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DIAMOND CERTIFIED EXPERT CONTRIBUTORS IN THE Bay Area – Movers CATEGORY

Peter Breslin is owner of A1 Transfer Moving & Storage, a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (415) 742-1907 or by email.

Peter Breslin

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Peter Breslin: A Unique Opportunity

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO — Not long after moving to San Francisco from his home country of Ireland, Peter Breslin was given a unique opportunity to become a business owner. “I came to the United States when I was 25 and immediately started working in the moving industry,” he recounts. “During the next couple of years, I became friends with the owner of the company I worked for. He wanted to get out of the business, so he gave me the opportunity to buy it from him. I’ve been running things ever since—well over 30 years.”

Today, as owner of A1 Transfer Moving & Storage, Peter says his favorite part of his job is taking care of customers. “I enjoy meeting new customers, learning how we can help them and providing them with value. It feels very satisfying to earn their trust and put them at ease about their moves.”

A resident of Burlingame (where he lives with his wife, Elli), Peter spends his time outside of work on a variety of pastimes. “I enjoy playing golf, reading and watching Premier League soccer,” he details. “I also love music and enjoy attending opera and symphony performances in San Francisco.” Additionally, Peter likes taking trips to different countries and getting immersed in their unique cultures and histories.

In his life and career, Peter espouses the value of staying true to yourself. “When I first came to the U.S., I thought there was an ‘American way’ to do business—basically, to get out there, fight for it and not take any nonsense. After a couple of years, I realized this approach was completely alien to the way I wanted to live my life and that I’d do better by staying true to myself and my values. Honesty, fairness, trust—all of these things are so important when you’re running a business and dealing with customers. It’s not about the money; it’s about taking care of people and giving them quality experiences.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Peter says he’d take a break. “I work six, sometimes seven days a week, and that kind of puts you in a mode where you’re constantly on. While I take a lot of pride in my work and responsibility, there are times when I’d like to have a break. So, if I were to retire tomorrow, I’d probably go play some golf with my buddies and then make plans to do some traveling.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: Are you an early bird or a night owl?

A: An early bird.

Q: What’s your favorite Premier League soccer team?

A: Manchester United.

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

A: Japan, China, India, Russia—it’s hard to pick one.

Q: What’s your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?

A: I like to go for a walk in the rain and enjoy nature.

Q: What’s your favorite book?

A: “Against All Hope” by Armando Valladares. The author writes about his experience as a political prisoner in one of Castro’s gulags, and it’s pretty amazing to read about what he endured and how he survived.

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3 Tips for Planning a Move

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SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO — When it comes to moving, a little proactive planning can go a long way toward avoiding unforeseen problems. Here are three tips for planning your move: 1. Set aside sensitive items. Before you start packing, gather… Read more

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Video: Planning for a Move

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SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO — Host: Sarah Rutan: When it comes to moving, a little proactive planning can go a long way toward avoiding unforeseen problems. Today we’re… Read more

Jay Lucas is president of Santa Rosa Moving & Storage, a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (707) 742-3978 or by email.

Jay Lucas

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Jay Lucas: A Moving Legacy

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

ROHNERT PARK — As president of Santa Rosa Moving & Storage, Jay Lucas represents the third generation to run his family’s business. However, had it not been for certain technological advancements, he may have been in an altogether different industry. “My grandfather started this business in the late 1940s,” he explains. “Originally, it was a different sort of company—it sold firewood and ice, which at the time were the primary sources of heat and refrigeration. Most of the ice sales were to fishermen who worked in the Sausalito Harbor and wanted to keep their fish fresh. Of course, when modern heating and refrigeration came around, my grandfather’s business dried up pretty quickly. Since he still had a few delivery trucks and a warehouse, he decided to switch gears and get into moving and storage.”

Jay’s involvement in his family’s business began in his teen years, when he would help in the warehouse during the summers. “I enjoyed the moving trade from the beginning, primarily because of the variety,” he says. “There was always something new—no day was the same as the one before. After taking a few years off following high school, I returned in my mid-20s and started working as a furniture mover. From there, I moved up to doing dispatch and sales, became vice president of the company, and eventually took over ownership from my father.”

Today, Jay says his favorite part of his job is cultivating his team members. “I really enjoy working with my moving team. A lot of them are young folks who are transitioning from high school or college into a real career, and it’s very rewarding to know the skills they develop here will help them be successful later in life.”

A resident of San Rafael, Jay spends his time outside of work on a variety of pastimes and hobbies. “I have a couple of older cars that I enjoy working on and restoring,” he details. “I also enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, mountain biking and skiing.” Additionally, Jay likes spending time with his wife, Jennifer, and their three adult children.

In his life and career, Jay espouses the value of viewing things from alternate perspectives, particularly when it comes to conflicts. “I believe in showing others kindness and respect, even if we disagree on something,” he explains. “If there’s a problem, I really try to listen, take the other person’s perspective and see what I can do to help, as opposed to what I can do to further combat them. Obviously, you can’t please everyone, but if you make a sincere effort to make things right, you’ll be much more likely to achieve a resolution.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What’s your favorite sports team?
A: The Golden State Warriors. I know everybody roots for them these days, but I’ve been a fan for a long time, through the good times and the bad.

Q: Do you collect anything?
A: Not really, but I have a pretty good collection of my kids’ artwork from when they were growing up.

Q: What’s your favorite TV show?
A: “Seinfeld.”

Q: Music or talk radio?
A: Talk radio.

Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant?
A: La Ginestra in Mill Valley.

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5 Tips to Simplify Your Move

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ROHNERT PARK — To minimize the stressfulness of your moving project, take proactive steps to simplify the process. Consider the following tips: Use an easy labeling system. For example, you can use colored tape to designate which boxes go into which rooms.… Read more

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Video: Tips to Simplify Your Move

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ROHNERT PARK — Host, Sarah Rutan: When preparing for a big move, you’ll want to make the process as simple as possible. Today we’re in Rohnert Park with… Read more

Greg Wolfe is a relocation specialist with AMS Bekins, a Diamond Certified company since 2011. He can be reached at (650) 288-6734 or by email.

Greg Wolfe

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Greg Wolfe: A Family Affair

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Program Reporter

BURLINGAME — Growing up around his grandfather’s business, Greg Wolfe says it was only natural for him to get involved in the moving industry. “As a child, I had no shortage of moving boxes to play in,” he laughs. “My grandfather started AMS Bekins more than 60 years ago, and the company is now in its fourth generation of family involvement, so it’s basically been a family affair. As a teenager, I started working in the warehouse and helping out on small jobs. When I was 18, I obtained my ‘B’ commercial license, and by 21 I had upgraded to an ‘A’ license.”

Greg says his favorite part of his job is giving reassurance to frazzled customers. “As you can imagine, moving is a highly stressful event for most people. Everyone in my family has a very patient temperament, which, combined with our years of experience, enables us to facilitate any situation gracefully and effectively. It’s very rewarding to see the relief in our customers’ eyes when we tell them we’re there to handle everything for them.”

Born and raised in San Jose, Greg now resides in Pleasanton with his wife, Rebecca, and their children. Outside of work, he enjoys participating in active pastimes with his family. “We’re very much into sports and fitness; we’ve even had the whole family in martial arts at the same time,” he says. “We’re also huge San Francisco Giants fans—from the first day of Spring Training to the playoffs, we’re all about baseball. Our company actually has an account with the Giants, so we get to move them to and from Spring Training every year, which is a pleasure.”

In his life and career, Greg has adopted a set of professional principles passed down by his father. “Early on, my father taught me the two mantras we go by here at AMS Bekins,” he explains. “One is, ‘Everything is negotiable except integrity,’ and the other is, ‘Everybody has the same job description: help people.’ We try to incorporate these principles in everything we do, which I think is manifested in our honesty and helpful customer service.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he could retire tomorrow, Greg says he’d take an extended family vacation. “I would take my whole family, including my adult children’s spouses and my grandkids, and go on a road trip across America. Of course, we’d have to find a pretty big vehicle first.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: If you were going to sing karaoke, what song would you choose?
A: I would sing “All of Me” by John Legend and dedicate it to my wife.

Q: If you could time travel, would you go to the past or the future?
A: The past. I think we can gain a lot of perspective from seeing how people dealt with challenges and adversity in the past.

Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant?
A: Tadich Grill in downtown San Francisco.

Q: Ever had a conversation with a famous person?
A: I spent some time with Willie Mays once, which was a childhood dream come true.

Q: What’s your favorite snack?
A: Popcorn.

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The Importance of an Accurate Moving Estimate

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BURLINGAME — When preparing for a big move, in addition to choosing a reputable moving company, you’ll want to make sure the company provides you with a thorough, accurate estimate. To do this, an estimator will need to come to… Read more

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Video: Ensuring Accuracy with Your Moving Estimate

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BURLINGAME — Host, Sarah Rutan: When preparing for a big move, be sure that your moving company provides you with an estimate that is both responsible and… Read more

Darcy Quinn is owner of A and P Moving, Inc., a Diamond Certified company. She can be reached at (415) 669-4940 or by email.

Darcy Quinn

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Darcy Quinn: An Early Involvement

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

NOVATO — Darcy Quinn has been working in the moving industry since she graduated college, but her initial involvement goes back even further. “My dad has worked for Bekins Van Lines since 1966, so I grew up around the business,” she explains. “When I was a little girl, I would go with him on weekends when he was managing office moves—he would pay me 25 cents a day to help out. Later, during high school and college, I continued to work with him during summer and winter breaks. In 2000, around the same time I graduated from college, he purchased the Novato Bekins Agency from Bekins Van Lines and invited me to be his office manager. I’ve been here ever since.”

Today as owner of A and P Moving, Inc. (which she co-owns with her father, Dale, and brother, Darin), Darcy says her favorite part of her job is the opportunity to interact with a variety of people. “I meet people from all walks of life, which keeps things interesting. Most of the people we move are going through some kind of life transition, so it’s rewarding and often inspiring to be a part of that.”

A resident of Novato (where she lives with her husband, Pat, and their two children), Darcy spends her time outside of work on a variety of active pastimes. “I love going hiking and running on local trails with our Australian Cattle Dog,” she details. “I also love music, as does my husband, so we enjoy going to concerts together. As far as family activities go, we like going to the beach and attending sports events.”

In regard to a professional philosophy, Darcy espouses the value of treating others like family. “We’re family-oriented people and that’s how we run our company,” she says. “I think the main reason we have such a loyal employee base is because we don’t view them as numbers but as valuable members of our company family. This philosophy also extends to how we interact with our customers. Ultimately, I think it comes down to respect. Regardless of the level of employee or size of the job, we aim to treat everyone with an equal amount of respect.”

When asked the first thing she’d do if she were to retire tomorrow, Darcy says she’d volunteer her time to a good cause. “I’ve always wanted to work with a nonprofit that benefits underprivileged people. Last year, my daughter and I volunteered at St. Anthony’s Soup Kitchen in San Francisco, and it was a very rewarding experience. It just felt good to make a difference in the lives of others and help them see there is hope beyond their current circumstances. So, if I were to retire from full-time work, I would definitely volunteer for a program like that on a more permanent basis.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant?

A: Sol Food in San Rafael.

Q: What’s your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?

A: Go running with my dog.

Q: Do you collect anything?

A: I collect matchboxes. When I was a little girl, my dad traveled a lot for work and he always brought me matchboxes from wherever he’d been. I now have a huge, beautiful, eclectic collection of matchboxes, and I still collect them to this day.

Q: What’s your favorite magazine?

A: “Vanity Fair” because it has a little bit of everything. It has the juicy gossip, but it also has relevant stories about what’s going on in society today.

Q: What’s your favorite thing to eat for dessert?

A: Chocolate cake.

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Planning Ahead for a Move

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NOVATO — When planning for a relocation, the biggest mistake people make is waiting until the last minute to contact a moving company. Movers’ schedules fill up quickly, especially during the peak season, which runs from April through September. If… Read more

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Video: Planning Ahead for Relocation

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NOVATO — Host, Sarah Rutan: When it comes to relocating, proper planning can help ensure a smooth move. To learn more, we’re in Novato with Scott… Read more

Andy Zhang is owner of Fast N’ Reliable Moving, LLC, a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (650) 273-5408 or by email.

Andy Zhang

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Andy Zhang: A Generational Move

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

SAN FRANCISCO — As a second-generation mover, Andy Zhang looks back on the origin of his industry involvement. “My dad started Fast N’ Reliable Moving in 1994,” he recounts. “He was previously in the restaurant business, but after being laid off he went into the moving industry, where he worked for a few years before branching off on his own. I started working with him when I was 20, and when he decided to retire in 2004, I took over as owner of the company.”

Today, Andy says his favorite part of his job is the variety. “One of the perks of being a mover is you get to see different views, visit different locations and meet lots of different people. There aren’t many jobs that offer that level of variety.”

A resident of San Francisco, Andy spends the bulk of his time outside of work with his wife, Judy, and their four children. “Two of our kids are older and two are still very young, so there’s quite a range between them,” he says. “I enjoy spending time with my family, whether going to the park or the movies or just staying home and hanging out. I have a lot of fun playing with the little ones—they’re at a fun age.”

In regard to a professional philosophy, Andy describes the perks of being (and working with) a family-owned business. “Like most family-owned businesses, we’re very focused on things like fairness and quality,” he explains. “I think people tend to trust family businesses more than big corporations—typically, the owners are more involved and have a more personal interest in running things and taking care of their customers. This leads to a greater rate of customer satisfaction, so that’s something we don’t take for granted.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Andy says he would see the world. “Currently, I try to travel about once a year. Last year we went to Hawaii; the year before, we went to China. So, if I were to retire, I’d definitely spend more time travelling. I’ve still never been to Europe, so I’d probably start there.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What’s your favorite restaurant?

A: Outback Steakhouse in Daly City.

Q: What are your favorite sports teams?

A: The New England Patriots and the San Francisco 49ers.

Q: Are you an early bird or a night owl?

A: I’m kind of both—I wake up early but I also stay up late.

Q: Music or talk radio?

A: Music.

Q: What’s your favorite snack?

A: Chocolate.

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Packing for an Efficient Move

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SAN FRANCISCO —When planning for a move, most homeowners make an effort to be prepared by packing their household items ahead of time. However, to ensure an efficient move, it’s important to pack properly. One packing rule is pretty basic:… Read more

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Video: Packing for a Move

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SAN FRANCISCO — Host, Sarah Rutan: An important aspect of moving is knowing how to properly pack and label your boxes. Today we’re in San Francisco with… Read more

Joshua Rengifo is vice president of Joshua’s Moving & Packing Services, LLC, a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (650) 557-3758 or by email.

Joshua Rengifo

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Joshua Rengifo: Making His Move

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

SAN CARLOS — Joshua Rengifo had been in the moving business for several years when he made the move to start his own company. “I’ve been a mover for more than 18 years,” he says. “I started out working for Irish moving companies in the East Bay and San Francisco. When my wife and I started having kids, I knew I’d need a boost in my salary to support my family, so I decided to start my own moving business. At first, I didn’t even have my own truck—I had to rent one! However, after a few years, the company really started to grow. Today, I have four trucks, so it has certainly come a long way.”

Today, as owner of Joshua’s Moving & Packing Services, LLC, Joshua says his favorite part of his job is facilitating smooth moves for his customers. “I like giving every customer great service and an overall great experience. I’ve always enjoyed helping people and making them happy, so I try to do that every step of the way.”

A resident of Menlo Park (where he lives with his wife and their children), Joshua spends his time outside of work watching sports and hanging out with family. “I follow several sports, including soccer, football, tennis and boxing. I also like taking my kids to the park and playing with them.” Additionally, Joshua enjoys hosting barbeques at his home and traveling for vacation. “Last year, we visited Peru, which is where I’m from.”

When asked the secret to his professional success, Joshua cites the importance of patience and determination. “Many people who start a business expect to be successful right away, but it’s not that easy,” he explains. “It takes a lot of time and effort. The important thing is to stick with it. You may get discouraged and feel like giving up, but you can’t do that. It helps to have a good motivation. For me, it was my family. Whenever I thought of my kids and their futures, it motivated me to keep going. Eventually, all my hard work and determination paid off.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Joshua says he’d take a vacation. “I’d do some more traveling. Being a business owner, it’s hard to get away, and even when I do, I have to respond to phone calls and check my email. It’d be a nice change of pace to take a trip and be able to turn off my phone.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What are your favorite sports teams?
A: The San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks.

Q: What’s your favorite snack?
A: Potato chips.

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
A: Somewhere in Europe—probably Ireland, just because I spent so many years working for Irish moving companies.

Q: What’s your favorite holiday?
A: Christmas. I love seeing the kids get excited for the tree and the presents, and it’s nice to spend time together as a family.

Q: What’s your favorite thing to eat for dessert?
A: Cold flan.

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How to Pack Furniture for Moving

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SAN CARLOS — Prior to moving a piece of furniture, take steps to protect it from damage during transit. First, remove any detachable parts, such as table leaves and chair legs, and wrap these separately. If you feel so inclined, it’s also… Read more

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Video: How to Pack a Sofa

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SAN CARLOS — Host, Sarah Rutan: Prior to moving your sofa, you’ll need to take steps to protect it from damage during transit. Today we’re in San Carlos… Read more

Ricardo Larromana is owner of Larro’s Moving Services, a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (650) 866-5993 or by email.

Ricardo Larromana

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Ricardo Larromana: From Scratch to Success

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

SAN FRANCISCO — Ricardo Larromana had been a professional mover for the better part of a decade when he decided to start his own business from scratch. “I started out working for a major moving company in 2007,” he recounts. “After about seven years there, I wanted to do my own thing, so I bought a truck, hired a helper, and began doing hauling and internal moves. Over time, I started getting calls for bigger moving jobs, and the more jobs we did, the more business picked up. Today, just a few years later, we’re a full-service moving company with a four-truck fleet.”

Today, as owner of Larro’s Moving Services, Ricardo says he appreciates the opportunity to be part of his customers’ major life transitions. “When someone moves, it’s often because they’re transitioning to another phase of their life, whether that’s upgrading to a bigger home or relocating for a new job. It’s very rewarding to help a customer take that next step.”

Originally from El Salvador, Ricardo resides today in San Francisco, where he appreciates the quality of life and work. “I’ve lived in the city for many years now, and it has never occurred to me to move anywhere else. I think it’s a good fit for me and my company, so I’m happy to be here.”

Outside of work, Ricardo’s favorite pastime is seeing new places, both close to home and abroad. “I enjoy getting out and discovering new spots in San Francisco,” he details. “There’s so much to do here and it’s always changing, so it’s fun to see what’s new. Also, I like to travel to new places, whether within the United States or elsewhere in the world. For example, during the past year, I visited Columbia and Seattle, Washington.”

In regard to his professional career, Ricardo espouses the value of two crucial qualities. “The two main things we focus on at Larro’s Moving are friendliness and professionalism,” he explains. “On one hand, we want to perform the job in a professional manner; on the other, we want to be there for the customer and make the process as pleasant as possible. By balancing these two aspects, we’re able to give each customer a great experience.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What’s your favorite sports team?
A: The San Francisco 49ers.

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
A: Greece.

Q: What’s your favorite TV show?
A: “Breaking Bad.”

Q: If you could time travel, would you go to the past or the future?
A: The future—I’d like to see how moving companies do things 50 years from now.

Q: Do you collect anything?
A: Antique dollar bills.

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How to Pack Kitchen Items for Moving

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SAN FRANCISCO — From delicate dishes to sharp knives, kitchen items pose many challenges when packing for a move. Here’s how to pack a couple of common items: Plates First, place some bubble wrap at the bottom of the box—this will… Read more

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Video: Packing Kitchen Items for a Move

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SAN FRANCISCO — Host, Sarah Rutan: From delicate dishes to sharp knives, kitchen items pose many challenges when packing for a move. Today we’re in San Francisco with… Read more

Chitra Bheeman is vice president of Advantage Moving & Storage, a Diamond Certified company. She can be reached at (408) 840-3997 or by email.

Chitra Bheeman

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Chitra Bheeman: A Personal Move

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

MILPITAS — With a background in business development, Chitra Bheeman has always preferred interacting with people to crunching numbers. That was one of the main reasons she decided to get into the moving industry—that and her husband needed the help. “When my then-fiancé Brian first started Advantage Moving & Storage, I helped him and his partners get things up and running,” she recounts. “A couple of years later, after the two other partners left, I quit my job and joined the business full-time. Since then, I’ve particularly enjoyed the interpersonal aspect of the job. While I also worked with people in my prior career, with moving, the client interactions tend to be a bit more personal than what you experience in an office setting, so that has been very rewarding.”

Today, as vice president of Advantage Moving & Storage, Chitra says her favorite part of her job is helping customers through the moving process. “Moving is typically a stressful experience. I talk to our customers, address the challenges in getting them relocated and try to make sure things go as smoothly as possible. At the end of the day, when the customer is all moved and with minimal stress, it’s a good feeling.”

A resident of Milpitas, Chitra spends her time outside of work on a variety of pastimes. “Brian and I enjoy being outdoors and walking our Australian Cattle Dog, Buddy,” she details. “We also do a lot of traveling—our goal is to visit a new country every year, if possible. The most recent places we’ve traveled are India, Vietnam and Laos.” When she’s not traveling or enjoying the outdoors, Chitra likes to read and spend time with friends and family.

In regard to a personal philosophy, Chitra espouses the importance of living in the moment. “Yesterday is gone and tomorrow is uncertain, so all you can really do is make the most of today,” she says. “In addition to being intentional and present, I think it’s important to keep a positive mindset. A lot of different challenges come up in life, especially when you’re running a business, but you can’t let the pressure and negativity get you down—you have to stay positive and do your best with the time you have.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What’s your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?

A: Do crossword puzzles. I can lose myself for hours.

Q: Do you collect anything?

A: Souvenirs from traveling. On every trip, we usually find some unique, handmade item to bring home as a keepsake.

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

A: Africa.

Q: Have you ever read a book more than once?

A: “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee.

Q: What’s your favorite thing to eat for dessert?

A: Anything dark chocolate.

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How to Avoid Unlicensed Movers

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MILPITAS — A huge issue plaguing the moving industry today is unlicensed, fly-by-night movers. In the past, these illicit operators would mainly advertise on websites like craigslist, but nowadays, many are using high-profile resources like Google AdWords to show at the… Read more

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Video: Choosing a Reputable Mover

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MILPITAS — Host, Sarah Rutan: Due to the abundance of unlicensed operators, it’s crucial to exercise caution when hiring a moving company. Today we’re in Milpitas with… Read more

Luis Aviles is owner of Moving Forward, a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (415) 754-3925 or by email.

Luis Aviles

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Luis Aviles: Moving Forward

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

SAN FRANCISCO — For most people, the loss of a job would be considered a setback, but for Luis Aviles, it was just the nudge he needed to move his career forward. “I had been working for a local moving company for about a year when I was unexpectedly let go,” he recounts. “Instead of being discouraged, I actually felt empowered to go out on my own as an independent mover. I’d only been working in the industry for a year, but I’m a fast learner and felt I could definitely succeed. After doing some research about starting a business, I bought a truck, got my license and insurance, and started advertising my services. The rest is history.”

Today, as owner of Moving Forward, Luis says he enjoys being his own boss. “Running my own business keeps me busy, but it’s worth it. I don’t mind working long hours, because I like being in control of my schedule and the direction of my company. I don’t have to answer to anybody, and that feels good.”

Originally from El Salvador, Luis came to the United States in 1986 and resides today in San Francisco. When asked his favorite part of living in the city, he says he appreciates the commute—or, more precisely, the lack thereof. “Living and working in San Francisco, I’m really glad I don’t have to deal with the daily commute. Most morning traffic consists of people entering the city, so it’s really nice to be here already.”

Outside of work, Luis spends the bulk of his free time relaxing. “As a business owner, I work all the time, so when I finally have some time off, my first priority is to catch up on sleep. However, I also like to have fun when I get a chance. I go to a lot of concerts, enjoy wine tasting in the Napa Valley and occasionally get away for a long weekend in Las Vegas or Miami.”

In regard to his professional career, Luis espouses the virtues of being honest and upfront with customers. “As a business, there’s nothing to be gained from keeping things hidden from customers—it can only hurt you,” he explains. “I tell my employees, ‘If you accidently break something, just tell the customer. Don’t try to hide it, because they’ll only be more upset when they find out about it later.’ I also make it a point to be upfront and accurate when giving estimates. A lot of companies will underestimate just to get the job and then change the price later, but that’s no way to gain a loyal clientele.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Luis says he’d take an extended vacation. “Being a business owner, it’s hard to get away—I can really only take off for three or four days at a time. So, if I were to retire, I’d take two weeks or so, head to Miami and just hang out on the beach.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What’s your favorite Bay Area winery?
A: I have two: Beaulieu Vineyard in Rutherford and Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards in Sonoma.

Q: What’s your favorite sports team?
A: The San Francisco 49ers.

Q: What’s your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?
A: Ham and eggs over easy

Q: If you could time-travel, would you go to the past or the future?
A: I would go to the past and buy some property.

Q: Do you collect anything?
A: Vintage coins and bills. I used to work at a liquor store, where I would count the money at the end of the day. After doing that for long enough, you get good at telling apart the rare coins from the rest.

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3 Tips for Moving in San Francisco

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SAN FRANCISCO — Moving is often a stressful undertaking, but when it comes to moving in San Francisco, the level of stress can be amplified. Fortunately, this doesn’t have to be the case: with proactive preparation, you can facilitate a smooth and… Read more

Mario Batz is a veteran of the moving industry and general manager of Johnson & Daly Moving & Storage, a Diamond Certified company since 2007. He can be reached at (415) 763-5980 or by email.

Mario Batz

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

Mario Batz: A Moving Opportunity

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

SAN RAFAEL — When Mario Batz got a job as a mover during college, he never thought it would turn into a lifelong career. “I needed a way to support myself while attending community college, so I took a job as a helper with a small moving company in Tiburon,” he recounts. “I liked the job—it was challenging and it paid well…plus, I was able to cancel my gym membership! Over time, I advanced from a helper to a driver to a foreman, until I was basically running the company for the owner.”

From there, Mario went to work for another Marin-based moving company, where he got into sales and later became sales manager for a large mover in San Francisco. Just when he thought he’d reached the top of the ladder, he was presented with an even greater opportunity. “I got a call from the owner of Johnson & Daly Moving & Storage in San Rafael, who wanted to recruit me to be their new general manager. He gave me a great offer, but what really put it over the edge for me was the shorter commute!”

Today, Mario says his favorite part of his job is creating positive customer experiences. “I enjoy taking the stress out of the moving process. For me, there’s nothing more satisfying than when a customer who was dreading their move tells us we made it much smoother and easier than they’d expected.”

A resident of Fairfax (where he lives with his wife, Gerry), Mario expresses his appreciation for life and work in Marin County. “When I was a driver, I traveled through the 11 western states, which gave me a greater appreciation for where I live. Besides the great weather, it’s the diversity of the people that makes it stand out from other places. On any given job, I never know who I’m going to meet, whether someone who scraped up enough money to get a one-bedroom apartment in the Canal Area or a famous actor or musician.”

Outside of work, Mario engages in a variety of pastimes, from sports to family activities. “I’m an avid San Francisco Giants fan, and I also enjoy bowling, camping, and hanging out with friends and family. Gerry and I just had our first grandchild a year ago, so we’ve been enjoying being grandparents.”

In his life and career, Mario espouses the importance of integrity. “I run this company pretty much the same way I live my life: with integrity,” he affirms. “If we break something, we’re going to fix it for the client, whether or not it’s insured. If you hire a plumber, you don’t have to take out insurance in case they screw up your plumbing, and the same goes with hiring a mover. We’re professionals, and as such, we stand behind our work.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Mario says he’d take a trip to the Emerald Isle. “I’ve never been to Ireland and I have distant relatives from there, so it would be fun to go on ancestry.com and do some digging into my family history.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: Are you an early bird or a night owl?
A: Definitely an early bird—I’m up at 5am every day.

Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant?
A: Gestalt Haus in Fairfax.

Q: What’s your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?
A: Take my dogs on a hike.

Q: What was your first pet?
A: A cat named Pooter.

Q: Do you collect anything?
A: Sports memorabilia. I have some signed 49ers and Giants jerseys, a foul ball I caught at a baseball game, and a few other things.

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Downsizing Before a Move

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SAN RAFAEL — The average four-person household in the United States accumulates 1,000 pounds of new possessions each year, which, over time, can amount to several tons of excess “stuff.” While the ensuing clutter can be bad enough, in the… Read more

Expert Video Tip

Video: Three Ways to Downsize Your Belongings

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Complete Video Transcription:

SAN RAFAEL — Host, Sarah Rutan: If you’re downsizing in advance of a move, make sure you consider all available avenues for discarding your unwanted items. Today we’re… Read more

David Robb is a veteran of the moving industry and co-owner of Robb & Messer Moving and Storage, a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (415) 938-6967 or by email.

David Robb

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

David Robb: A Positive Move

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

SANTA ROSA — After graduating from college, David Robb wasn’t exactly thrilled to return to his previous job as a mover. However, by adopting a more positive outlook, he was able to turn his initial discouragement into a great success story. “I got into moving when I was 19 years old as a summer job while I was home from college,” he recounts. “As an athlete, it was a great fit for me because, like sports, it was physically challenging and I got to work in a team environment. After graduating with a degree in business administration, I was hoping to transition into a new career, but with the state of the job market in 2007, I soon found myself back in the moving industry. At first, I was discouraged about it, but at a certain point, I decided to change my mindset and start enjoying every day instead of dreading it.”

With time, David’s positive mentality progressed from a coping mechanism to a genuine state of mind that awoke new professional possibilities. “I became more and more motivated to make a positive impact on the moving industry,” he explains. “I’d encountered several situations where I didn’t agree with how moving companies handled things or treated customers, which inspired my dream of running a more customer-focused business. This dream was shared by my friend Kyle Messer, who also worked in the industry, and we eventually made that dream a reality by starting our own moving company.”

Today, as co-owner of Robb & Messer Moving and Storage, David says his favorite part of his job is working with customers. “I get a lot of fulfillment from giving our customers positive experiences. We focus on each individual customer and do our best to accommodate all of their needs in an efficient manner. That’s our challenge every day, and it’s a lot of fun.”

A resident of San Anselmo (where he lives with his wife, Emily, and their son, Rex) David expresses his appreciation for life and work in the Bay Area. “I was born in San Francisco, grew up in Santa Rosa and now live in San Anselmo, so I know the area really well, which comes in handy as a mover. I also have a large base of friends, family and business connections in the area, which I’m very thankful for.”

Outside of work, David, spends his time on a variety of active pastimes and interests. “I enjoy mountain biking, golfing and tennis,” he details. “I also like to watch professional tennis—I’ll often record matches that take place in Spain or France and watch them the next day.” Additionally, David likes to spend quality time with his family, whether riding bikes or going on walks to the park or grocery store.

In regard to a professional philosophy, David espouses the value of self-reflection. “Every day, I ask myself, ‘If I needed a mover, would I hire me?’ Fortunately, I’m always able to answer that question with a ‘yes’ because of the effort we put forth in generating positive experiences for customers. I find this is a helpful way to reflect, reassess and stay motivated.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, David says he’d attend a tennis match in person. “I would fly to France and watch Rafael Nadal play in the French Open. He’ll probably be long retired by the time I actually retire, so I’m going to take advantage of this hypothetical scenario!”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What are your favorite sports teams?
A: The Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant?
A: M.H. Bread and Butter in San Anselmo. I go there with my family at least once a week.

Q: What was your favorite toy as a child?
A: My tennis racquet.

Q: What’s your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?
A: Eggs and a smoothie.

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
A: A very warm place with a beach.

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4 Packing Tips for a Move

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SANTA ROSA — If you’re doing your own packing in preparation for a move, consider the following tips: 1. Label all boxes. On every box you pack, write the room it will ultimately go into, as well as the general items… Read more

Expert Video Tip

Video: Communication in Moving

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Complete Video Transcription:

SANTA ROSA — Host, Sarah Rutan: To avoid mistakes and other problems during a move, you’ll need to be proactive about communication. To learn more, we’re… Read more

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