MEATHEAD – (noun) a strong, clean cut, student-athlete from a local college.
Founded by two high-school brothers, an incredible California company has gone beyond the simple philosophy of superior customer service by creating a thriving and growing company that has changed the way many people perceive the household moving and storage industry – Meathead Movers helps victims of domestic violence by moving their belongings at no charge. Yep, you heard it right…no charge.
The year was 1997. With Aaron Steed as high school junior and Evan Steed a freshman, the brothers found difficulty in finding part-time work that fit around their busy school and athletic schedules until one day helping a friend’s parents to move. What happened to follow was the beginning of their vision while spreading the good.
Printing flyers in high school computer class offered Aaron’s pager number on tear-off strips…remember pagers?! Despite not owning their own truck, word spread about their labor service as flyers make their rounds which soon led to more gigs. A great way to earn money around their high school commitments, the Steeds would usually settle on $20.00 and pizza for a day’s labor – talk about FEASTing it Forward! Enjoying the workout of moving, they also enjoyed the gratitude they received from their clients after a job well done. Aaron would usually get paged during school class time and would return the calls between classes from the school pay phone. “I’d periodically get calls from someone — usually a woman — fleeing an abusive relationship. There were a lot of intense moments and crying… I remember the conversations pretty vividly and feeling a tremendous amount of panic and sadness. Handling those phone calls made it very real very quick. As the jobs went on, we realized we were potentially saving lives.”
Customers would rent a moving van or truck, pick the movers up themselves, drive them to their house and the movers would load their belongings. The client would then drive the moving truck to the new home, and the movers would unload. The movers were clean-cut, polite, and hard-working. Within a few years they were completely supporting themselves—able to purchase their own cars, clothes, food and rent, as well as employ about 25 of their friends.
Despite some people telling the Steeds that they doubted they could make the transition from labor service to full-fledged business, the brothers soon recognized the scale of the need beyond its standard moving concept. Unwilling to take money from people in such distress, the brothers decided to make free moving services for people fleeing violent situations a company policy. Soon their fledgling enterprise was fielding as many moving jobs as they could possibly handle, and Meathead Movers, Inc. became a full-time occupation for both brothers. Event the LA Times wrote an article sharing the mission of these compassionate FEASTers, and we tend to agree.
The company primarily employs student athletes and works with local domestic violence shelters to ensure that all movers are trained to handle the tense situations they may encounter during a move.
“As I get older, I can’t help but really value and appreciate more and more the tone this sets for my employees who are involved in actually moving these victims,” Aaron Steed reflects. “I can’t help but think and hope that it changes their perception of themselves and their ability to have a major impact to do something that can really help someone in need.”
Aaron and Evan continue to base their management style on a coaching philosophy of encouraging excellence in every member of the growing Meathead team. Each employee is required to maintain a positive attitude, recognize the shared objectives of all Meathead associates and be accountable for their own excellence. All applicants for Meathead Movers are interviewed multiple times, background checks are conducted, and references are thoroughly screened before they are officially hired. Upon being hired, each employee is paid to observe fellow workers on the job before they are allowed to perform any moving services. The company emphasizes politeness, with strict hygiene policies and requiring the athletic movers to jog back from the truck into the house to maximize time. They offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
Meathead Movers allows young people to build their own work schedules around their athletic and academic commitments, affording many the ability to work their way through college. The company provides an on-site fitness facility, computer lab, and transportation assistance. Giving back to the community is one of the company’s founding principles. Meathead Movers regularly organizes benefit events for local charities; organizes supply drives for disaster victims; and partners with local law enforcement to move victims of domestic violence free of charge.
In addition, all employees are taught to be intensely aware of each customer’s needs and to maximize efficiency in an attempt to save the client time and money. When not carrying items, for example, it is policy for the Meatheads to jog when not carrying any items and since all moving companies charge by the hourly rates, Meathead has been known to save our customers time and money.
As for the survivors themselves, Meathead Movers’ rapid and discreet service has been invaluable. “They’re wonderful, sensitive, caring and enthusiastic,” says Kathleen Buczko, executive director of Good Shepherd Shelter, a refuge for homeless women and children in Los Angeles. “They help turn something that had been associated with something that was so incredibly traumatic into a celebration of moving to their new homes and to a new life.”
If you would like to help, Meathead Movers’ asks supporters to donate to domestic violence shelters in their own communities — you can find listings for US shelters (https://www.domesticshelters.org/) and for shelters around the world (http://www.hotpeachpages.net/). If you are a business owner wishing to get involved in helping end domestic violence their company initiative and pledge at http://www.meatheadmovers.com/pledge/