The “WG” in WG Storage and Delivery stands for White Glove, and while you might think that’s just a fancy name meant to invoke a sense of sophistication for a mere moving and storage company, you’d be wrong.
Because WG actually does provide a higher level of service than its competitors, gloves and all.
WG does a lot of work with interior designers, art galleries, showrooms and antique dealers, meaning they handle some pretty delicate and expensive items, President and CEO James Miri said during a recent interview from the company’s headquarters in Austin, TX.
And, yes, employees actually do wear the white gloves that the company is named after to help protect those expensive pieces of art and furniture they are handling on a regular basis.
But, the company goes beyond just moving and storage. For commercial clients, WG provides inventory management, receiving and delivery. The company often works with interior designers who order directly from manufacturers. Their shipments come into the WG facility and WG acts as their warehouse and then they do the installation of the furniture, as well.
On the residential side, WG offers complete moving service whether clients are moving within the Lone Star State or moving out of state.
“We’ll come in and do the packing and unpacking, so we’re very full-service on the residential side,” Miri said.
And WG’s residential clients get the same high level of service that its commercial clients enjoy, so your finely upholstered couch is going to be treated the same as a priceless work of art.
The moving industry can often have a bad reputation, Miri pointed out. Everyone seems to have a horror story about moving companies. With WG, Miri and company are aiming to change people’s perception of what a moving company is, and they’re doing it with their offer of impeccable service.
“We saw a need for a company who can come in and do it really well with a level of service that hasn’t been offered before,” Miri said. “We offer a polished level of service for this industry, where it’s been lacking in the past.”
When it came time to grow the business, franchising seemed like the most obvious choice because the industry was wide open in that regard.
“We feel like we don’t have a lot of competitors in our space from a franchising perspective,” the CEO said.
WG represents a great opportunity for potential franchisees, he said, because they aren’t as limited in terms of territory as they normally would be by a franchising agreement. Unlike the majority of franchises, WG’s territories are huge, meaning franchisees are able to have an entire city to themselves, which allows them to really expand their business like no other franchising opportunity out there.
“We’re offering the opportunity to have very large territories so you can build a very large business, which isn’t really the case for most franchises,” he noted. “They want to control how much territory that you can have.”
Founded in 2005, WG Started franchising at the end of 2013, opening a franchise in Houston. Prior to that, the company opened a corporate location in Dallas. Miri wants to continue expanding into southeast Texas and eventually grow into the rest of the state and then spread out to other states from that point in a controlled manner.
“We really want to start from home and grow out,” he said. “We don’t want to scatter ourselves everywhere. We want to concentrate on building our brand geographically.”
Need for service
Miri said the biggest need for this service is with high-end clients. There is a void in the moving industry for this type of business and he aims to fill it. Although there are other companies offering similar service for high end clients, Miri doesn’t think they’re doing a good job, which opens the door for WG to fill the void for a moving company with a high service level.
The CEO believes franchising will be a solid way for the company to grow, particularly because he’s so familiar with franchising himself, having spent 10 years as a franchisee in the service industry.
“I feel like franchising is a great vehicle to expand, rather than doing it all ourselves,” he said.
With franchising, Miri added, WG can teach people how to create and run a successful business. And part of running a successful WG franchise is embracing the use of technology, such as the use of tablets for inventory control and using GPS in their trucks to help with fuel efficiency.
“A lot of people are stuck in their old ways of doing things and we’ve really spared no expense to try and be the best in the industry,” Miri noted.
The idea for WG came from when Miri used to be a franchisee himself with a packing and shipping franchise that catered to affluent neighborhoods. He recalled many of that company’s clients asking about a full service moving company, which told him there was an opportunity in that sector by offering people an extremely different experience when it comes to moving.
The Ideal franchisee
WG’s ideal franchisee would have strong marketing, sales and management background, Miri said and would concentrate on building the business on both the residential and commercial side. They would also understand and be dedicated to offering the level of service that sets WG apart from its competition.
The process for someone to go from prospect to franchisee takes 3-6 months, Miri said. That starts with initial interviews and meetings to see if a prospect would be a good fit and making sure the prospect knows the territory they want to get into.
If a prospective franchisee is found to be a good fit, then the training starts, which includes both on-the-job and classroom training that starts in Austin and continues in the franchisee’s territory. WG also helps the new franchisee find a facility location, helps them get their trucks in order, helps them buy the necessary equipment and assists with the hiring process.
The franchising process usually starts at the WG website, where potential franchisees can find information on how to contact the company about franchising opportunities.
After a franchisee is set up, WG lends ongoing support with marketing and strategic planning. Miri knows that this type of support is important for franchisees, particularly when they are starting out.
He wants franchisees to be able to build their business once they’ve joined the company. With WG, because franchisees have such large territories, they need help beyond just getting started. They need help growing the business and growing the brand into something that’s profitable for them, he said.
Aside from the support from the company, franchisees are backed by a solid brand reputation, with WG having won numerous awards since its inception, including recognition from the Austin Business Journal, Entrepreneur Startups Magazine, the American Society of Interior Design and the American Moving and Storage Association
So, with the help of the white glove treatment that WG Storage and Delivery provides its clients, the company is well on its way to changing people’s perception of what a moving company can offer, gloves and all.