BOSTON—You might be able to easily “pahk ya cah in Hahvahd Yahd,” but planning a move in Boston on September 1 is a bit more challenging. (Sorry, Bostonians. That joke is as stale as month-old bread.)
For many years, Boston’s landlords have adopted a September-to-September leasing period. Blame the college kids. With countless colleges and universities in the city, landlords decided to fall in line with school schedules.
This means that from August 31 until days after September 1, the streets are crowded with renters who have decided to move to a new location. It also means that Team U-Haul has an added challenge when September 1 falls on Labor Day weekend—another busy moving weekend.
Rising to the occasion
Teams in Boston and the surrounding areas are well-equipped and ready for this hectic time of year. Marketing Company President (MCP) Matthew Pepin of U-Haul Company of Boston views this weekend as “the main event.”
“At this point, it’s become second nature,” Pepin declared. “We know it’s coming. Everyone gets geared up for it, and we get better and better every year.”
Prior to what Pepin calls a “perfect storm” of chaos, Phoenix-based U-Haul Rate Analyst Rebecca Gay works with the Boston Traffic Team to help move equipment back out of the area.
“We book up quickly … six months in advance,” Pepin explained. “Customers will rent one-way trucks from surrounding areas and return them in our marketing company. So, after noon on September 1 and for the next several days, we’ll have a lot of returns flooding our lots. We don’t have much real estate here, so it clogs our lots pretty quickly.”
“We want to get the equipment out of Boston and back in the hands of their neighbors to ensure that more customers in the surrounding areas can be helped,” Gay asserted. “If we can give customers added savings by returning the equipment to an alternate location to help resolve these parking issues, it’s well worth it.”
Everyone pitches in
Boston Moving Day is an “all hands on deck” event. Team U-Haul in Boston really pulls together to help serve more and more customers.
“It’s a huge team effort,” Pepin praised. “Everyone from the marketing company staff, area field managers (AFMs) and shop teams will come out to help. We had a camper trailer set up for my field relief manager (FRM), an AFM and one of the guys from the shop so they could stay on the lot overnight at one of our busiest locations to make sure everything was taken care of.”
The Boston and Phoenix Teams work around the clock to make sure they serve as many customers as possible.
“We’ll rent trucks three to four times a day,” Pepin volunteered. “At the end of the day, there will be trucks parked everywhere. Lots will be completely full. They’ll be out in the streets getting parking tickets. So, we stay on site for as long as it takes, checking in trucks and cleaning up the lot so that we don’t walk into chaos in the morning.”
“If the Boston Team is helping customers, I want to be there to support them from afar,” Gay offered. “I’ll do whatever it takes to help them serve as many customers as they can during this time. Our customers depend on us, so I’m there to help them 24/7 if that’s what they need.”
Keeping spirits up
While this may sound like a grueling weekend for Bostonians, Team U-Haul knows how to keep it fun.
“We’ll hang up balloons and hand out the U-Haul cardboard truck banks and SuperGraphics coloring books to the kids,” Pepin detailed. “Everyone tries to keep up the customers’ spirits and do what we can to make the process as smooth as possible.”
And, when it’s all behind them, the teams in Boston and Phoenix pat each other on the back and reflect on how it went and what they learned.
“My first thought after it’s over is, ‘How many customers did we help?’” Gay mused. “I think, ‘What can we do better next year to help even more customers?’ I thank everyone for their hard work and attention to detail, take a big breath, lean back in my chair and start planning for next year.”
“The fact that our teams put their family lives to the side and focus strictly on serving customers for up to two weeks at a time is incredible,” Pepin raved, “but this is what we do. This is our time to shine. We focus on U-Haul 100 percent during this time of year because our customers need us.”
Great “jahb,” Team U-Haul! (Sorry. Again.)
Have you ever participated in Boston Moving Day? How do you keep your cool during the chaos?