TCU grad starts veterans-focused moving company May 19, 2014
Zach Freeman, left, of Veterans Moving America, and local entrepreneur Dan Verboski
A. Lee Graham
When Zach Freeman started Veterans Moving America LLC, revenue took a back seat to outreach. And it still does.
“I don’t think there’s anything wrong with making money, but I wanted to start a business to also do good,” said Freeman, who made that vision a reality shortly after graduating from Texas Christian University in May 2013.
Armed with a bachelor’s degree in business administration with specialization in entrepreneurial management and supply chain management, the Fort Worth resident set up his moving company in his living room. Sharing his vision was Randy Cramer, who continues to serve as the company’s vice president of sales and operations.
With Freeman calling the shots as CEO, the business maintains a singular focus: hiring military veterans only and creating opportunities for people who Freeman says face greater challenges than many.
Some may wonder what insights Freeman has into the veteran psyche. After all, he’s never served in the armed forces and is the company’s sole employee without such experience. But what Freeman lacks in military service he makes up for in dedication.
Before moving from San Diego to Fort Worth to attend TCU, Freeman watched a Marine veteran ask his father for help one day at church. His father allowed the desperate young man – unemployed after the 2008 recession and divorced, all in the same month – to live with the Freemans until he was back on his feet.
“That ended up being almost three years,” Freeman said. “That really hit a soft spot in my heart. I saw firsthand what veterans face and vowed to make a difference.”
So Freeman conceived of a business rooted in four values: supporting and encouraging American veterans; doing the right thing; exceeding expectations for the industry and the company’s customers; and succeeding as a team while excelling as individuals.
Those values continued leading the company after it moved from Freeman’s home to TECH Fort Worth, a nonprofit business incubator at East Rosedale Street and Interstate 35W.
“We’re really blessed to have this space,” said Freeman. He’s happy with the office even though rising client demand keeps him in the field most of the time.
There, he and several part-time and full-time employees provide local and statewide moving service, as well as a “helping hands” service to assist do-it-yourself movers.
Rates vary, with $125 an hour for two-person weekend moves and $145 an hour for three-person moves. Though the company owns its own dollies and other equipment, it rents moving trucks but is looking into leasing or purchasing its own truck.
That can’t come soon enough, with customer demand often exceeding the company’s capacity. But that’s changing, with several new hires and planned hires beefing up available staff.
“As we grow, the numbers of phone calls we get every day are almost too much for the number of people and equipment we have,” Freeman said.
Doing business in Texas instead of his native California makes sense, Freeman said.
“People are moving here like crazy, so there is a huge business opportunity for what I am looking to do,” he said, pointing to Tarrant and Dallas counties as having the state’s highest veteran population.
“It’s a perfect storm of opportunities and resources,” Freeman said.
He plans more hiring soon, as well as leasing new office space.
In the meantime, he and his crew scramble to serve a growing clientele that includes Freeman’s alma mater.
“TCU hired us for two separate jobs in the last five days,” Freeman said recently. With Colby Hall dormitory undergoing renovation, the school hired Freeman’s company to move and disassemble furniture during the dorm’s transformation.
“We keep pretty busy and things look to only get busier,” Freeman said.
More information on Veterans Moving America is available at www.veteransmovingamerica.com.