this your first one?

Abby: TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is my first and most likely last internship experience. I think it is safe to say that an internship at any other company would not compare to my experience here.

Q: What is your favorite TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® Core Value and why?

Abby: I would have to say my favorite Core Value is THE GRANDMA RULE®. There is always a mutual understanding of the rule when I tell people it means “to treat everyone the way you would want your grandma to be treated.” I love how the concept of the THE GRANDMA RULE® is so simple, yet the message behind it is so meaningful.

Q: What are your interests or hobbies?

Abby: I enjoy being active and I’ve played/attempted just about every sport in high school. I spent the majority of my life playing basketball and soccer, temporarily “enjoyed” running track and cross country, and then resorted to less physical sports like lacrosse and golf. I do not take part in any sports or club teams at CMU. However, walking from class to class and studying 24/7 is about all the physical/mental activity my body can take.

Q: Who has been the best mentor or teacher for you?

Abby: Though both of my parents have equally been mentors for me, my dad has been more of my teacher when it comes to my degree and future career. Being the general manager at WILX 10, my dad knows the ins and outs of advertising and marketing. He motivates me to strive for my future goals and constantly gives me advice, even when I do not necessarily want or ask for it. Aside from my family, I consider Jeff Wesley to be one of my best educators. Ever since childhood, Jeff has been much more than a basketball coach, parent, and family friend; he has been one of my biggest fans and supporters through all of my good and bad times. Jeff Wesley is the perfect representation of the type of person who works for TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®, which is just another reason why I am so grateful for my internship at this company.

Q: Has the internship taught you anything about your field of study?

Abby: I can honestly say that I have learned more about marketing/advertising from this internship than I have from all of my college courses combined (sorry mom and dad). The amount of information this internship has helped me truly retain, is unreal. Being in an actual work environment with real world situations has taught me communication and coping skills that no professor would ever be able to teach me.

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

Abby: My plans after graduation include getting a job and moving to a city. I would be lying if I said I had any other plans.

Q: Name one goal you hope to accomplish while working here and what you hope to take away from this internship experience.

I hope to leave this internship with a stronger work ethic and a greater ability to adapt to my surroundings. I have a new perspective into the marketing world that I could not have gotten in a classroom.

If you are interested in working at TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® visit our careers website.

Eight interns and a truck – Part 5

Written by Cheyenne Yost

Kasey Trierweiler – Finance

Kasey TrierweilerMeet Kasey Trierweiler, one of the finance interns here at TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®/INTERNATIONAL, Inc. Returning for a second internship this summer, Kasey knows her way around the office and is the second returning intern placed this summer at the corporate office. Being back for a second year allows Kasey to immediately join the team and have an instant impact. We are grateful Kasey came back for a second time. Check out what Kasey had to say about her repeat appearance and her experience as a finance intern.

Q: Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your background?

Kasey: I am 21 years old and hail from Grand Ledge, Mich., which is just west of Lansing. I have four brothers, one sister, and a dog. I go to Madonna University where I major in accounting and play on the softball team. I’m planning to graduate in May 2015.

Q: What made you return to TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®?

Kasey: I interned here at the corporate headquarters last year and I loved it! I am glad they let me come back. I like the flexibility and work environment. I also had the chance this year to work on some projects related to the company evolution and investments that are associated with the Franchisees. TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is in the midst of multi-million dollar automation project and the support of these projects has been critical to our 20% per year annual growth.

Q: What are your day-to-day tasks here at the office?

Kasey: I am working on three projects right now: Open Sales Order Review, Missing Tracking Number Review, and Special Fees Review. The purpose of these reviews is to make sure franchisees and their administrative teams are utilizing our operating system in the most efficient and effective way possible.

For the Open Sales Order Review I run a report to see all the open sales orders for each franchise. If they have open sales orders, I send them a ticket asking them to close it and inquire if they need any assistance in doing so. This is important for royalty processing and for franchises to have the most up-to-date reporting as most reports are driven from closed sales orders. It’s really a critical piece to a smoothly running, transparent system. This data supports the TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® dashboards which are critical to ongoing continuous improvement training that TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® relies upon.

For the Missing Tracking Number Review, I pull up a report that shows all of the sales orders not yet printed off. I then go into our software and send out tickets to the appropriate franchises. This review prompts a notification to the franchises they may have missed printing a sales order to place in their files. If there is ever an on-site audit or a question from a customer, the franchise will be able to access the record quickly and with accuracy. The Special Fees Review is where I analyze all the charges franchises put into the special fee category and sort those out. This ensures they are properly classifying fees to aid in reporting and categorizing revenue correctly.

Q: What is your favorite TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® Core Value and why?

Kasey: “Be your best and have fun”, because if you are not doing that, then your work will have no meaning. When you have it, it fosters job satisfaction and unleashes creativity in all you do!

Q: What is the most valuable thing you’ve learned while interning at TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®/INTERNATIONAL, Inc.?

Kasey: I have learned about many different computer programs and software which will be useful to me in the future. I have also learned a great deal about time management and priorities when as it relates to project coordination and accountability.

Q: Has the internship taught you anything about your field of study?

Kasey: It has taught me that there are so many different areas within accounting. It’s also opened my eyes to the fact that this profession offers a lot of unexpected variety on a daily basis. At TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® the team I worked work with included the accounting area, the financial analyst team, the QuickBooks team, the procurement team and the project coordinators. There are so many different areas of expertise within this organization and lots of opportunities for great people.

Q: Do you have any advice for the other interns?

Kasey: Advice I would impart to other interns is to get to know the other workers in your department and to absorb the interactions as part of the learning experience. Also, ask any questions you have along the way. Everyone is happy to help the learning process along; they were there once upon a time! Helping each other is part of the culture at TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®.

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

Kasey: After I graduate with my Bachelor’s degree, I plan to go back to school so I can attain the extra credit hours I need and take the CPA exam.

Q: One goal you hope to accomplish this summer/what you hope to take away from the internship?

Kasey: After this summer, I hope to become more knowledgeable with all of the accounting software that we use such as QuickBooks and AX.

If you are interested in working at TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® visit our careers website.

Back-to-school shopping: Getting ready to bite the apple and not your wallet

back-to-school1“But EVERYONE has them!” If you have a child in school you’ve most likely heard these words uttered multiple times during the traditional back-to-school shopping season. The desire to fit in can cause tremendous stress on children which in turn creates an unhappy fall shopping experience. It doesn’t necessarily mean this needs to be a time of friction. We’ve compiled a few simple tips to make back-to-school shopping a fun way to end your summer while not breaking the bank.

Before setting out on the shopping excursion, set a budget for each kid, and have them list their top 10 items. This will help them to stay focused on the items they truly want instead of buying things at random. Start with the essentials, such as a backpack and school supplies, and then focus on the desired items. Recommend they buy a few items now then some a few weeks after school starts to cover everything on their list. This way you have a chance to break up the high costs and increase the chances of snagging some items on sale or clearance.

The big key to back-to-school shopping success is to stay disciplined. Stick to the budgets you agreed upon without wavering, especially if you have more than one child; otherwise, this has the potential to back fire. Also, only use cash and leave the credit cards and check books at home. This eliminates the chance of spending more money than allocated.

With juggling the costs of sporting goods, clothing, shoes, school supplies, field trips, and much more, finding those fall sales are crucial. Keep an eye on the deals at your child’s favorite stores. Some items could be 50 percent off! There are also a lot of great coupon apps out there which allow you to select your favorite stores to receive coupons and discounts on a regular basis. You can also enter which shopping center you are in to get a list of all the discounts near you.

For an opportunity to prepare an apprehensive child, get them involved in a great opportunity to give back to their community. Each year TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® Lansing participates in a program called Operation Backpack with additional area businesses and organizations. This program donates school items to local children in need. This year they are aiming to pass out 1,000 back packs stuffed with school supplies.

Motivate your kids and get them excited to start their new school year by letting them shop for children whose families cannot buy them school supplies. This makes it easier for a child to understand how fortunate they are before shopping, plus the virtue of helping others.

Are your kids starting a new school? Check out our blog for tips to help with the transition!

Eight interns and a truck – Part 4

Written by Cheyenne Yost

Victoria Trosko – Customer Care

Victoria TVictoria Trosko started her internship mid-May as the customer care intern here at TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®/INTERNATIONAL, Inc. I met Victoria on our first day and have gotten to know her through various events such as meetings and intern lunches. She is friendly and dedicated to her job and it’s been a genuine pleasure getting to know her. Here’s what Victoria had to say about her internship so far.

Q: Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your background?

Victoria: I am 20-years-old and from Haslett, Mich. I began my studies at Grand Valley State University, and I’m currently at Lansing Community College where I’ll get my degree from Ferris State University. I have two sisters, and I own a dog with whom I am obsessed!.

Q: What interested you to work at TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®?

Victoria: I’ve always heard amazing things about the company, and when my friend interned here last year and loved it, I decided to seek an internship opportunity as well. The opportunity I have been given has lived up to what I had heard and I have valued the time I have been able to learn and be part of such a great organization.

Q: What are your usual day-to-day tasks here at the office?

Victoria: The first half of my day I handle incoming “How’s My Driving?” telephone calls and positive customer emails, then compile them. I compose these into emails and send them out to franchises. For the second part of the day, I work at the front desk answering calls and helping out our receptionist. TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® has been growing rapidly and it’s been fulfilling an fun to see all the growth and new people while connecting them at the front desk or interacting with them daily in the building.

Q: What is your favorite TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® Core Value and why?

Victoria: “Be your best and have fun” is my favorite Core Value. Being your best personally and professionally are two of the most important things in life – only you can control them. I also think that most businesses merely focus on employees getting their work done and forget about creating an enjoyable work environment as well. Here people work hard, have fun, and are passionate about accomplishing the goals and vision of the organization. It’s a cool place to learn and work.

Q: Who has been the best mentor or teacher for you?

Victoria: Customer Care Manager Denise Droscha has been the best mentor to me because, just observing her day-to-day tasks, it’s clear she goes above and beyond. She is a dedicated employee at TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® in that she absolutely loves what she does and is phenomenal at it. I give her and her team all the credit in the world for finding solutions to the company’s toughest challenges and overcoming them with diligence, patience, and decisiveness. Denise’s positive attitude and drive is something I deem extremely admirable; I am grateful to observe and learn from someone with such strong character and integrity.

Q: Has the internship taught you anything about your field of study?

Victoria: Yes, in my major of business and administration, I can only learn so much in a classroom. This internship is a hands-on approach to learning, observing, and understanding all aspects of a well-run business. The company has doubled in size this last four years and is proactively investing in new projects to continue its success and seeing first-hand how people collaborate and execute daily projects and tasks is very enlightening.

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

Victoria: I would like to find a position in my field of study, one which I truly enjoy and one on which I can build a solid career. I want to add my contribution and make a difference.

Q: What is one goal you hope to accomplish while working here and what do you hope to take away from this internship experience?

Victoria: One goal I hope to accomplish is to become familiar with each department and gain a deeper understanding of what each area does for the brand. I hope to gain knowledge and experience from this internship I will be able to use throughout my career and in personal life. We have been fortunate to have lunch learns that teach us about all aspects of the business but also help us to grow as individuals.

Q: Okay, final question. If you were stranded on an island and could only bring 3 items, what would you choose and why?

Victoria: (1) My dog; (2) my best friend, Hayley; and (3) an endless supply of pasta! I chose my dog because I wouldn’t be able to go far away from her for that long. I chose Hayley because she is my best friend, and we basically do everything else together, so I might as well bring her. And finally I chose pasta because it is my favorite food, and I wouldn’t mind eating it every day.

If you are interested in working at TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® visit our careers website.

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is the first and largest franchised moving company in the United States. Let us help move you forward! For more helpful tips and information on moving services subscribe to our blog and like us on Facebook.