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Friday, November 18, 2011

Cabinet Director

 * The title of this post was inspired by my friend (our friend, and fan also) MD and is dedicated to him.  He's going through a tough time right now and we wish him the best, always!

Part of the amazing thing about being in business for 9 months (and being as awesome as Brian and I say we are) is that you start making really amazing contacts.  Sometimes you even forget about contacts you have.  This happened the other day.

Months ago, when we were first starting, and Brian had just started his "Fred Sanford" hobby of driving around the neighborhood looking for garbage thrown to the curb to put in his car or van and re-sell later,  we were frantically driving from a garage sale to our respective houses to shower and change for a baby shower we were attending 40 minutes later (shoutout to CVR and AJR) -- when Brian noticed several nice leather office chairs on the curb.  There were 7-8 of them, and they were really  nice, but too big to fit in the car.  He realized right away they wouldn't fit in the car, and then spent another 3 minutes complaining about how we didn't have time to get the van but he really wanted them, but they'd be gone by the time we got back, blah blah blah.  (He does tend to ramble a lot, but thankfully, this time, it wasn't about Star Trek!)   He was trying to be nice to me and not make me late for this baby shower, so he finally abandoned this idea and just drove to his house.  I was supposed to get in my car and drive to my house.  Instead, I got in my car and drove back to the chairs to try to retrieve them.   I realized the hard way, what he had realized the easy way-- that they indeed, would not fit in the car.  So, I did what any young energetic & enthusiastic (& slightly crazy) red-blooded American girl might do--  I parked my car, walked to the chairs (about 2-3 blocks away)... and proceeded to start wheeling them, on foot, towards Brian's house.

I had it all figured out.  I'd make 3 or 4 trips, wielding 1 or 2 chairs per time, and when Brian got out of the shower and walked out of his house he'd see all of the chairs waiting for him.  Easy, right?   Wrong.  I realized about halfway through the first block that office chairs do NOT roll smoothly on concrete pavement.   What now?  I was still determined, so I spotted a 12 year old boy on a scooter and offered him $5 to help me move the rest of the chairs.  He eagerly accepted, and now the two of us are moving 4 chairs.    We make the first trip, head back for the second trip, and run into some gentlemen loading lumber and things into a truck.   They tell me they had their eye on those chairs, I tell them they're mine, they make fun of me for the way I'm moving them, I sharply respond, and I guess they're enamored with me, because the next thing I know they're offering to move the other 4 via pickup truck.

You should have seen Brian's face when he walked out of his house to see me, in my car, followed by the boy on the scooter, and the 3 guys in the pickup truck, with chairs on the grass, chairs on the driveway, and chairs in the back of the truck.   His face was priceless.  

Long story short-- we sold those chairs for a $175 profit, and all it took was a little hard work and ingenuity on my part.  Wouldn't you agree to move 7 chairs for $175?   I would!  So why do people get lazy when it actually becomes time to do it?   Maybe they don't have the contacts to sell them, maybe they don't want to have to be a sales person, I'm not sure... but that's probably the easiest $175 we ever made.

After finding 8 more of the previous 7 chairs' sisters (another $160 or so),  we were intrigued by the continuing piles of seemingly random office furniture outside of this one particular home, so one day I went and knocked on their door.  Turns out that the man is a contractor-- he does work for banks and office buildings and is paid x amount to get rid of their existing office furniture.  He hauls it away, usually, to the city dump.  Only, the city dump charges $x  per dump, killing his profit.  He has to use a truck and labor to make multiple trips to pay the dump.   He can put a few pieces at a time outside of his house and hope someone takes it (or the garbage men get it) but that still keeps his truck (or garage) full until that stuff disappears.  I offered to solve his problem.     Brian and I would take the furniture off of his hands, saving him the fees and hassle, and he'd deliver it to us, saving us some labor, and he'd have someone he knew that would take every piece of furniture every time.   Piece of cake.

We've gotten a few great truck loads from this gentleman before, but I had kind of forgotten about him until the other day, when he called me at 7am to tell me he was cleaning out a bank and had some very nice things.   Boy, did he!  We arrived at the warehouse (well, BRIAN did),  and found 4 amazing new commercial file cabinets, 3 desks, 2 manager desks, a slew of office supplies, divider partitions, cork board, and more.   Amazing.

I should mention here that Brian tried to take some pictures in the alley way for me, and when he did something happened and his usually 99.9% perfect self did the unthinkable-- he DROPPED his phone.  And it's screen promptly shattered into a million pieces.   Casualty of war!

Within minutes I had pictures up on Facebook, and within a day one of my most favorite facebook friends DPD had let me know her office wanted the cabinets.   We were able to get them $2800+ worth of file cabinets for $700 and also make a profit off of something we got for virtually nothing.

Because I like DPD so much, we didn't charge a delivery fee, but maybe that was a mistake!  Brian and I realized quickly that each cabinet weighed over 250 lbs. and were NOT easy to move.  They were also large and took up the ENTIRE van.   We had dollies that wouldn't work, carts with flat tires, battle scars and injuries, loading zones that were taken up by guys that refused to move their trucks, oh-- and I forgot to mention the best part-- we were going to the 14th floor.

Here are some pictures from our journey:

 The cabinets in question (and one of the divider boards)

 Another pic of the cabinets

Another pic of the cabinets

 Me on-site, in the lobby of said building, waiting to load the freight elevator to go to the 14th floor. Some of the guys in the office were nice enough to assist us in moving the cabinets!

 A group effort!

Hello, dollies!   We went through 3 of them! And an air pump!

I should also mention that somewhere in here, I lost one of Brian's gloves when it fell out of my pocket.  We retrieved it somewhere between the 1st and 14th floor!  I didn't hear the end of that for 10 whole minutes!

 The office people (we were sweating like pigs) were nice enough to make us cups of water.  When we returned, we were very excited to see that they were monogrammed for us!   B for Bad and R for Remarkable.... I mean B for Brian and R for Rebecca, of course!

Finally, in place!  2 more to go!

Brian's AFTER picture!

I realized on the way home that I had gotten a battle scar from moving these cabinets.  It's okay, I already have enough of them!  And they give me character!  But here it is, if you're curious:

After we were done, we stayed and chatted with the office peeps for awhile (they were actually REALLY cool),  and then went on our way, saving other people's day...  It was good though!

New friends:  4-5
File cabinets delivered:  4
Time spent:  2-3 hours
Phones lost: 1
Battle scars: 1
Cups of water:  4 1/2

All in all, not a bad day for not even having to buy a storage locker!

Final thoughts:
* Never underestimate something "free"
* A little hard work goes a long way
* You never know which of your friends may need something (or know someone who does), so advertise everything you have
* Contacts, contacts, contacts!

That's it, more next time!

Storage Heroes

1 comment:

  1. you forgot to mention my a-mazing bonus pair of slippers that i am wearing at this very moment ;)



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