Ask the Experts: How to Deal with Rogue Movers with Laura McHolm
February 10, 2023
Laura McHolm is an anomaly in the moving industry. She didn’t get her start in business with a moving company– she’s a former lawyer turned moving company co-founder of NorthStar Moving.
After years in corporate, she got her start in moving because she wanted to work in a service-oriented industry.
“I wanted something that was completely service oriented and I felt like, at that time, what was lacking in the industry for people was a service in the moving industry. And people, I think too often, think of movers as somebody who's going to rip them off and movers have a really bad reputation. So I wanted to change that and I wanted the consumer to have the feeling that they were taken care of because it's an extremely stressful time of life.”
This blog just scratches the surface our of conversation with Laura. Keep reading for a quick recap or watch the webinar here.
Q&A with Laura McHolm
2021 rogue movers lawsuit
NorthStar Moving were suspicious after a series of negative online reviews. It turns out that despite having federally registered trademarks, a moving company in Florida was using their name. In 2021, they won their $13 million lawsuit.
“We were starting to get bad reviews and we'd look on our yelp or phone calls saying, “hey where's my shipment?” or “you guys took our money” or “why'd you break all this stuff?” and we'd look into our files and we wouldn't be able to find them,” says Laura.
“They were not our clients. And the first few of those you think well that's weird. And then pretty soon, you're like oh my gosh, we've got a really big problem…We think it's hopefully going to send a message for the entire industry, not just for us, that it's not okay to take somebody's name and pretend you’re them.”
What should you do if you have a rogue mover problem?
If you discover a rogue mover is using your name, get in the habit of documenting everything. You need to be hyper-vigilant and even train your salespeople to keep an eye out.
“And so here's my biggest recommendation to people: when you come across that, make sure that you start getting the documentation. Train the people who answer your phones and your emails, that if they're running across people who are using your name and misusing your name, get the documentation, get the bill of ladings that the other company used, get as much information as you can from those people who have been harmed by people using your name or similar name to yours. “
Everything you collect will become evidence when you go to trial or confront them. Gathering as much information as you can like the company’s address, license number, and the owner or main manager’s name will go a long way toward helping you in the legal battle.
Why is it important to stop rogue movers?
Your reputation is extremely important and you need to protect it from rogue movers who can ruin everything you’ve worked hard to build.
You should always monitor your review sites and reply to every review. If you see suspicious reviews, verify the reviewer and if it’s not a customer, you could have someone using your name.
“I want to talk about how important it is to squash those people that are doing that because they really can hurt you. You work hard for your reputation and you want to make sure that you protect it. And it's really hard to build a good reputation and it's really easy to destroy it and so you want to make sure that you're monitoring all of your review sites, that you're absolutely replying to every single yelp, every google review, every Facebook review, every phone call, any kind, any letter, any email,” says Laura.
What are the different steps involved in protecting yourself?
1. Protect your name with a trademark
The best way to protect your company is to use a unique name and federally trademark it. Generic names are too easy to impersonate and more challenging to protect.
And make sure that you're consistent with how your name appears. For example, NorthStar Moving never goes by just NorthStar.
“You want to register your trademarks and you should do that right when you start your business. And if you haven't done it, do it now. Hire an attorney to help you register your trademarks in your state and any state that you're doing business in. Make sure that you get the federally protected, registered trademark. And it takes several years to get that but it's an important process and you should start it,” says Laura.
2. Get a good team of attorneys
If you do find yourself in a situation where rogue movers are violating your trademark, it’s time to get some lawyers involved. Laura says that even though she’s an attorney, she’s on voluntary inactive status and doesn’t practice. She also knew it would be better to have someone else represent the company. So she found a great team of attorneys, in both LA and Florida. The legal costs were significant, but NorthStar Moving received legal fees in addition to the $13 million in damages when they won their case.
3. Start with a cease and desist
A cease and desist is a letter (usually drafted by an attorney) that says ‘you're using our name, you're not authorized to use our name, you must stop, you need to stop by this date, if you don't we will seek further action’. In this case, further action is a lawsuit.
4. File a lawsuit
If they ignore the cease and desist, that’s when you can file a lawsuit. Laura cautions that this whole process takes a long time.
“It's a long, gruelling process so you've got to be ready to go the distance if you start it. Because if you aren't going to follow through, don't even start it,” she says.
5. Start collecting information
Connect with the victims of the rogue movers– get their names, contact information, and any documentation and information you can get from them.
“Generally, people who have been ripped off want to get these guys too. So if you get them on the first call, when they're calling and they're upset because they think that you're the scoundrel, they're much more willing to help you. And then educate them too, like go to this board in this state and report them. Here are your rights. And give them links and resources on how to report them so that they can go after them themselves independently while you're going after them the other way for trademark infringement.”
Once you collect information from the victims, you can look for patterns to find info like the company’s address, license number, and phone number that they use. And then you can research that address online, that phone number, that name, and then find the state's registration for that company. And find out who the principals are of that company and things like that.
Whose job is it to educate customers about rogue movers?
All reputable moving companies should do their part to educate the public. The more people learn how to spot a rogue mover, the more they can help educate the public, as well.
“I feel like we as an association and as reputable movers, need to teach the public, this is what to look out for. And all of our jobs should be when we talk to our people who are shopping and hopefully moving with us, this is what you need to do, this is what you need to check, here's where you need to check it.”
Laura goes on to outline a few things that moving companies can share with customers to help them identify and stay away from rogue movers.
1. Check the license number: One thing people looking to hire a moving company do, that very few might think of, is to look for a license number on the website and then make sure it matches wherever that license is registered.
2. Scour online review sites: Even if a moving company has five-star reviews on their website, it’s still advisable to go online and check third-party sites like Yelp, Google, and Facebook.
3. Check years in business: Oftentimes, rogue movers are traveling bandits. They steal a name, rip people off, close down, and move on.
How does NorthStar Moving stand out from the competition?
NorthStar Moving is dedicated to high-quality service. They truly believe the customer is always right. And sometimes even when they're wrong they're right and it really helps.
“If you're not working every moment, every day, with every client, to turn them into a raving fan, what are you doing this for?” says Laura.
When did you begin focusing on your branding and building your reputation?
Branding should be part of your business plan from day one. Your brand is what makes you stand out from the crowd and is what you put out into the world. It’s how you show up online, at community events, and how you serve your customers.
When you share your mission and values with people that work for you, they'll bring your ideas to light, and go out and make your vision even bigger. Part of developing a brand is about hiring good people and empowering them to make good decisions.
Be diligent in your business to develop a brand, show up consistently, and track your online presence. It’s easy to get busy and complacent, but it could come back to haunt you. Choose a unique name, monitor reviews, and educate customers as much as you can.
Full webinar transcript: How to deal with rogue movers, with Laura McHolm
Welcome, everyone, to our live Q&A of the “Ask the Experts” series. I'm Heidi Liou and I'm the Strategic Partnerships Manager at Supermove. We're on a mission to make moving simple for everyone with the moving software that brings your whole team from your sales to operations, dispatch, and your coordinators, all on one system. And today I'm joined by Laura McHolm, co-founder of NorthStar Moving Company, and look forward to talking about how to deal with rogue movers.
A brief bio about Laura: she has been consistently honored with leadership awards, including entrepreneur of the year 2019 by the Los Angeles business journal, businesswoman of the decade, philanthropist of the year, and one trailblazer of the year, which is awesome. There are not enough women leaders in this industry. Prior to co-founding NorthStar Moving with her partner over 25 years ago, Laura was a lawyer and worked in marketing for fortune 500 companies, bringing a very knowledgeable and unique perspective on how to stand up to rogue movers.
In December 2021, NorthStar Moving won its trademark infringement lawsuit against King David Van Lines and its operators. And a federal judge awarded NorthStar Moving $13 million. We're here today to learn from you how to deal with those rogue movers and get the results that you did. I'll start by asking questions that were submitted during registration and open it up to questions from the audience. So to kick it off, tell us if there are any things I missed in your bio, feel free to fill that in, but tell us more about your story.
How did you get into the industry and what's kept you in it?
Well anybody who's in the moving industry knows that it's a fascinating industry because it's so challenging and it's fun, but what got me into it originally was I wanted to do something that was service oriented. I had worked for Atari in marketing in its infancy. I worked for Intel in the legal department. I had worked for inventors protecting their intellectual property rights. I had done a lot. I taught computer programming and mathematics.
so I'd done a lot of different things but I wanted to start something on my own and have my own business. And I wanted something that was completely service oriented and I felt like, at that time, what was lacking in the industry for people was a service in the moving industry. And people, I think too often, think of movers as somebody who's going to rip them off and movers have a really bad reputation. So I wanted to change that and I wanted the consumer to have the feeling that they were taken care of because it's an extremely stressful time of life.
So I got my degree from Berkeley and my undergraduate degree is in cognitive neurological psychology. And some of the things it talks about are big, stressful events. One of the big stressing events is moving, and it's right up there in the top five. And it's always accompanied by another stressor like you don't just move, you either move because you're changing a job or something's happening in your life. So you have two stressors usually or more, like a divorce, a marriage, you're changing jobs, kids are going to a new school, and you're moving.
So my friends who own restaurants always talk about how they're so stressed, they're hungry. It's like oh you want to see stress? You got to see somebody moving—that's somebody who's really stressed. So I'm about changing that whole thing up and making sure that people who are moving feel taken care of and are provided good service.
So I originally got in thinking I'd only do it for a few years. But we kept growing and it kept giving me new challenges. I was used to really big corporate 500 companies and starting with a mom and pop… the [inaudible] is really different but every time we grow, it's a new set of challenges and interesting to me. And we've been lucky enough to do between eight to ten thousand moves a year, every year. We're in multiple states now, we've won gazillions of awards so it's been a fun ride.
So what keeps you in it? All that stress? [laughs]
What keeps me in? It's new challenges. I don't want to get bored. I want new challenges all thetime. I want to keep growing. I want to make sure that I'm providing amazing service. Since I've been doing this for a long time, we had to go through the 2008 downturn where everybody suffered and that was quite whoa everybody remembers that, and then of course COVID.
And then I guess they say that imitation is flattery, but it's also a pain. So it was about cleaning up our reputation and keeping our reputation as sparkling as it always was and not having these people ruining it for us. We've worked long and hard, as we all do, for our reputation and it's so important to protect that.
What are some of the biggest challenges you face day to day?
I'm really lucky that I have an amazing staff. I get a lot done because I have an amazing staff. So I think that a lot of it is juggling and once you get a support system in place, you want to keep them and so that's part of the challenge—keeping everybody going. But dealing with these infringers was quite challenging. We found out that there's not a lot of government assistance for you and you need to do it yourself and I could talk a lot about that but that was quite challenging. And now it's catching up from all the energy and time and hours that I had to pivot my marketing staff into like little mini-researchers, and back to doing what we're supposed to be doing which is building the business.
Talking about these rogue movers, can you tell us more about this recent lawsuit that you guys won?
Sure yeah. We're excited about that. We think it's hopefully going to send a message for the entire industry, not just for us, that it's not okay to take somebody's name and pretend you’re them. Just a real quick background on the lawsuit in case people don't know about it: We had someone in Florida who was using our name, NorthStar Moving, and we also have federally registered trademarks on NorthStar Moving, NorthStar Moving Company, and NorthStar Movers. And they were using NorthStar Movers.
And how we found out about them was that we were starting to get bad reviews and we'd look on our yelp or phone calls saying, “hey where's my shipment?” or “you guys took our money” or “why'd you break all this stuff?” and we'd look into our files and we wouldn't be able to find them. They were not our clients. And the first few of those you think well that's weird. And then pretty soon, you're like oh my gosh, we've got a really big problem.
And so here's my biggest recommendation to people: when you come across that, make sure that you start getting the documentation. Train the people who answer your phones and your emails, that if they're running across people who are using your name and misusing your name, get the documentation, get the bill of ladings that the other company used, get as much information as you can from those people who have been harmed by people using your name or similar name to yours.
So you can collect all of that and then keep really good files because that's going to be your evidence when you go to trial, or when you confront these people. So that's important. We had to train our staff. and I can go through the whole thing. I don't know how you want to breakit up. But yeah we were lucky enough that the judge saw that these people were nefarious and acting willfully, and they even took pictures of our trucks and our guys and put them on their yelp profile. No hiding it. So we received more than 13 million dollars in damages plus legal fees which were over a million bucks. We've been awarded that plus domain name squatting, which the maximum you can get there is a hundred thousand dollars and the judge granted us a hundred thousand dollars. So it's all of those together. So we're over 15 million. So what would you like me to speak about?
What's stopping another moving company from taking or using someone else's name and using their SEO?
Yeah, that's the problem. There isn't. Like when we went to the Department of Transportation and we went to the Florida authorities and we went to everyone, they basically were like, well you're on your own. It’s not someone who comes out and tells you but that's what it is.
And I want to back up just a tiny bit because I want to talk about how important it is to squash those people that are doing that because they really can hurt you. You work hard for your reputation and you want to make sure that you protect it. And it's really hard to build a good reputation and it's really easy to destroy it and so you want to make sure that you're monitoring all of your review sites, that you're absolutely replying to every single yelp, every google review, every facebook review, every phone call, any kind, any letter, any email. Make sure that you're staying on top of those.
One, it's great customer service so you should be doing it for that if nothing else. But in the process, you educate yourself about who's out there using your name because all of a sudden you can say well that's not our guy, we don't have a guy named Larry who's got a purple truck, like that's not who we are. So I think it's important to do that.
And you mentioned there are not very many resources for moving companies that deal with rogue movers. So you're mentioning how important it is to stop these people but at the same time, you dedicated all your resources to fight this. So when did you realize this is so bad that I have to shift my resources and stop with the marketing and now they're doing research?
They tell you you should never be emotionally involved with your business and you can't help but be when these people were preying on the elderly, they were preying on people who were not very sophisticated, and they were holding their things hostage. They were breaking things. They were taking deposits. And even if they didn't move, they wouldn't give them back. They were telling them, “if you want that money back, you have to remove your review.” They were just horrendous and all using my name. So it became personal to me. It became personal that I had worked really hard. We had worked hard to be who we are and we're proud of who we are. And to have some fly by night or whoever decided that they were going to wreck it for us was just not an option. So one, it was taking care of ourselves, but also we felt it was our duty to take care of the public.
And I think the thing is that we started very simply. We worked with… Even though I'm an attorney, I'm on voluntary inactive status, so I don't practice. I could easily pay 200 bucks and I'd be back practicing law but I knew that I didn't want to represent us. I knew that it was better if I was back and that we got somebody else in the front. So I found very good legal counsel and it was important so I had a team of attorneys—let me stress, a team of attorneys—in LA, and I had a team of attorneys in Florida. So it was a lot of legal bills to really go after these guys.
So we started with a nice cease and desist. And if somebody doesn't know what a cease and desist letter is, you can have an attorney draft it for you and it says, you're using our name, you're not authorized to use our name, you must stop, you need to stop by this date, if you don't we may have to seek further action. And further action usually is for suing you. So we sent them several cease and desist letters, but they didn't stop. And so that's when we filed the lawsuit to get them to stop but the whole process takes like five years. It's a long, grueling process so you've got to be ready to go the distance if you start it. Because if you aren't going to follow through, don't even start it.
The other thing that you want to make sure that you have— backing up even further—if you have a name that's unique enough, that you can protect it. So you want to register your trademarks and you should do that right when you start your business. And if you haven't done it, do it now. So you hire an attorney to help you register your trademarks in your state and any state that you're doing business in. You don't necessarily need that but it doesn't hurt. But make sure that you get the federally protected, registered trademark. And it takes several years to get that but it's an important process and you should start that. Because I was an intellectual property attorney, we had started our trademarks years ago. So it wasn't something that we needed to go run out and do. we'd already had that. But I would advise everybody listening to go get your trademarks protected. And make sure that you're consistent. For example, our name is NorthStar Moving so we don't go by NorthStar and we don't have anything written just NorthStar. So that you brand yourself well. I feel like I'm talking a lot.
No no no. This is all information that I knew nothing about and I'm sure some people don't know how important it is to have all the details done just to protect yourself from this ever happening. We have some comments. This is a huge problem for seniors as you mentioned. And when you were talking about gathering evidence in preparation for going to court, do you have any specific tips? I guess everything is documented digitally but anything specific?
yes. so make sure you keep a list of, what I call, were the victims of the infringer. So you have their name, you have all their contact information, and then any documentation you can get from them. And then have your staff and you, if you have a phone conversation, write up notes right away—not tomorrow. They hang up the phone, then write notes so that you document what they've said to you. Request them to send in information. And generally, people who have been ripped off and if they're talking to you, they want to get these guys too. So if you get them on the first call, when they're calling and they're upset because they think that you're the scoundrel, they're much more willing to help you. And then educate them too, like go to this board in this state and report them. Here are your rights. And give them links and resources on how to report them so that they can go after them themselves independently while you're going after them the other way for trademark infringement.
So I think gathering all of that, keeping all of that very well organized, and then looking for patterns in that information. Then that information gives you things like the company's address, the company's license number, and a phone number that they use. And then you can research that address online, that phone number, that name, and then find the state's registration for that company. And find out who the principals are of that company and things like that.
So when it comes to customers looking for credible moving companies, what are some tips for the end customer to identify rogue movers? Maybe not on your end but just as an end customer looking for a credible moving company?
Sure that's a great question. So we like to tell anybody who's shopping with us, first of all, to check that there is a license number on the website and that the license number matches. Go to whatever organization has issued that license, DOT, or whatever, and check that the license matches up and that the name of the company is the same name that the license is for.
Then check reputable review sites. Because what these people have done is send people to like scummy websites that they had made up and put five-star reviews there but they were not the big ones, they were not yelp, they were not google, they were not Facebook. They were little tiny places but to the end user, to the less sophisticated, they look like they've got twenty 5-star reviews. Well, they got that because there are people in their office who wrote them for them. So so make sure that you're checking reputable sites, they're licensed check old-fashioned BBB. I mean I know most people don't use the BBB anymore but check the BBB rating. Check all of those things before you hire somebody and check that the paperwork matches what's on the website and what's been told to you over the phone. And if the company's just answering the phone as a “mover.” That's not good. Or you feel like you're talking to somebody's cell phone, that's not good. There are not enough people behind them.
Check how many years people have been in business. Because unfortunately what happens with rogue movers, and this is a huge problem, is that they're traveling bandits. They use a name, they rip people off, they rip people off, they rip people off, things get hot, that name gets a little soured, they get a few too many bad reviews on their yelp profile, they close down, they move, they change the name, and they do it all over again. So it's very important that a moving company's been in business for a long time because if they are constantly changing things, that's a red flag right there.
That's a really interesting point. I don't know if that's common knowledge to people that are shopping for moving companies, so I appreciate you bringing that up. And I guess in today's digital age, it's not very clear whether or not a company has been in business for a long time. So I guess that's something that we just have to continue to educate customers on. So, would you say that most customers are aware of rogue mover problems—
[laughs] Or does your team help to educate them?
We all should be. That's part of what all of us need to do. And that's why I agreed to do this. One, I'm happy to always talk about it but it's not just that. I feel like we as an association and as reputable movers, we need to teach the public, this is what to look out for. And all of our jobs should be when we talk to our people who are shopping and hopefully moving with us, this is what you need to do, this is what you need to check, here's where you need to check it.
Because the more people learn something, the more they are going to tell their friends when their friend says, how do you find out about a mover? Hey, did you check them on the BBB? Did you check their license? Does their paperwork match? So they're going to help teach other people too. But in the beginning, and probably the beginning is the next 50 years, we've got to teach people.
yeah. I'm seeing a comment: I'm showing my age with this statement but ever since the abolishment of the Interstate Commerce Commission and the deregulation of the nation's trucking industry, there has been an ever-increasing amount of rogue movers over the years. Also, many states’ public services commissions have abdicated regulation and enforcement measures against illegal movers.
Yeah, some states are more prone to problems. Florida is where our fringers are from. Well, lots of problems in Florida that I know that everybody has had, but the Attorney General in Florida is going after the same people that we went after. So those people are already in a lawsuit filed by the Attorney General of Florida which I'm very happy about.
Wow. Yeah, it’s easier for people to start a company and then have this issue happen. So it's frustrating to know that some states are completely unregulated like that. Just to switch topics quickly. And then I'll open it up to questions from the audience. I did see there are some questions in the chat as well as in the Q&A, so feel free to submit those. But let’s talk about something a little more lighthearted. Laura, what makes your company stand out from your competition?
I think it's our dedication to service. I always feel weird saying that to another group of movers because I'm sure you guys are all dedicated to service too or you wouldn't be going to seminars like this and finding out things. But we truly believe that the customer is always right and sometimes even when they're wrong they're right and I think that helps. And also just being able to foresee what's happening and to make sure what their needs are and take care of it.
It's a very old-fashioned policy to make sure that you treat people well and to treat people like you want to be treated and treat people like they were your grandmother who was moving or that's your sister and your mom. And how would you want them to be treated? And if you can instill that in your guys, I think that is really powerful. if they understand that we're not here to make a quick buck. We're here for the long run. What we want to do is, every time we have a client we want to convert that client to be our client forever. That's why I don't use the word customer. A customer to me implies a one-time transaction where it’s like McD—no McDonald's isn’t a good example because people go back there—but you go in once, you get the job done, and it's wham bam and you're gone.
And that's not what we want to do. We want to make sure that our clients become our raving fans. And if you're not working every moment, every day, with every client, to turn them into a raving fan, what are you doing this for?
And knowing that you're trying to turn every client into a raving fan, are there people that you say no to doing business with because you know that they're going to be a picky client, or do you guys still do your best?
We don't mind picky, we mind unreasonable. But absolutely we vet our customers. That's part of the job of the client loyalty team, to make sure that they're a good fit for us. We're not going to give people the lowest price. We're not in a pricing war, we're in a service war. And there are plenty of people moving. There's plenty of it out there for all of us if we all do it right.
Good to know you guys aren’t in a pricing war because it seems like there are a lot of companies that are just going lower and lower and lower.
Yeah, what that tells me is that they aren't treating their people right. Their people are getting paid under the table which is horrible because that means that they're not earning social security. They don't have medical benefits for their people. They don't have 401Ks for their people. They aren't taking care of the people that are moving your clients. And if you're not taking care of them, why do you think they're going to take care of your reputation and your clients? That's just ridiculous to me. Yeah, you've really got to take care of your people.
It's the standard that you guys set for all of your company and then all your clients as well.
All my businesses are run that way yeah.
And recently hiring movers and drivers continues to be a big challenge, so how does your team tackle this challenge?
I think we're not lucky, we work hard at it. We've had 10 best places to work awards and I think that counts for people. They're interested in working for a company that cares about them. And so people are gravitated to apply for jobs where people are winning awards for taking good care of them. Why would they want to go work somewhere else? So that's good. I think also there is a shortage so we decided, and I just had an article published in Entrepreneur Magazine about this, to actually shrink down the number of moves we did because we didn't want to not live up to our high standards. Because we can't come back from ruining our own reputation by sending a subpar team out to do something. So if we didn't have the person-power to get things done right the first time, then we didn't do it.
And that's hard. We all are gulping. Because I remember 2008 way too well when nobody was moving. To say no to business, I don't want to do that. But on the other hand, to ruin your own reputation after you work so hard to protect it from somebody else ruining it, that's crazy too. So you absolutely need to pick your clients, pick your people, and take good care of them. and I think that in the end, it'll take care of itself.
What a decision to say no to business and I wonder how many other moving companies have gone that route versus continuing to contract less quality or not strongest quality movers.
Yeah, we don't hire the two guys standing on the side of the road who need a job. Because we're gonna stand by everything that they do right and I want them a little more vetted than that, and a little more trained, and a little more customer oriented. And I don't want to pay for those damages and those [inaudible]. We all know what those problems are.
So I have a question here: Congrats on the win, but is there an actual recovery of 15 million from an illegal company? How has that recovery process started?
It's in process and because it's very recent. So currently they are mandated to show us all of their assets and we're waiting for that and so stay tuned. It's going to be a long process. That judgment stays against them for at least 20 years. So maybe we won't collect it all today but we will collect it. I'm determined, let me just put it that way. These people, they're toast.
Well, a lot of people will be following in the journey for sure yeah. During the trial, was there one particular piece of information that tipped the result to your benefit?
oh, there was so much. I don't know whether it was one thing. We were very methodical in presenting our case. We worked hard to document everything. I think just the fact that the infringers were so cavalier about it was shocking to the judge. And the fact that we could say that guy in that picture's name is so-and-so and he works such and such a date; and I picked out that Pantone color that's on that biodiesel sticker and that's not a classic biodiesel sticker my designer Morale designed that biodiesel sticker. So I think a lot of it was just clear. I think it's little bits of everything adding up together. And we had the federal registrations, we had state registrations, and we had tons of documentation. So we had absolute confusion in the marketplace. You have to be able to prove that somebody is confused and they were. They were calling us thinking that they were them. That's confusion. And to get the trouble damages you needed willfulness and we can certainly show willfulness.
And dealing with rogue movers is a lot about protecting your reputation. As you started your company and you're building that reputation, when did you, and maybe this question is tied to branding, but when did you double down on standing behind your brand and your reputation?
I come from marketing. I always double down on branding. When I started at Atari, there were 14 people in the marketing department and we grew to be a fortune 500 company when I was there. So I'm very serious about branding, to the point where I drive people crazy. Yeah, I'm not a fun person to work for. Because I want to make sure that things are exactly right and precise every single time. Because if it gets out once, it'll bite you forever.
And so it was from the beginning, just like we've always been green. We've been a green company from the beginning because that was important to me. We've always been involved with the community because that was important to me. And I was creating the business that I wanted to see in the world.
I wanted to see a business that was service-oriented. I wanted to see a business that stood for integrity. I wanted to see a business that was green. I wanted to see a business that took care of its employees. I wanted to see a business that was active in the community, that has annual food drives, that gives back to the community, that is Make-a-Wish’s friend, that takes on helping out companies. Right now we're working very strongly with Miry's list who works with refugees. We are dedicated to giving back because I don't know why else you make money if you're not there to make sure that you're making a better impact in the world.
I love how intentional you and your company are in the community. With all the challenges happening in the moving industry, I think it's hard for some companies to focus on being involved in the community and they're just trying to survive. So it's great that you guys are always keeping that top of mind and it's very very important to the company.
it's important to me and it turns out that it's important for everybody that works for me too or most people who work for us. Because if you let your values be known and your mission known to people that work for you and make sure that they understand it, they'll start bringing you your ideas right. Their ideas will mimic yours and they will be unique and they will be able to go out and make your vision even bigger. And it's really about hiring good people and empowering those people to make sure that they can make the right decisions and have the power to make those decisions.
Here's an example. There's a woman in our CLT department who as a child was underprivileged and never could afford glasses. And so there was a van that came to her neighborhood that would help kids get reading glasses. And so she said, hey I've always thought of them and I really want to help them. I'm like great, they're our charity then now. Let's figure it out. Call them up, and figure out how we can get involved with them. Let's make a difference with that. So then people can start coming to you. Hey, I have family in such and such country and there's a tsunami there, can we have a clothing drive? Yes. And then guess what? They want to work with you because you're supporting what they care about.
Wow. I think that’s very unique to your company or maybe I need to ask around some more but I love that you're encouraging people to speak up and have them be involved in decisions like this. It's special.
Yeah, it's really important. Even if we're working remotely, they still spend a lot of time thinking about your company, so spend a lot of time thinking about them too.
Yeah, care about your people.
Well, Laura, I do want to wrap things up. Thank you so much for sharing your experience with rogue movers with all of us. It's very fascinating to get insight into the whole situation and to know that it's an ongoing journey. we're definitely here to support if we can. We very much appreciate your time.
And once again this live Q&A was brought to you by Supermove. We're bringing your whole moving company to one system and making it as easy as possible to run your business. And if you're not using any moving software I'd love to speak with you. Or if you're curious to see how we can help you level up, you can check out the Supermove website and mention that you attended this live Q&A with Laura.