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Marianne Gariti – Moving Forward Senior Move Managers
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You have found Authentic Business
Adventures, the business program that brings
you the struggle
stories and triumphant successes
of business owners across the land.
And today I am excited to chat
with Marianne Gariti,
owner of Moving Forward Senior Move Managers
here in Madison, Wisconsin.
Is that right?
You guys do southern Wisconsin? We stay
mostly in Dane County, but we can
go around the whole state.
I just had the craziest Wisconsin
accent there didn’t I? Wisconsin.
So I’ve known you.
Let’s call it 15 ish years.
It’s been a while.
It has been a while.
So you’ve been an entrepreneur
for a long time?
So let’s start in the way beginning.
What did you do right before
you started a business?
Well, probably we’ve probably owned
my husband and I, have owned
I think three businesses.
Before we owned a medical practice,
he was a physician.
So he owned a medical practice. Ok. And then
we owned storage units for a while.
I didn’t know that.
Yes, we did.
We lived in Indiana, so we had the medical
practice and storage units, OK?
And then we moved and we
sold those two companies.
And then from there we bought a, we had an
ink and toner store, which,
you know well, over on University Avenue.
And so owning that store
for about six years.
And we started doing some
So I started getting into the recycling
side of things and helping people
dispose of things correctly.
And then we sold that company.
And then I just was looking
for a new adventure.
And I heard about this industry that I’m
in now, the senior move stuff.
So I want to pause for a second.
Just ask you about storage units.
Were those good?
Was it profitable?
We loved them.
And I think, you know,
it’s kind of right now we actually where
our office is located, we would like
to add some storage units, too,
because although we try to encourage
people not to save things
and just to downsize and be done with them.
There are situations where family
needs to come into town and look at things
or it is just a short period of time.
Oh, so it would make sense for us to still
own some storage units so still in our
in our plethora of things we enjoy.
So we may own them again someday soon
because that was kind of the golden
ticket, I don’t know, maybe a decade ago.
They’re pretty big still.
It’s still a huge growing industry.
So we went to a conference
once about them, actually.
It’s really an interesting
industry, that’s for sure.
I see them popping up everywhere there.
And my rule has always
been people have junk.
So whether they store it or not they just and again,
I’m definitely would prefer I’m
kind of against it overall.
I just think that people just put things
in there and they closed the door
and you forget about them.
So I and I really am very
big into just doing a short term.
idea like just to get you over a hurdle
like three months is OK, but thirty
years is not, type of thing.
So that’s so funny.
If you have for thirty years in a storage
room, it’s probably not that important.
We had when we were in Indiana,
we had a customer in there who honestly,
we never even met him.
He had three, ten by twenty units
and he had only owned them.
If there’s somebody owned the storage unit
before us he was one of their first renters.
So literally he was there like
twenty years, just the same.
Yeah, it’s pretty.
It’s pretty amazing.
He come and go.
Come and go but.
I don’t even want to ask
what’s in that storage.
Is there are those storage units.
So you got the senior move
thing and senior move
from what I understand from talking
to other people,
it’s a fairly new industry or someone
figured out, hey, this is a big deal.
We got to fix this. Relatively new,
yeah, I think basically.
So we’re part of the Association
of Move Managers and started
basically around twenty years ago.
So it’s been around for a little
longer than most people think.
I would not have guess that. Alright.
It’s just been growing.
There’s a thousand
thousand companies similar to mine,
although mine’s a little
unique in some aspects.
But there are about a thousand
of us around the country really.
It’s part of this association.
And internationally, there’s some
There’s a bunch in Canada.
Has that number exponentially gone up?
It’s gone up every year.
We go to conference every year.
So the number just keeps going up.
People just, yeah. That’s so cool.
Yeah, it’s great organization.
I love it.
So what did people do before
something like this existed?
Well, now we’ve had you know,
we’ve had such a change over
the years with baby boomers.
And so basically back before our industry,
a lot of people were
not living as long, first of all.
Oh, so they just die. Justhappens.
And they live with family members and
their possessions aren’t quite as great.
We’ve moved along the curve of having
the baby boomers who are
tend to be collectors.
They have they went through
a lot of hardships.
They tend to collect a lot of things.
So as this population has aged and then
their kids are coming up,
there’s just a whole
round of people that weren’t around
before, weren’t in need of the service.
As much as it is now.
The other part is that families
are spread apart much more so.
A lot of my clients are kids live
in New York or California, and their
parents needs to move from their family
home into independent living and
assistive living. Sure.
So they’re just not as close,
you know, that they can come and help
them on the weekends or whatever.
And so they just need
help for their parents.
So that’s typically what’s
kind of happening now.
So when you
when you reach out to your husband,
you’re like, hey,
I want to get in the senior move thing.
How did he react to that?
Yeah, I think that he some
degree was working with seniors.
So I think he’s always known that.
I don’t know that.
OK, back Becklinyears ago.
Back in the day.
Back in the day.
So I really liked working
with seniors a lot.
And I know and again,
after we sold the store,
I had a little time where I worked
at St Vincent de Paul and I kind of helped
them with some of their electronic
recycling for a real short period of time.
And while I was there, you know,
they’d get phone calls about people
who needed help getting their belongings.
They wanted to donate from the attics or.
OK, things are in the basement.
But they weren’t able
to physically go to the basement.
And so, as I was thinking of my new
new pathway and point is a lot of seniors
happen to be calling and they just
need some help inside their home.
So then I had networked with a gentleman
who worked for Comfort Keepers, actually,
and I think and I said,
hey, I have this idea.
What do you think?
If I start helping seniors downsize
and he’s the one who actually told me
about this and ask them,
the Association of Managers know there’s
already like a bunch
of people doing it around the
You know, you get a good idea, right?
Yes, there was I knew that this existed.
I like and it was pretty interesting,
like I found out about the organization
NASA in January and I called the office
and I spoke with, you know, the the ladies
in charge of the association.
We’re having a conference next month.
Why don’t you come to the conference now?
So I went to my first conference without
even owning a company, you know,
and I learned from all these wonderful
ladies and men around the country who have
been doing this for a few years now.
And it was just it’s a perfect fit
for this huge need that seniors
and their families want.
And then and then we were just
in a position to be able to kind
of create systems to help them easily.
I’ve always been curious about this,
how different business owners do something
like this, because what you guys do
is pretty capital intensive with the
trucks and labor and stuff like that.
Like where did you start and where are you
now from a capital point of view, did
you rent trucks back when you started?
And I have a small army
or how does that work?
That’s a good question.
So now we do own 16.
We have 16 vehicles in our fleet.
16 is insane.
I never saw that coming.
That’s a lot of tires.
So what we started out I’m
a pretty big Dave Ramsey fan.
I’m like, OK, we’re going
to start an adventure.
And of course, along our you know,
my husband and I, of course, you have
different men going into business.
You have some things that work
and you have a lot of overhead.
There’s all these potential headaches.
So like, OK, if I’m going to do another
business, I really want to make
sure that I’m financially sound.
I don’t want any debts.
I just want to go in slowly.
I don’t I wasn’t eager to, like,
accumulate a lot of financial risk.
And so I started out and, you know,
we started out it was just me for my one
of my first jobs and then,
like, was a lot of work.
So I brought in one employee
and then I kind of saved my money.
And then as soon as I had enough money
to buy my first truck,
I bought my first truck.
And it’s actually been
that system ever since.
To save money, we just buy another vehicle
is the need, you know, comes up all right.
And then, you know, it it’s definitely
it costs a lot on to own
vehicles to keep them up.
And, you know, this guy is working
and I make sure my stuff is safe.
So you have to be really right where
the insurance maintenance and it is huge.
And then so
I think that that has been an expense
that I just been monitoring
and not jumping in over my head.
And I think some some companies might just
go and lease a truck for, like, you know,
tens of thousands.
It could be it can be all over the board
if you really want to jump
in and buy brand new truck.
So for us, we just really tried.
My husband’s great
at finding our vehicles.
He goes online and he searches them out
and he looks for some
that have just what we want.
We have all white vehicles,
most of our Toyotas.
So we kind of have the standard.
And so we just kind of keep looking
out for what’s working for us.
And we just save our money and then we
buy the vehicle as we feel we need it.
I going to say I bought one car brand new
and I’m trying to sell it now.
It’s five years old
and I knew that I was going to lose money
on it, but I had no idea that I
was going to lose this much.
It hurts, doesn’t it?
So I can only imagine when you’re talking
I think it’s even worse.
It’s like we’ve just we’ve had really good
luck just buying ones that, you know,
we’re still in really good condition.
But they were used and it’s just been
it’s actually saved us.
I think I’ve known other people along
the way have just spent a lot of money.
And vehicles really.
And other things too.
But they can really just
drag you down quickly.
Yeah, I feel sometimes with the new stuff,
I guess there’s a pride
that probably comes with it.
Like, hey, this is mine,
it won’t break down,
but there’s no guarantee that definitely,
certainly had new cars, right?
Didn’t do what they should.
Do you do you’re moving trucks like these
new vans and stuff like that or have three
shots and then we have two
trailers and a pickup truck.
So we got to the point that you
need Creoles for some of those.
Nope, we don’t.
OK, our guys have to have
good driving records and.
No, we don’t have we’re not at the point
where we need cables and we don’t we only
do our moves within the state of Wisconsin
so we don’t cross state lines.
So we only work for the
trucks within the state.
you know, so interesting you say that good
driving record because back in the day
we’re talking a long time ago,
I used to be a lot.
Yeah, well, speed like a court.
And so I didn’t have the greatest
driving record in the world.
No DUI wise or anything,
like lots of speeding tickets,
plethora of speeding tickets.
And I went to get a job.
I don’t own installing fireplaces or
something like this way back when.
And they gave me the job.
You’re going to start on Monday,
They give me a call and they’re like,
dude, you’re driving record is terrible.
We can’t hire you.
I’m like, well, that’s that’s unfortunate.
So the next week I go looking for a job.
I got a job driving a concrete truck.
Oh, my gosh.
So that company,
you know, driving concrete truck,
I just feel
like I can be way more damage with this
eighty thousand pound concrete truck
than I could ever do with a van.
But you couldn’t speed of the concrete
trucks without a running start.
So maybe that was why I was kind of funny.
Oh, I got I couldn’t
drive advanced it does.
It haunts you those.
I guess maybe the size of the company
or something like that.
Or maybe I don’t know,
I wasn’t on crack so maybe whatever.
It’s one of those things.
So let’s talk about employees.
Because that’s you started with your
one and then you grew from there.
How many employees you have.
Nothing for about thirty seven.
And how long have you been doing this.
I’ll be seven years in February.
Yeah, it’s been great.
So has it been challenging
to find employees.
I’ve been super lucky and most
of my employees I should say,
they’re not all full time.
So I have a few that are more full time
in there, especially
my senior manager ladies.
They’re more of a part time as needed
because we do have a little
bit of variation throughout.
But, you know, I’ve just
been super fortunate.
A lot of my staff have come.
They’re friends of friends who knew
people working with our company.
Who that sounds really fun.
I want to come work there, too.
So that’s happened a lot.
And then it’s a unique group of folks
who a lot of them are
my senior manager ladies.
A lot of them have come from other
careers, like maybe their
teachers, social workers.
They work for the state of Wisconsin.
Now they’re looking for just
a little part time job.
So summer I retire, OK?
And so so they just kind of they
enjoyed having the flexibility.
And if they want to go on vacation, they
just tell me they want a month off and I.
Yeah, no problem.
So they like the flexibility,
but it still gives them a job that’s very
rewarding that they really
enjoy doing very cool.
And then my guys, I just
I feel really fortunate.
The gentleman who work for me as my movers
and hollers and we do a lot of trash
hauling and basement clean out.
So they they seem to like the kind
of the variety of it,
like some days maybe moving furniture
from point A to point B in other times you
might just be hauling
stuff down from an attic.
So it’s just very sure they kind
of like that mixture, I believe, too.
And they’re just they’re wonderful, man.
So that’s going to be hard work.
And I imagine some
basements are just creepy.
Or just dingy.
And when I’m interviewing people
for the job, I try to stress I’m like,
you know, we do work with people
and who have some hoarding tendencies.
But for the most part,
things are just neglected because maybe
the client hasn’t even been able to go
downstairs in twenty years or whatnot.
Sure, just neglected.
So you got to be able to handle a little
bit of dust, debris, mice, cats.
You got to be able to you have to be
able to handle it, the nastiness of it.
And then it’s physical.
So is one people that you’re
going to go home tired.
Even if you’re not moving,
you’re still moving lots of boxes of
books, which is moving endlessly, right?
Yeah, you’re just going home.
But most don’t like it because they
like the physical aspect of it.
That’s kind of why they they want to just
be active and that’s what
they’re kind of looking for.
Yeah, that’s fair.
I used to deliver beer years ago.
That’s the main reason I miss that job,
because you didn’t have to work out.
That’s what my guys say.
You’re the man I was in the best shape of
my life and I didn’t always health club.
Tossing kegs around and whatever.
Plus everybody loves a beer man.
Yeah they do.
And they so happy to see you coming.
Good luck with employees
you’re smart about.
You’re the fiscal stuff
and all that kind of stuff.
But you guys do a lot of stuff
besides just clean notes.
OK, so let’s go through the list
of all that you do for your clients.
Can do for your clients to imagine some.
And choose what they want.
They do pick and choose a bit.
So basically, when people approach us,
there’s a few different reasons why,
so lots of times that will be the children
of the senior who’s in transition
who call us to physically go in and sort
through a house, a family home that
the parents were living
in for the past 50 years.
And then my step would go in.
And so you’re kind of going room by room,
door by door, all the closets to identify
the items that are still
important to them.
And figure out, like,
what they would still like to tag.
You have a sticker system tag
and bring to their new space.
You’ll fall out and make sure
what they want to bring will fit.
And then we try to find ways.
And for the items that the family either
wants to keep items will ship ship items
to them around the country or wherever.
And then we have avenues to sell
and donate items that have some value.
We have we have our
partners lined up for that.
And then we always do a round of recycling
and trash and then we do clean out.
Well, we usually we usually
first clean the house.
So it’s prepared to go on the market.
So we spent some time with that cleaning
phase where we might bring
in a handyman or a painter.
We have to pull carpet if there’s like
beautiful wood floor under up
and just fixing stuff, OK?
Yes, we do a lot of that little handyman
work after we kind of have our clients
moved and settled into a new space.
With that, though,
when we’re doing the actual move part,
we are also doing the packing
and unpacking our client’s items and we’re
trying to recreate their
So it looks similar to how their home was
not kind of a key reason why people will
hire us, because they really want
to really we have to really keep and
be mindful of the fact that the clients
are losing a lot and they’re really trying
to make sure we make that process as
smooth and stress free
and by bringing those key items
kind of help with that transition.
So it seems like home
to the client, right?
When they get into their new day,
we try to get things unpacked, settled.
So they’re not in transition any
longer than they have to be.
So we try to kind of we work
along those thoughts a lot.
Furniture is laid out.
Stuff is hung up.
All the pictures are hung up.
The beds are made,
coffee pots are plugged in.
We kind of work on getting
spectrum hooked up.
So we make sure all these little details.
So that the family just doesn’t have to
think about all these
details because usually there’s
always some other part going on.
Either lots of clients maybe
had an illness or a fall.
So there’s lots of stuff on the health
side the families could be dealing with.
So we take away as much as we can
on the actual dealing with the physical
side of the items, the house, the move.
In that way, the family can kind
of focus on other things that we can’t.
yeah, I imagine I’m just trying to picture
a checklist for taking care of a parent
that’s in that position.
Like, that’s insane, right?
And I suppose I imagine a lot of this
comes on fairly quickly, right?
It does that at a fall or something
like that or stroke or whatever.
It’s not like you schedule
that stuff right.
And that just happens.
I think we’re pretty much
on that that pace that people call us
because that rush mode or
something urgent happen.
And so we have to be
able to respond quickly.
And it’s interesting,
with lots of hospitals and rehabs,
if somebody kind of runs out of money,
essentially, or Medicare says,
OK, we’re going to stop paying.
So, OK, they’re like, oh, my gosh,
now we have to move our parents from rehab
to assisted living, like in two days.
So that’s not really that fast.
Because there’s lots of different
restrictions when people are in rehab as
far as how long they can stay, OK,
and usually they get a notice and usually
it’s a short term that usually
they’re not going to tell you
you can get out next week.
It’s going to be within a short
amount of time, 48 hours it happens.
And so then we work within the family, of
course, gets super stressed about that.
So there’s been plenty of situations
where my staff would just say no problem.
And we go to and we’re kind
of familiar with this.
So we’ll go to the family home and kind
of figure out the items based on just kind
of being familiar with what the client
has been using most often.
So we identify the bed, the dresser,
the clothing that’s kind of in the center
of the closet that they’re
Most can go and they almost
do that stuff independently.
So the family doesn’t even need to go
with us and we just pack it up, move it,
unpack it and and just take that whole
stress off the family members.
Oh, that’s clever.
It’s really great.
It helps really.
And I imagine that just
comes with experience.
And again, we do a lot
with pictures and text.
And, you know,
there’s a lot of communication we’ve
done with the families and a pretty,
pretty serious level of what they’re going
through that because we’re just they’re
like, whatever you need,
we just we just could go in and do it.
Yeah, that’s so how this
is a big question, right?
Because with with calls on call,
we have this challenge.
We have to build trust with our clients as
fast as possible so that we
can do the best job possible.
Managing the same thing with you.
It is you trying to build trust
with people that you don’t even see.
They find you online or whatever.
Well, lots of times we do.
A new client visit usually
calls and then calls on.
The system that we use for answering
our phones, they do a great job
schedule, a new client visit,
and so we’ll go out and meet the family.
And it’s always it’s really amazing
because like you walk in the room,
you can just feel the tension because
there’s so much unknown and oh, my gosh,
I can never move out of this house.
And I think it’s not
going to happen for you.
They weren’t planning on it happening
soon or they don’t want it to happen.
So we just kind of walk through our
process with them and we just remind them
that, you know, it seems overwhelming.
But honestly, we’ll just go step by step.
And by the time we leave that new client
visit, you know, they feel like a load
has already been lifted off that.
So we kind of walk through
the house and say, it’s no problem.
You know, don’t worry,
we’ll find a home for the treadmill.
And don’t worry, we’ll take care
of the pool table, you know?
Yeah, we’ll move you if you want your
queen size bed, we’ll go see if
it fits in the new apartment.
So we kind of touch on all these areas
that have really been bothering them.
And so that really just seemed that first
after that first visit, I think we
connect really well with their clients.
And then from there, it’s just, you know,
communication and we’re just talking
like you’ve known them forever.
So we get
this feedback after
we’re done because it’s such a short
window that we’re with our families.
But this relationship is
just it’s really incredible.
They come connected.
You become quickly, right.
So like the Wolfe from Pulp Fiction, just
maybe a little more.
Less bloody, right.
But I imagine it’s a little
daunting for people because they’ve been
in this house for decades
now in an instant or so.
They have to get into a different place.
You know, set up.
And it is hard.
And sometimes that we feel
that they do want to do the move.
They just can’t
they just don’t understand, like,
how how how is it going to happen and, you
know, who’s going to get all this stuff.
And you just need to get a dumpster.
They just overwhelmed like,
oh, my God, I want to move.
But who’s going to handle who’s going
to help me through the belongings?
So I think we play a really key role.
And we’re like, OK, first of all, we don’t
hardly ever order dumpsters because
usually we try to find homes
for items by selling and donating.
So it’s like we come in with a dumpster,
it’s like, you know, around ten, like, OK,
if things can’t find a home, we work,
you know, we work without a great donation
sites, OK, if we can’t sell things.
But we always, we always start by saying
we have some value to sell that so
that money comes back to the family.
And then we work like I know
we’re doing a program with them.
Salvation Army, OK, that we’re doing
is called Make a House a home.
OK, so basically like beds is an example
of something that the
Salvation Army families need.
And then we tend to get lots of dark
and kind of give the beds from our
clients to the Salvation Army.
And so it kind of makes that process
easier on our clients to know that there
are things OK to a good a good home.
If you can something you just can’t sell.
But we could find homes for people
who truly need them, like right now.
So that’s just helps get over that hurdle.
And it just makes the process easier.
So I’m just trying to imagine
not getting a dumpster.
I helped my son, my great uncle passed
away and this is probably
fifteen, twenty years ago.
He lived in that house
forever as as far as I was concerned,
like before I was born.
So decades and decades.
And he had this is a weird
I shouldn’t say weird.
It’s just the older two story house.
We’re in an attic in every corner.
And like the older houses
in and then attic way up top.
And there was just stuff.
So much stuff.
All kinds of treasures.
Well yeah it was kind of weird.
Like he had blue books like
Wisconsin Blue Books,
he had blue books from eighteen whatever
up until I want to say two
thousand, whatever it was.
So just dozens of these blue books.
I’m sure somebody one of these from like
I don’t know who because
we have Internet now.
I don’t know if we have any use for these
or who would ever use for these UNAMSIL.
And those are giving them
away to an attorney.
I think after a decade of them sitting
in my basement anyways, he had newspapers
from every major event.
So like Kennedy assassination,
Reagan getting shot, or if you’re shot or
somebody try to shoot him, whatever.
All this stuff, whether
from Wisconsin Rapids newspaper.
So it wasn’t like the The Washington Post
or something like that.
It was just a little tiny
But I don’t know if really had any value.
And I didn’t know, like,
what do we do this it feels bad to throw
out a newspaper of JFK, get shot.
No, it doesn’t.
That’s hard, but it’s kind of is weird.
So it’s just stuff like that.
Did I mention you guys
come across every day?
Do we have.
Yeah, all the time.
So we have rooms full and we have we walk
into three thousand square foot house
floor to ceiling packed.
So we’ve gone through really.
They’re really fun.
A lot of fun.
we also work with attorneys and they have
a states where we’ve had houses that I.
Nobody has been in the property for years
because the families like I just can’t
deal with it, I just can’t deal
with it before you know it.
Three years have passed
and so we just get in there.
And and we were pretty quickly
when there’s especially like if it’s
a cleanup situation with a client has
passed on or already we can have,
like the House, like ready to go on the
market within two weeks, as are typical.
He just kind of go in there.
And again, we have our partners.
So if we find things of interest again,
we work with auctioneers,
consignment shops, antique dealers,
selling things online.
We have these avenues to sell things.
So, again, we really spent some time,
you know, picking out the items
that have some value like that.
But we send things out so, you know,
some move management companies might have
a lot more estate sales in the home.
And so the way that we have worked it out
is we just instead of having an estate
sale in the house, although
if we need one, we could go that route.
But it doesn’t happen that there’s
that much valuable items in one house.
So for us, it works out best just to take
the valuable items and send them off
site to be sold at an auction house.
And so we have you in your job.
And that way, the housing
on the market sooner.
So that’s kind of that’s kind of why we’re
able to go through
that stuff pretty quickly.
And then again,
that is not trash or things like that.
But we really try to maximize our donation
sites for things that are usable.
And then if we have things that can be
recycled, we can try to use the curb,
pick up, you know,
instead of giving it getting a dumpster
to save some resources for our clients.
You know, I do have a dumpster
at my office and I will just take loads
back to my office,
sometimes having a dumpster on sites,
especially when the client
is still living there.
We feel like that could
pose a lot of negative.
Oh, that’s fair.
That’s only fair.
We really we really try to be really
mindful of trying to make it as soon as
possible with, you know, not create
any more any negative feelings.
So we approach it with that tone.
So we try to really just zone in on that.
I just say know all your belongings are
gone in a dumpster because
that’s really sad.
And we’ve had families who said,
I wish I would have called you two
years ago because we got a dumpster.
We just threw everything away.
So they’re like, that’s like
the worst thing out here.
And I think I’ve heard it so often
that I’m like, oh, my gosh, you know, I
I would love to be able to reach out
to all these families before they just
rent a dumpster and just throw everything
away, because it’s really it’s really sad.
So how did you set up all those contacts?
It did take some time.
It just happened.
They just evolved, honestly, just
almost like my employees, like, you know,
people started kind of approaching us.
We would just have these connections.
And now it’s it’s so wonderful because
I’ve been using the same group
of partners for five years now.
So I feel like we’ve kind of we know each
other really well with each
other really well.
So it’s just taken some time to kind
of have that have that set
up for my company.
That is cool.
Yeah, well, that’s a huge part.
Like if I didn’t if we didn’t have them,
like, at our fingertips, then it would
make this much harder because I know it.
Like, even this morning I had to call one
of my guys and I’m like, hey,
we really need you at this house,
you know, Oconomowoc tomorrow because
the is in town just for a couple of days.
And these really cool things
where you come look at.
So, you know, he worked it out.
So he just he’s right there.
He just wow.
We need that’s cool.
So it’s really that relationship has
actually been a huge part,
I think, of our success.
OK, so why bad?
Because then you’re getting I guess,
you know that someone else is using
whatever the stuff is.
And then it’s going on instead of just
ending up in some landfill
or a storage unit.
Yeah, we’re starting next year.
That’s the worst thing.
That is exactly interesting.
Yeah, that’s cool.
So do you guys sell the house
or do you work with
so of our staff are realtors.
So basically we again we’re
called in by a lot of realtors.
So we developed a lot
of relationships over the years.
There are situations where clients may
come in, they just they don’t know any
realtors and that I could refer out
of my little network of realtors
that I know for sure.
I feel like it would be a good
match for the house or the client.
So we do work with a lot of realtors
and usually, again,
they’re the one kind of calling us in
because it’s like, oh, my God, Marion, we
got to get this house in the market and
get rid of the stuff.
So they call us in to kind
of really help with that stuff.
So do they.
So you guys do so much stuff that
I imagine your niche is with seniors,
but do you ever work outside of that?
And so we do work with senior association.
Origin was created because,
like I mentioned,
all the baby boomers this year,
but they actually even went through
the grind of going through a name change
right now because they want to make sure
that people do realize that although we
were set up for seniors because it’s
a move, they’re hard at any age,
they’re super happy when you’re ninety.
But they’re also hard for a divorce
situation or a mother with two kids.
All these transitions we have in life.
So we still use our same processes.
And it doesn’t matter if the you know,
our clients are 30 or 80.
In the end of the day,
they’re still going through some
transition or they’re just busy
professionals and they just don’t want
to pack up their house
and they just don’t want to.
I want somebody to come in and handle it,
yeah, so there’s a mixture of busy
professionals, these, you know,
diverse situations is one that is so much
stress and maybe the husband and wife
can’t even be in the same room.
So there’s all these little components
of any of these big transitions.
Make sure that although we started out as
an association for just,
you know, focused on seniors,
it’s definitely developed into help,
you know, just other people
who need our services.
I want to talk about marketing because
it’s always a cool thing
for any business, right?
So how do people find you and what
do you do to promote your business?
So I think that over the years we’ve done
networking events have been huge for us,
especially in the beginning.
OK, just letting people
know we’re out there.
We work, like I mentioned,
we do work with realtors.
So we just try to connect with realtors
and just kind of make sure that they
if if they need help with their families
and clients, needs help,
that they can reach out to us.
We try to keep a relationship with
realtors, and I love working with them.
Our senior communities like the Jefferson.
I don’t know if you ever networked
with Tony at the Jefferson
Yes, she’s great.
And I always have to give her kudos
because she was one of the first ones I
approached when I
when I started this business
and marketing lady for the Jefferson.
The Jefferson is the senior.
It’s an independent living community
in your community over to apologize.
I’m not familiar.
I’m not good in some of the networking
group that she does Tuesday morning.
Yes, she’s a great lady.
And so she kind of helped me
in the beginning and she just would share
my information with the families
moving into the Jefferson.
And so that that really
just jumpstarted me.
And I again, I owe her my life because
that was a key that was
a key starting point.
Was that big of an influence.
And then from there, then the other senior
communities, you know, with capital lakes,
parks, identifiers of all these
communities around that we work with,
who again, when people are moving
into their communities,
then they’ll you say
they’ll kind of offer our flyers in case
because the conversation might come up
like, so who’s going to pick your mother?
So it’s in your communities, like, I
can’t imagine having those conversations.
Yeah, there is.
I mean, kudos to them for having them.
They have to have them.
But I can’t imagine being like, hey, your
mom had a stroke or fell or whatever.
Now we have to go through all these
changes and oh, what are you going
do with all your mom’s junk?
Yeah, it’s like, oh, exactly.
It is challenging.
And then again, if the sandwich generation
where again, they’re dealing with their
own life, maybe their own profession,
their own kids,
and they get the phone call that,
you know, your mom fell
and what are you going to do?
So I think that the the marketing people
having our information kind of has really
helped us a lot because it’s something the
families and the families are thrilled.
Like once they hear we exist, like,
oh my gosh, you’re going to do what?
That’s exactly right.
So that’s helped those two points.
And attorney attorneys just again,
getting to know attorneys because they’re
the ones that people are sometimes
coming to, like, affiliated this estate.
So I think just by sheer knowing,
the attorney is helping
them know that we’re here.
Been our biggest source of marketing.
I would saygo to a website.
We we just kind of revamped our
website and we just tried to
have information on there so
people can kind of go there.
But mostly it’s mostly it’s word of mouth
and friends of friends is
a very that kind of sure.
Marketing right now.
But I imagine what you’re doing.
Do people know what to search for?
Well, they know it’s a search.
Some people say,
like just downsizing or moving.
Some people think of us sometimes as
a moving company and they’ll say,
OK, we need to move some furniture.
And then once after they say that line,
then our next question to them is, OK,
so did you need some help packing or do
you know that we can kind of help
with unpacking your mom in so they might
call us thinking we’re
just a moving company.
And really the way that I,
I see us is actually we’re more
of a downsizing company and moving
is just one little part of us.
So I feel like I feel like we’re
really not a moving company.
It’s just one part in
the cleanup and one I packing and one
floor layout and design and he pictures.
So there’s all these little spokes.
And so moving is just one part, but people
generally will think of us possibly as
more of a mover until they
until they know us.
And then, sure, I think they think
it was more of a downsizing.
I guess that makes sense.
A lot of businesses, I feel,
do a lot of stuff related.
But they don’t it’s tough
to market everything right.
To try to market what people are looking
for and then say, by the way, yes,
we can do all this other stuff.
I get that.
And that’s the part they need us more for,
is they the moving is kind of
it’s pretty cut and dry,
you know what I mean?
That’s kind of hard to be.
I don’t have it easy
because it’s not easy.
but seriously, that is that deciding what
to keep, what you’re emotionally tied to,
how you’re going to let things go
and having that try not to lose that sense
of independence like those are all like
this whole emotional side is probably what
separates us as a company,
more so than any of this
physical stuff that’s going on.
That makes sense.
That makes sense, though.
Tell me about the name,
how did you come up with a name?
It’s a fantastic name.
So it’s funny, I mentioned that first
conference I went on and I had to have
a name because you register with a name so
funny debating a name and I call it
maybe he’ll call it a little help.
And so I go there.
I just put out these little business guys
just to get me through the weekend,
like, oh, a little hope.
It’s an interesting name.
And like, nobody like everyone.
Just like this weird look on them.
And again, I go back home like I don’t
know that I don’t know what that name
it just didn’t seem to like the work.
And then again,
I did that first job and I’m like,
oh my God, it’s not just a little help.
It’s like a lot this was an incredible,
incredible amount of help.
So then I just started.
Just kind of thinking of names
that I felt would work.
And I just kind of like this name a lot.
Kind of we kind of started writing out
the list of names you got running lists.
And can you keep scratching on some
of the different list of, like,
twenty five different names?
And I kept thinking of them and
these genius like it is fantastic.
I mean, it’s a it’s a phrase that it’s
interesting because it’s calls on call.
Sometimes I will use the phrase moving
forward and I have to be like, OK,
I can’t use that phrase
because then they give me.
Well, no, just like I don’t
want to confuse the crew.
Sort of like because moving
forward is a common phrase.
Because we’ll get to this
moving forward like.
No, that seems weird.
It’s kind of funny and it happens, it just
comes up in your general conversation.
But that’s why it’s so cool.
So it’s just a common
phrase that’s top of mind.
You can latch onto that little chunk
of the brain that write
that people already have in there.
So that’s super awesome.
I’m glad you like it.
So moving forward.
Into the future.
What do you see.
I guess let’s call it five years.
I mean, it’s
tough to say in twenty twenty.
What’s going to happen.
My best guess.
People will keep, you know, be optimistic.
So again, I love I of I really enjoy
just kind of growing this company.
It’s really enjoyable.
Like it’s really like I love I love
the fact that I have staff
who that a great staff.
They work with my clients well they bond
with my clients and I love giving them
I love being able to provide them jobs.
I love that side of it.
I think I really like owning this company.
And there are there are two companies
that I met early on in the beginning.
They have actually called gentle,
ones in Minnesota and ones in California.
OK, and basically his mom,
the current owner,
his mom with like a pioneer in the back,
she on the first move management company.
Oh, I love this company.
Like from day one.
And they the one gentleman in California,
he actually has a bunch of general
changes, transition companies
around the state of California.
OK, so basically, you know,
he has a little pod set up and he just
kind of goes there and it works
along the whole state of California.
The gentleman there who and his wife
who run that company again,
they’re just they they serve the whole
area and they’re just they’re really
they’re wonderful company and they’ve
been growing their whole time, too.
So in my perfect world,
I just love the idea to be able to grow
outside of Dane County like going
to Oconomowoc would be awesome.
I like that idea of being able to grow.
Yeah, keep growing the company keep adding
to my staff
again just because it’s such a rewarding
business to own and there’s such a need.
And I feel like it’s still going to be
a need for a bunch more years here.
So I still feel like we have
a lot of potential to grow.
Still saying definitely.
Yeah, there’s one thing that we can
guarantee is that people will get old.
And I suppose another thing on top of that
is they will have junk they know well.
Although, again, part of the problem now,
though, is like people in my son’s age
at twenty five when
they are more minimalist.
So they’re not wanting
all this other stuff.
So it’s going to come to a point where
people are going to stop keeping in story.
I think so.
I do, because a lot of people are going
towards minimalism as opposed
to collecting things because of,
you know, their childhood of being
brought up in the Depression.
So I think this it’s going
to be a different time.
I don’t think it’s going to last forever.
Yeah, all right.
But I think for another twenty years,
I think he’ll be around.
So all of that, all of it.
I’m just kind of like I’m thinking
of the twenty somethings that I know.
Most of them still live at home,
so they don’t know.
Yeah, they’ve never lived on their own,
so they don’t know what they need or.
Or even what they want because it’s all
the parents are supplying it for them.
Yeah, it’s different.
I suppose in twenty years we wanted
to care so that maybe I can only be
seventy so I don’t know, maybe we should,
maybe we should stay longer.
It’ll be another forty years.
Oh yeah, yeah, yeah.
I always have junk.
I look at the volume of stuff.
My wife doesn’t listen to this but the.
Stuff that one wife just buys from
Marketplace or Craigslist or Amazon.
Like this is your garage sale season.
Back when they had garage sales.
Just like you’re buying
somebody else’s junk.
So that we can have it at a garage sale.
So I don’t see that going away.
And I really tried
to encourage people, really.
So one of my favorite authors is
Peter Walsh, and he has a big downsizing.
It’s really that just trying to really
focus your attention on just keeping
people what you love and need and all this
other stuff is actually
just it just really
bothers you, really,
because you have all this stuff and you’re
just spending so much of your time
figuring out where to store all your
stuff and not be able to get rid of it.
And the emotional guilt you feel because
like I can’t get rid of this couch because
it was my mom’s only reason why keeping it
is because it’s your mom’s or
some emotional attachment.
So I feel like I really loved listening
to him all the time because he really
motivates me just to help me remember,
just to kind of try to really
express that to my clients.
Sometimes it is
just these items are really causing you
a lot of stress because it’s just, yeah,
having them and dealing
with them is just so stressful.
And so when we clean out a closet and sing
like an empty space,
there’s like nothing better.
It just it is whole relief check.
Oh, my God.
I see the wall.
I see the whole new world.
It really feels good.
So that’s like a a huge thing that I think
we work through with people is just.
Just letting go of the stuff to let go
of the stress that it’s causing you
and really just keeping items that you
sure need and stop buying stuff.
Just get it right.
Look at all the money.
We say it’s not a good thing.
You know, I take the time at night
to clean up our kitchen,
make sure the tables clear and counters
are clear and all that jazz,
because if I wake up,
come downstairs and there’s just clutter.
Yeah, it’s like, oh, yes, that starts
the day and that’s just the kitchen.
It’s good you feel that way.
It really is.
I think that that happens
to a lot of people and it does.
It’s like a suffocating feeling.
It’s just one more way like.
So it’s a whole new.
It’s good to be cognizant of.
It will take some time.
But I feel like you’re much more efficient
when you actually want
to do something in there.
And this is guilt that people just carry
around them, like even treasures of things
from their past or their kids past.
The only time they pull it out from under
the bed is to look and say, oh,
my God, what should I do with this?
And they close it back up
and tuck it back under your bed.
And it’s just it’s just but as long
as it’s there, it’s just stressful.
And then again,
having a closet full of clothes, some,
you know, you used to fit into it,
but you don’t anymore.
You wish you could wear it,
but they don’t look good on you.
Like just letting go anything is like
a negative feeling is really powerful.
So you don’t use everything we get really
things that just create that negative.
Feel for you.
I imagine you have to think about it
to realize if it’s giving you a negative
feeling that it’s interesting.
If you’re one, you’re kind of there are
some things that are easy,
like if you went through your house right
now, there are some things like, yeah,
this definitely means a lot to me.
Like I have, you know, one necklace,
you know, that’s really like I love this
necklace and I wear it and I, I love it.
Then you look at like a whole
drawer full of earrings.
And every time I look at it, like I
haven’t worn these in twenty years.
So I think you kind of if
you think about it, sure.
There are some things that are super easy
and you just start with those layers
and you’re like, oh, I got it.
This is my my keeping that every time I
look at it, I remember this old
girlfriend I had or whatever you mean.
So like, you just get rid of it and you
know, the negative feeling,
it’s get rid of that layer right away.
Any negative feeling associated with it.
I keep looking at my class ring.
I’m like I don’t even
know I got a class ring.
But that was the thing
right back in the day.
I don’t know if they still do not.
I don’t usually do either.
My kids didn’t buy one, not to mention it,
but I’m like, what am I
supposed to do with this?
Because I’m saving up all this money
to buy the stupid ring that I whatever.
So it’s going to be kept
in your jaw until your son.
Your son, right.
You have to deal with it some day.
He’s going to be like what does this
otherwise, you know,
I would just take it and sell it
and know somebody is going to enjoy it.
Because I collect things like that.
There are people really.
I would just recommend just selling it
to somebody who in that world
of a class ring collecting.
What a crazy world.
Let’s have a look at everything.
So there’s historians who, you know,
like certain things that people think are
trash, but they just like
for different reasons.
For you, if that doesn’t have any meaning
and you’re pretty sure your wife doesn’t
want it and your son totally sure,
OK, let it go, then.
You just have an empty spot.
I can’t even imagine explaining
to my son what a class ring is
Son, this is for you.
What is it my husband gave me once I had
his ring for like two years
in high school and Gorev.
Oh, no, it’s all right.
Did you keep that one?
I have it.
So this little trinket that’s meaningful,
I’ve ignored it.
I haven’t even looked at sure.
Well, luckily it’s not huge or it’s like
a car or something like that,
but it would be something in my layer that
I feel like, OK, I don’t I don’t love it.
I don’t have an attachment to it.
I let it go.
It doesn’t create a negative feeling.
Obviously, I still sure love
my husband and it was his ring.
But it doesn’t mean I don’t have any.
It doesn’t mean any significant value.
It doesn’t prove
I don’t feel like I want to use it.
So if you don’t feel like you’re going
to use it, honestly, just let it go.
That’s like if you’re not using it,
you don’t love it.
Try to go.
Just just started.
It’s just a good feeling.
It’s just such a good feeling.
Oh, my gosh.
It really is so liberating.
It’s a whole new world.
a terribly messy garage and I constantly
try to work on that thing to clean it up.
And I just have to come
over James Hall kind of
I have so many projects
that I know it’s worth.
It’s not that I love the individual part,
but I also know how tough it is to find
parts for projects, cars that you’re
working on and those kind of stuff.
But it’s funny.
My wife makes fun of me because I had this
car that is seventy nine Malibu
that I did a lot of work on.
And she’s like, you still have Malibu
parts and I like those
are valuable to somebody.
I just haven’t taken
the time to find out who.
We probably give them to the person
and just get them out of there.
But yeah, I don’t know, whatever.
So then that happens because and I think
that happens to lots of people were there,
they just ignored things for a while
until they have to deal with them.
And so last night we come in when
that that’s the end of the day.
You have to deal with it now.
And sometimes we just really we really
like people to deal with their own stuff
as opposed to leaving it
for your kids to deal with.
So it’s like an I think right now,
even the generations we’re working with,
lots of 60 year olds, you know, helping
their 80 year old parents right now.
So I think for the most part,
a lot of these six year olds are now
seeing what’s going on with their mom,
that they’re actually trying
to downsize themselves.
That’s fairly regular basis because, like,
I can’t you know, I just
can’t do this to my kids.
So they’re trying to not do what they’re
dealing with because they they see
the enormous task it is in front of them.
So it is it’s it is really fascinating.
But I think they’re trying to downsize
themselves more and they don’t want
to leave it for their kids because
they’re sure they’re in that right now.
Yeah, that’s fair.
That’s totally fair.
So you you mentioned Peter Walsh.
Is he an author?
He’s not there yet.
Yeah, he has a bunch
of great YouTube videos.
In fact, I was watching him this
weekend just because I love him.
So, yeah, he goes through,
he does some organizing.
He just kind of goes through these
emotions that go through downsizing.
OK, I think he just explains
things really well.
He has some interesting books that kind
of put the correlation between like
financial like sometimes people have
financial issues related to downsizing.
They have weight
issues dealing with kind of it all kind
of falls within downsizing and
trying to deal with stuff in some light.
So he kind of wraps those points together.
He’s really interesting.
I want to ask you really quick about
the systems that you came up with.
It sounds like my role is a systematise
everything, because I you know,
what’s supposed to happen next.
And I feel like we have to do
that with all of our clients to a point.
And you definitely have to do that.
How did you come up with the system?
Well, we have a system,
but I have to say that another thing I,
I should mention,
when I interview my staff.
Yeah, I always warm.
They have to be flexible
and it’s very fluid.
So it changes all the time.
So they have to be able
to adapt to change.
So even if we we have our systems in line.
So basically, you know,
we kind of we have a couple
of project managers who work with us.
So they’ll go and work with the clients
and decide kind of which of our partners
we want to bring in, like people
to buy items or donation sites.
So they kind of we have a kind
of a checklist basically for that.
But then things could just totally
change overnight like we had.
I have this case story actually one
of my clients that he was a hoarding
situation and he only had one
relative who was in Minnesota.
OK, so basically we were called in just
to downsize them, to stay in the house
because they didn’t want to move.
So we literally just were there like
for one shift, like getting my girls were
there for two hours and then he fell.
And so then the whole plan of, OK,
we’re going to downsize to make his
home safe till he went out the window.
And now, OK, we have to get this.
We have to get him move to he was going
to assisted living.
So then you have to be able
to in an instant,
even though you have a plan, you have
to be able to alter plans right away.
So that shifting gears.
So my step has to be really good at being
having our systems in line,
but being able to just turn on a dime
just instantly trigger fair.
But the systems for knowing
what’s going to go where,
what’s keeping, what’s getting.
Dumpster fire or whatever.
So that we have, we do a lot of,
we have some, we have different areas.
We have a sticker system that we use
to identify, keep the ship
to a family member donates.
We kind of have a lot of secret systems
in place and then we got
a signs that we use.
And then my staff just basically
knows which items are going
towards which of our partners.
So we start organizing so we kinda
reorganize the house as we’re
doing that sorting stage.
And so then my staff just knows
who to call for which item.
That’s so cool.
That makes sense.
So that totally that’s kind of our system
it’s not very fancy just kind of works
that everyone. Doesn’t have to be
right as long as there’s a system.
Instead of just sending an employee
in there and just be like, hey,
worked this out. Yeah,
and they kind of go room by room and we
usually start if they’re having a hard
time, which starts out like
one on one with a client.
Like we just let’s just
do focus on one area.
And then as people get used to us being
there, then we might have to send in,
like more staff just to kind of get
things finished in a period.
That’s super cool, man.
And you I feel like you’re more empathetic
than I am, so I don’t know
if I could do what you do.
You have to be nice.
Yeah. I think you would do fine.
I feel like I’m nice, but it’s so.
I don’t know, it’s just challenging.
I can’t imagine.
Well, I guess I’ll probably run
into the situation with my
parents eventually, right?
Yes, I think people get old
and everybody’s going
to have to deal with it.
And then again,
I think that a lot of my staff are
dementia train, dementia friendly trained.
So, again, there’s a whole other level
that we didn’t even get into about when
people actually have, like, are working
through this when they have dementia.
And so, again, you can’t have these
conversations, like you can’t ask the kind
what they want, what clothes they wear
most often because they’re
already beyond that.
They can’t answer you.
So then the children are trying to like
respect their moms wishes,
but also getting frustrated because maybe
their mom doesn’t recognize
them or they just lost their communication skills.
OK. So when people kind of are
in that frame of mind,
I think my step is actually super
good in that role of, you know what?
It’s you know,
it it’s just helping the family realize
that this is the path they’re going down
and there’s different levels of dementia
and they’re not going to be
able to handle the sorting.
They’re not going
to answer your questions.
So, you know, it’s probably better not
to ask them, you know, this. Gotcha.
So there’s a lot of that that goes
on to say definitely sympathy
is being sympathetic is huge.
And there’s some guidance, it sounds like.
Lots of guidance.
I just be like, burn the place down.
Oh, so tough.
That would be so tough.
It’s really it’s super rewarding.
It really it’s such a rewarding
profession to be part of.
So, you know, so you and I were talking
before we started about your reviews,
fifty five 5 star reviews just blows
my mind, blows my mind.
Yeah, it’s incredible on a whole other level
and they’re intense reviews, like in fact,
like if you read them,
there’s like paragraphs and each review, I don’t know
if you went into them. I
just saw really briefly, I was like,
how are you not even at four point nine,
like from some
like I saw this truck cut me off that I
happened to get the name
on or something. Thank god.
Again, I owe it to my staff because
they’re just they’re wonderful.
But these reviews are so intense that it’s
it’s not it’s not a simple line like.
Yeah, great job.
Like paragraphs like I could not have gone
through this without you type
of situations. Super cool.
So it’s there because it’s again
the the time we’re working with these
families, it’s such an intense time
and we just come in and we say
no problem to anything that comes up.
Like it’s fine, we can totally help you with that. It’s
all good, we’ll do it.
And we just try to relieve that those
tasks and the stress from them and just
builds this interesting dynamic.
So that’s cool.
That’s super cool.
Yeah, I love doing that.
I guess with our clients was
just different level. Yours are
just crazy emotional because it’s
all this work in a very
short amount of time.
And they might not even be living here.
It could be across the country.
Oh it’s surreal. Super cool.
It’s really wonderful.
How can people find you.
So basically if they can call, Calls
On Call answers our phone.
is our number that
goes straight to you.
Otherwise you can go to our website.
We have a contact us form that way.
Oh I’m trying to think is there anything
that I should have asked
you before we close up.
No, I think you did a great job.
I think you did a better job.
I just ask a few questions.
I wasn’t sure what you’re going to ask me.
I was kind of nervous and like he might give me a tough one.
No, it’s just authentic.
Yeah, easy peasy, man.
This has been Authentic.
Business Adventures, the business program
that brings you the struggle
stories and triumphant successes
of business owners across the land. Coming
to you in a sweet, sweet studio
and with video now. Great. Super cool.
My name is James Kademan
and Authentic Business Adventures is
brought to you by Calls On Call, offering
answering and receptionist services for
service businesses across the country,
on the Web, at CallsOnCall.com. As
well as Draw In Customers Business
Coaching, offering business coaching
services for entrepreneurs,
looking for growth, on the web at
DrawInCustomers.com. And of course,
The BOLD Business Book,
a book for the entrepreneur in all of us
available on Amazon and wherever
fine books are sold.
We’d like to thank you, our wonderful
listeners, as well as our guest,
Marianne Gariti, owner
of Moving Forward Senior Move Managers.
I love that.
I love that name.
Thanks for having me too. Oh, I want to ask
you really quick, who did your logo?
A friend of ours actually did it.
So she her husband plays
racquetball with my husband.
OK, small world.
Terry Breeze is her name.
All right. Terry Breeze.
That’s awesome, thanks.
Man, you guys could
franchise across the world.
I tell you, let’s do it.
Nice! Find us airing on
Wednesdays at 1:00 p.m..
Sundays at 2:00 p.m., as well as at
Past episodes can be found morning,
noon, and night at the podcast
link found on DrawInCustomers.com.
Thank you for listening.
We will see you next week.
I want you to stay awesome.
And if you do nothing else,
enjoy your business.