There is always a jolt of excitement that comes when you discover a business that is looking to turn an industry on it’s head. Lindsay Curtis and her company A Smart Move are doing just that. A Smart Move’s goal is to completely replace disposable moving cardboard boxes with eco-friendly, reusable boxes. The advantages to these rentable boxes go far beyond protecting the environment. They are crush proof, stackable, water proof, easy to grip and save time/money. You can get more information on A Smart Move on their website, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
My name is Lindsay Curtis. As well as being an entrepreneur, I am a wife of 23 years (and counting) and mother to three beautiful children. I am also from the UK and have only been in San Diego for 10 years – so I still have my English accent.
How did you get into your business?
Having moved 5 times in 4 years, one of which was Transatlantic, we were on the move again! I thought there had to be a better, eco-friendlier way of moving. As Oprah says – I had my light bulb moment! Why not rent out clean and sanitized eco-friendly moving boxes?
I researched and found, while there are nationwide companies doing this, no one was doing it in San Diego – hence A SMART MOVE was born.
Over five years later we have served hundreds of clients for home moves, office moves and renovations; offering our clients a door-to-door service and helping them calm the chaos of moving.
What has been your biggest challenge?
Those who use our services love it. Our multitude of repeat customers show us that we are doing something right! Educating people in not only that the service exists, but how the service works and how it saves them money is the key factor in our struggles.
Potential clients call, ask for a quote, and some think it’s too expensive. But I urge them to think outside the box (no pun intended!). I point out that we estimate it takes about eight hours to find/purchase boxes, make boxes up, break them down and get rid of them afterwards – we just turn up with boxes before you move and whisk them away once you have unpacked equaling hours of time saved. How valuable is their time?
Secondly, as the boxes all uniformly stack on top of each other, it takes less time with the movers rolling them on & off the truck, saving them about 1-2 hours of the mover’s time equalling less money spent. And don’t even get me started with the whole hygiene thing, used boxes could carry bacteria and mold. All our boxes are clean and sanitized before leaving our premises. Plus, they are sturdy (no bottoms falling out), have carrying handles and carry about 1.5 times more than the standard box size. What’s not to like?
What do you wish you’d known when you started?
American English!!! Sometimes I forget we do not speak the same language and turn of phrases are different between our two cultures! Every so often I still slip up for example; when I ask ‘how did you find the service’ I don’t mean how did you find the service, like on Google or Yelp – I really mean ‘what was your experience with the service?’
And I should have cancelled my gym membership! Carrying boxes in and out of the truck, moving them up and down flights of stairs in stacks of 5 at a time, is not for the faint hearted or weak willed. I am now as strong as an ox, with a large chiropractic bill!
If you could narrow your success down to one thing, what would it be?
Love – love for what I do, love for my clients and receiving love from my family and friends in support of what I am doing.
Where do you see yourself in a year?
The goal is to be synonymous with moving. Just like you know you need a moving company or to rent a truck when you move and you know you also need boxes. So, we would be your first port of call rather than using cardboard boxes.
What are your tips for women starting a business?
Don’t over think. As women we tend to think things through differently than our male counterparts. Whilst of course you must think logically and strategically, don’t think yourself out of a situation, think yourself into one!
Just do it. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, I just thought it was a great idea. Go for it. The rest will follow. And if it doesn’t – then heck, learn from it!
Cross each bridge as you get to it. Of course obstacles will get in your way and things you had never even thought off will come up. And even when you have Plan B or C in place, life happens. But if you worried about every scenario, you would never get out of bed, let alone run a successful business. When a problem arises, outside of your comfort zone, take a breath and tackle it head on.
Surround yourself with support people, who may not think like you and therefore may offer a different solution and ask for help!
What is a typical day for you like?
What I think is a typical day and what is an actual day are two very different pictures!
Typical day would be all our collections and deliveries are done in the morning. Which then leaves the afternoon free for me to make calls, do paperwork, get online to do our social media and general duties that keeps everything running smoothly.
My actual day – the phone starts ringing at 8am and I finish working about 10pm! Sometimes people need boxes immediately or clients are called out of town so we have to fetch the boxes earlier than anticipated. So routes and schedules can get changed around at the last minute. Every day is a new adventure and that’s part of the rush and enjoyment for me.
What’s your business motto or quote you live by?
Right or wrong there is more to life than just working! If I want a day-off I take it. If I’m feeling good, then I’m offering my clients the best me which in turn is the best service, so everyone wins.
If you were starting your business over again, what would you do differently
Nothing. Have I made mistakes? Sure, but had I not made them I wouldn’t be where I am today as each of them has been a learning curve. As my business has grown, so have I. I absolutely love what I do, the service I provide and love seeing my clients happy and settled in their new homes.