From Literally Two Men and a Truck to an International Brand with Mary Ellen Sheets and Brig Sorber

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Photo by Dave Trumpie.

“To me, it means helping people, having the funds to help people, being able to put together programs…being able to create good jobs for people, to give people good service; all those things are success.”

— Mary Ellen Sheets

“It’s all about process, and it’s all about measuring, making sure that what you’re doing is backing the mission statement; that we’re ramping up customer satisfaction.”

— Brig Sorber

Folks, I have such a cool episode for you today! If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur or franchisee, you need to listen this. Today, I had the privilege of interviewing the founder of TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®, Mary Ellen Sheets, who is now retired, and her son, Brig Sorber, who is the current CEO of the company.

So many great little bits of advice from Mary Ellen and Brig in this episode about how to run a company the right way, from having core values and sticking to them, to giving employees a sense of purpose, to effectively working with family members, to understanding the difference between being an entrepreneur and running a franchise. Suffice it to say, we cover a lot of noteworthy stuff that you can use.

In the beginning, Mary Ellen invested $350 for a pick-up truck, and that was it. Today, TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® runs about 2,800 trucks, and this year, alone, anticipates doing a little over 500,000 moves, which means approximately two people are using TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®’s moving service every minute. They employ around 8,500 people, with 320 locations in the US, 24 in Canada, four in England, and one in Ireland. Pretty amazing to think it all started with one pick-up truck, two brothers (Brig and Jon), and a drawing on a napkin by Mary Ellen, which is the same logo they use today.

Great people, great company, with a great story. Without further adieu, enter the world of Mary Ellen Sheets and Brig Sorber of TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®:

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Hidden Gems

Here are some of the hidden gems from the interview with Mary Ellen and Brig.

Misson Statement & Core Values

Throughout the interview, you’ll notice there’s a large emphasis on the importance of maintaining a strong, yet simple mission statement and core values in a company. Brig discusses how TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is constantly measuring things like new ideas and customer feedback by seeing if the data aligns with the company’s core values.

The core values stay constant. If a new idea doesn’t align with them, for example, the company doesn’t move forward with it. If the idea does align, they do.

When reading the mission statement and core values on the TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® website, it reminded me of a great book I read recently and highly recommend called Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh, the CEO of Zappos.com. The book focuses on the importance of company culture and happiness for employees, customers, and vendors alike. From using its services, to walking into its headquarters, it’s apparent that TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® operates with this same mindset.

Probably the coolest core value they have is THE GRANDMA RULE®: To treat everyone the way you would want your Grandma to be treated. This core value is based on Mary Ellen’s mother, Helen Eberly, a highly influential person in Mary Ellen’s life and incredibly helpful during the early stages of the business.

Helpful Organizations & Resources

Mary Ellen mentioned that she wished she’d had a good book about franchising when she first started the business. While books like Franchising For Dummies are available now, the International Franchise Association (IFA) became very helpful to Mary Ellen and the family as TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® grew. Melanie Bergeron, Mary Ellen’s daughter and former president/current Chair of the company, is currently the Chairwoman of the IFA Board. Go Melanie! Mary Ellen also explained the importance of joining organizations like the Chamber of Commerce and getting your name out there.

Brig mentioned how helpful it’s been to be involved in organizations like Business Leaders for Michigan and the Young Presidents Organization while growing TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®. Brig’s brother, Jon Sorber, who is the Executive Vice President and the other original member of the Two Men duo, is on the Board of Directors of the American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA). Go Jon! Brig recounts that organizations like these have provided them with a wealth of knowledge over the years.

Both TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® as a company and the family as individuals give back to organizations such as Ele’s Place, St. Vincent Catholic Charities, Volunteers of America, and Sparrow Health System, all of which are great ways to give back. Check them out!

Routines & Influences

Despite being retired, Mary Ellen still wakes up at around 6am every morning, reads the newspaper, and uses her computer. She’s an avid reader, and particularly likes reading books about World War II.

Brig is an early riser as well. He usually wakes up at around 5:30am and works out before going to work. Now that’s ambition! He’s strongly driven by his faith, and finds reading the Bible to be helpful in both business and his personal endeavors.

Where You Can Reach TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® Online

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® Website

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® Blog

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® on Facebook

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® on Twitter (Main)

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® on Twitter (Lansing)

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® on Twitter (UK)

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® on Instagram

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® on LinkedIn

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® on Google+

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® on Pinterest

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® on YouTube

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