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Growth keeps company on the move

Two Men and a Truck handles all types of moving jobs

Jim Blackinton had spent nearly three decades in advertising when his career path came to a fork. A few years down the road, he stumbled into Two Men and a Truck, and found success.

The Michigan-based moving company, which gets its name from its roots in the early 1980s as — you guessed it — two guys and a single moving truck, didn't yet have a Utah franchise, and Blackinton was looking for a change. Specifically, he was looking for a business opportunity that offered growth opportunities without requiring a huge initial investment.

"We thought about it and thought it'd be something that would work well in Utah, what with all the growth going on here," Blackinton said. So in 2002-03, he opened the first Two Men franchise in Layton. A second followed two years later in Murray.

Combined, the two franchises operate seven trucks and employ about 25 people.

As with any business, identifying the competition is key to success. In Utah, Blackinton said he faces competition on two fronts: from other moving companies and from do-it-yourselfers.

"I've been thinking that a good slogan might be 'Give the Elders Back Their Saturdays, Hire Two Men and a Truck,' " Blackinton said.

Then, he added, "Seriously, if you asked most people, 'Would you rather be out golfing on Saturday, or would you rather be moving your neighbor?' most people would say they'd rather be golfing. I mean, you get people who share their time so generously but who would probably rather be out doing something else. They might not be as careful, the trucks might not be enclosed or protected."

At Two Men, Blackinton said, "Our philosophy is to help you solve your moving problem. If you want us to handle everything, from A to Z, we're happy to do that. If all you want is a few of the larger items moved, we'll do that, too. It's your move. You never lose control over it."

Blackinton said he realizes that every moving company starts off with the same basic equipment: trucks, tools, movers. So, he said, Two Men and a Truck puts a premium on the "X" factor: service.

To date, Blackinton's franchises have a 97 percent satisfaction rate based on customer comment cards returned to the company, he said.

"The only way we have an edge is in service and satisfaction," he said. "So that's what we do: we try to provide a situation where we exceed people's expectations. That's what we feel will be our key to success."

Looking ahead, Blackinton said he doesn't have immediate plans to open another franchise. There's still room for growth in his existing markets.

"Growth is what we're looking at, no doubt about it," he said. "But we feel these two franchises have a lot of room for growth. We want to keep them growing, maybe get to 20 or 30 trucks."


E-mail: jnii@desnews.com