Written by The Business Journal Staff
Aaron Steed, President/CEO
What we do:
Meathead Movers provides the first client and employee focused moving service. We are dedicated to providing safe and ethical moving solutions for our clients, while supporting student athletes working their way through school. We also provide free moving services to assist victims of domestic violence get a fresh start in life.
I graduated from San Luis Obispo High School and briefly attended Cuesta College and Cal Poly. When Meathead Movers really began to take off, I decided to focus all of my energy on the company, rather than finish school. However, I never stop reading and learning new things, both about my industry and the world at large.
Family: Wife, Erin Steed (est. 2008). Brother, Evan Steed.
What is the story behind Meathead Movers, Aaron?
Evan and I started Meathead Movers in 1997 when I was a junior in high school and Evan was a freshman. We were looking for a way to make money that would be flexible with our busy school and athletics schedule — I wrestled and Evan played football. It began simply with helping our friends’ parents load and unload rental trucks in exchange for tips and pizza. We got our friends and teammates involved, and soon it became clear we had an exciting opportunity on our hands and decided to make the venture official.
Why student athletes, Aaron?
Student athletes are the perfect movers. They are strong, dedicated and can face hard work straight on, with a smile. Every college kid needs money but balancing school, homework, games and practice makes it extremely difficult to have a side job. Our flexible scheduling is perfect for them and, as a bonus, they are able to get in an extra work out on the job—our movers are required to jog when not carrying anything!
What are some current trends in the relocation industry, Aaron?
Moving is a pretty old school industry, and it’s rare to see a company innovating the way we do. As in every industry in 2015, there are companies trying to be the “Uber of (fill in the blank).” Due to very strict regulation and licensing requirements for moving companies in California, this has proven to be a struggle for those attempting to be on the cutting edge of moving.
In terms of our clients and the Fresno market specifically, we see an awful lot of movement between the Central Valley and the Central Coast. With an improving economy, many people have been able to purchase second homes, either to vacation or retire on the coast or be by family or business interests in the Valley.
How does it feel to make the Inc. 5000 list once again, Aaron?
It is incredible to be included on such a prestigious list, let alone for the fourth consecutive year. It is definitely a reflection of the hard work put in by every member of our team that we are able to sustain the quality of our services during such massive growth.
To what do you attribute Meathead Movers’ revenue growth, Aaron?
I attribute it to my entire team’s relentless pursuit to satisfy our clients throughout the entire moving process. This can entail everything from handling multiple re-schedules due to escrow issues, to showing up on move day with their favorite coffee order. One of our top marketing resources is “word of mouth,” so we know that leaving a client thrilled with their move will have an exponential effect on our business as they share their experience with family, friends, neighbors and co-workers. During this time of growth, we also added on Princess Packers, which is a professional packing service that has been a big help to our clients.
What prompted the expansion into the Fresno area, Aaron?
We had been receiving calls from potential clients in the Fresno area for quite some time and were unable to assist them unless they were moving out of the area. The sheer volume of these inquiries, and the proximity to both a state college and community college, made us realize that it would be a perfect area for us. We had the right idea. It has been incredible how much the community in Fresno has embraced us in the short time since we opened.
What is in the future for Meathead Movers, Aaron?
We want to make sure that our growth is sustainable, so we are focusing on our existing four locations (San Luis Obispo, Ventura and Orange County, in addition to our Fresno location) throughout 2016. When we expand again, we are looking to open two branches in the Bay Area. At Meathead Mini-Storage in San Luis Obispo, we are adding 30,000 square feet of climate controlled storage units.
What was your very first job and what did you learn from it, Aaron?
I have been motivated to succeed since a really young age. I didn’t have much parental support, so it was up to me to figure out how to make money for the basics and wrestling tournament fees. I did odd jobs growing up: pulling staples out of the local copy shop floor for a penny each is one memorable one. I worked at a car wash for a couple weeks when I was 15, scrubbing bugs off of headlights. During that time I learned that if I could figure out a way to work for myself, that is what I wanted to do. Meathead Movers took shape not long after, and soon I had a pager and was returning client calls from the school pay phone between classes.
What was the best advice you ever received, Aaron?
I am not sure who originally said this, but I was listening to Paul Orfalea speak (the founder of Kinko’s and a business role model of mine) and he said that one way to succeed is to do something ordinary in an extraordinary way. I really think that is what we have done with Meathead Movers. Moving isn’t glamorous or exciting, but we have found a way to create a service that makes the move experience enjoyable instead of painful and stressful.
What do you like to do in your spare time, Aaron?
I love to travel as often as possible. My wife, Erin, and I just returned from a trip to Cabo and in the past year have been to Europe, Chicago, Nashville, Portland, Scottsdale and Sonoma. I am an admitted workaholic, and I have learned that to stay sane, I need to get away for a few days every couple months. I often have my best inspirations away from the day-to-day, so I come back renewed and excited to get back to it. I’m also a huge taco aficionado and am always trying local recommendations as we travel between our various branches. I still need to find the best taco in Fresno!