Saturday, March 30, 2013

Do You Buy Meat By The Cube Foot...... No !

Sometimes, people in the moving or shipping industry, use a term of measurement, that for whatever, reason,
they never seem to ever define.   Does anyone know the definition of a cube, is?   The simple answer is no.  There
is no such thing, unless you are referring to some sort of object…..

The cubic foot, is a standard of measurement, often used in air shipments, ocean shipments and as a means of
alternative calculations for weight.   It has to do with density.  Still confused, me too….

Here is some truth to add to this discussion.  Movers have used cubic footage pre set measurements, for quite a
long time to actually measure a potential customer’s goods so that they can give an estimate to someone who is
moving….allow me to shed some light to this matter

Mover have used a cube sheet, which lists furniture items, organized into small groups by room designations:
…a dining table is listed among the dining room options, and chairs, with or without arms, and china cabinets
are also on this list…..and any other items that relate to a dining room.  Likewise, in the bedroom sections of the
movers cube sheet, there are items like beds of different sizes, dressers, mirrors, nightstands, etc.

Movers have agreed, that each items has a preset designation of cubic footage next to it: like a dresser would be
30 cube or 40 cube, and a nightstand would be 15 cube, for example.   When the mover gets through walking through
the home, asking if this item is going or not going, he is checking to include or exclude a particular item, and at the end
of the process, he or she will add up the cubic footage, cumulatively, and then use a weight factor to multiply against
the cubic footage count.  

For example, if you have 800 cubic feet on your load or move, movers generally use a factor of 7 pounds per cubic foot,
so in this case, the move is estimated at 5600 pounds.   This is the secret to how movers estimate your home, for cost
purposes, as when the mover comes for this kind of (long distance) move, the mover will weigh his truck prior to the move
for the empty weight, and after the shipment is loaded, the mover gets another weight (heavy) and the difference is the
total weight of the shipment that is being moved.

The problems do come as a result of customers not getting rid of things, finding more items to move than they told the estimator
about, of maybe the estimate was off, as this is possible, but the larger the shipment, the less this does happen provided that
conditions have stayed the same.

The real issue with cubic footage, is that no one understands how to measure it, as the moving or shipping van, counts from floor
of the van to the ceiling, so when a “mover” tries to sell you space on a cubic footage basis, more often than not, if you as the customer
have to load the shipment, you will end up with more cubic footage, as it is hard for the consumer to know how to load a truck like
a professional does.   The customer ends up, usually, looking for a bargain and he or she gets just the opposite.

Movers, professional movers, have cubic footage measurements, like a ruler, that run across the length of the trailer so they can,
at a glimpse, see how the shipment looks, packed in the truck, as if the shipment is scheduled for say, 300 cubic feet or 2100
pounds (7 lbs per cubic foot, general rule).   If the shipment takes more than 300 cubic feet, then something is amiss.

But generally, charging for domestic transportation by selling it on a cube basis, is nothing more than a trick as the only way
you can get a good pricing result is if you have good density, like just boxes of bricks, they are small and weigh a lot and if stacked
floor to ceiling, that shipment will take less space than one that does not have that density nor the ability to stack furniture safely,
floor to ceiling.   This is what the movers, in my opinion, do wrong, they do not stress that professionals, can save the customer
not only money, but a lot of heartache in the moving process.

O’h yea, cube = Length x Width x Height…….divided by 1728 (which is the number of cubic inches in a cubic foot)…
we have a table that is 72 inches long and 48 inches wide, and 36 inches tall, you would do it this way: 72x48x36 divided by 1728
equals 72 cubic feet……I just hope most of you are not sorry you asked this question………

Mark S. Frydman
Box Brothers Corp.

Friday, March 8, 2013

This Horse Is Not Going To The UK.

As the President of Box Brothers, I oversee quite a few operations that focus both on the provision
of services to our customers, from both our retail outlets, and our crating and shipping warehouses.

As we have grown from our humble beginnings, we have been fortunate enough to have retained
some very key people (I do not think the word employee is sufficient to explain their true value here)
that make up the Box Brothers Family, as we like to refer to it, as these are the people who have always
treated customers and their possessions, as if they were part of their own family treasures.

I have often commented upon the fact that it would be easy in this business—the business of helping all kinds
of customers move their goods, possessions, investments, and family heirlooms—to say that we have facilitated a move
from one place to another, but it is more than that.   After more than 25 years of Box Brothers helping families come together
for good and bad reasons, to help kids get to college, to help those with the task of distributing estates, to the sending of prizes from
contests, to auction purchases and the even the sending of perishable items like breast milk, we have come to realize
that this is not just moving, or shipping, or even packaging, it is the movement of life and a very important journey for
those who undertake it.    And we at Box Brothers, feel this is an honor that has been bestowed on us by them.

So our duty, and we define it as such, is to provide the very best we can and we do this by acting and treating all items
we touch and handle, as if they were our own.   We double check, triple check, and we never cheat on materials, on labor
or on how we approach the safe transport of whatever item needs to be moved.   Why, elevate the status of service, when
no one even expects good service anymore?  Cause that is our duty to our customers, and I challenge anyone in this business
to have such a solid and great record, both in brick and mortar (on the street) and on the net.

I find this truly remarkable, as none of our so called competitors, have our record of safety, taking care of their customers,
and making sure that they received not only our best effort, but a great result each and every time.

I invite any and all of you to see some of how our family packages items that are large, heavy, high value and difficult in
terms of size, weight and density, such as statues, silver settings, and an architectural model for one of the largest
commercial developments the Western United States has seen in a number of years, the Las Vegas City Center.
But so we are clear and unequivocal, each and every customer we work with gets our best, and our records, reviews and
customer testimony, make this abundantly clear.  

Please enjoy these pictures and know that they come from retail stores, in Los Angeles, our packaging warehouse and

ship centers in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Northern California, and Seattle.   From our family to yours.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Who Is Afraid Of The Big Bad Wolf ?

For as long as I can remember, the biggest and most treacherous animal out there,
in the “retail” marketplace has always been Walmart.  I think books—many of them have
been written about the “big bad wolf,” that many have labeled Walmart to be, claiming that
they have been so successful in attracting customers, they have decimated so many small and
independent businesses, that they are a “jobs killer,”, as their detractors have claimed.

As someone who has retail locations, Box Brothers has been in business for a long time, but while
everyone is entitled to their opinions, I for one, do not share this opinion, that Walmart is the “big bad
wolf out there, as if they are all of that, as some claim, how come no one complains about the marketing
tactics of Target, or even the goings on with some other large national chains, like Home Depot, for example.

My premise is that while businesses, retail and otherwise, have gotten not only larger, more complex, but
also more dominant in this society, than at any other time since the inception of the series of rules normally
referred to the Antitrust laws of the United States.   My point is that, for whatever reason, these laws are not
working as they should to protect the American consumer and the American small businessman.   Further,
it is also my contention that Walmart has other detractors, unions for example, as the national supermarkets
simply have higher costs of labor than does Walmart, or even Target.  But why Target is never the target of these
groups, is beyond me and the point of this blog.

For example, this past week, I got some emails from Home Depot, and guess what business Home Depot now wants to be
in, this week?   Flowers—yes, I was solicited from Home Depot to buy roses for Valentines Day on February
14, 2013.   From a warehouse that sells lumber, nails, and everything else under the sun, except groceries.

Leverage is not just a television show, I guess, it is what large firms do to make sure they hammer on smaller
competitors to make sure they out muscle them, out market them and convince potential customers that they
are all that.  In that vein, I also saw a story about Home Depot being the place that is going to hire so many new
employees this year, that they alone will pull this region out of its unemployment doldrums….They used an employee
from the local Home Depot, and they put on a 30 second clinic in how they were such a great place to work, etc, etc, etc.

So, why does not our media ask Home Depot what the starting salary is for these positions, how many people they let
go last year, and how many of those who they are hired are in upper management, today.   And even more telling, how
many of those employees can afford to buy a median priced home in Southern California, or even Las Vegas, for that
matter?  The answer is no one working at Home Depot can even afford to rent a median priced apartment in many parts
of Los Angeles, or Las Vegas.   The same holds true with Target, 95% of all of their employees on the floors of their stores,
make less than $12.00 per hour, with little to no benefits.

If I may, my personal experience is one I would like to offer, to show how sometimes truth can be trampled.   I went to Home Depot
to get some Poinsettias at the start of the holiday season.  I went to Home Depot per their heavy advertisements
offering them, at a good price.   So I went there an hour after the start of the sale, they were sold out.   I asked this
same woman who did the tv spot for them, and she told me that they only got a few and were sold out before the
sale even started…….this from one of the world’s largest retailers and the lady laughed at me, saying what did I
expect.   I told her, that I expected the largest hardward store in the world to make good on their offer as I saw
it as a way to simply get me to their store to buy something else… she walked away and that is the extent of the
help and customer service I have had at Home Depot, as their service stinks.   Why is bait and switch not relevant for
Home Depot, as their TV personality said it to me and called me a fool to think otherwise.   I guess it’s fair for them to
do as they please.

If you follow this line of reasoning, they are justified to go after the flower guys, as why not, the supermarkets hammered
the small independent flower guys years ago (did anyone notice, or care?), but the supermarkets did not get blamed for
hurting the small mom and pop flower stores that were hit with competition from well healed money interests, such as
Safeway and Kroger, a couple of behemoths in their own right.  But Safeway and Ralphs (and Walmart) do not presently
have any presence in the flower delivery business.

What is common among all large businesses, is that they have forgotten their humble beginnings, and moved onto
what they consider, as, greener pastures: another way of saying they can hammer competitors that are small independently
owned businesses easier and faster, than they can larger for well healed ones.   So they all hammer on the small guy, who
has no leverage and today, it is my feeling that the American consumer has simply confused price and service and forgot about
service.  How else can you understand just how large these firms have become so dominant and omnipotent?

What I do not get, is that I have yet to find any of these large firms, that dominate American Business, that are open,
accessible, fair and reasonable—but most importantly, they all would rather hire a focus group to hear what they think
their customers want, instead of simply being brave enough to simply meet their customers and ask them to their face. 


Cause these decision makers, are so far removed from their actual places of business, and their customers, they would not even
know what to ask or how to answer a question from a customer.   If you own a business, why would you not want to meet and greet
your customers, or speak to them about what is right or wrong with your firm?  Instead, you hire surrogates to come up with what you
can find out on your own, again, I ask why?

Today they make a TV show called Undercover Boss, and no one says how dumb it is that these owners/CEO’s have to
hide their own identity in their own firms, to learn what is going on….so we have now, an entertainment focus group….
how appropriate and no one has the balls to come out and say, is this the best that you can do?

Perhaps the more important question is why do we, as a people, spend our money with those firms who do not care about
them as customers, or who, are even willing to speak to their customers?  Ever try to speak to someone at American Express
who was not a $10.00 per hour employee at a phone bank in El Paso, Texas?  Ever get a letter from American Express from a
corporate officer who had no return address, phone number or a way to engage him with a question? 

How about at Home Depot?   Once I was enticed, as a customer of ADP, the world’s largest provider of processed payroll services,
and they said if anyone ever had an issue with any part of their service, I could call up their corporate offices and speak to one of
their officers.   It worked, I signed up and when I had a problem with one of their phone room people who messed up some of my
employees checks by being negligent and careless, I got put on hold, and they never called me back, they had no idea who was to speak
to me or anything.  It was a pure lie.   And they benefitted by their lies, and then like other large dominate firms, they just spend more
money on branding, trying to get all of us to believe how great and benevolent they are.

As I said earlier, the antitrust rules are not working today, as intended, as large companies are the only firms who can go do work
in China, or Mexico, or some other place with low cost labor, not small businesses, and we have seen a general lack of competition
in trucking, package shipping (only 2 national firms do all of the private transport in the United States), hardware, appliance sales,
and this discussion leaves out the large dominant online firms—that’s for another day.

What is troubling is that when these large firms get comfortable maintaining their market share, they refrain from competing as they
should, and that will lead to some stagnation in our economy, I believe, as they become allegiant to maintaining the status quo, and
not taking any competitive risks.   Since only large firms can have access to money or capital today, this is a hidden plaque on all of us
in America today.  The only new entrepreneurs we will have will be those whose family had the money to get them going, as the large
businesses out there just want to divide a market and maintain it, just like the oil companies, do, and so long as our government allows
this kind of thing to keep going on, the divide between middle class and the wealthy will only get bigger, as this last recession has clearly

By looking at this picture fairly, and I have no hope this will be done any time soon, that    

Mark S. Frydman
Box Brothers Corp.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Measure Correctly, Mistakes are Costly

For many years, there have been rules associated with shipping that vary according to the mode,
or how you decide to ship your items.

For example, it used to be the case that for most domestic ground packages, your charges would be
simply based upon the actual weight of your shipping container, but today, there are rules about the
how big your package can be, or maximum limits on weight, or even limitations on how long an item can
be for shipping.

For as long as we have been in the shipping business, we have seen it all.   UPS used to have a rule for many
years that nothing could be shipped if the length, width and girth (yes, girth) did not exceed 140 inches, and
they used to give out chains to their customers to use to see if the package in question did not exceed the length
of the chain…….

Today, almost every package that goes into a system (ground shipping, air shipping and international shipping)
has rules associated with how big or how heavy a given package can be.   For the international arena, the rules
get more complex as several nations have their own set of rules about size, etc.   For those of you who have also
had to take a box or a package on a plane trip or use an airline’s cargo division, to ship a pet or something else,
the rules can be not only daunting, but I tell anyone and everyone who asks, to check no less than twice when
getting the permissible sizes.

I had been visiting one of our locations in Nevada and I happen to meet one of our customers, actually a young
married couple with a story that illustrates how these rules for shipping can be complex, easily misunderstood and
often they can end up with some harsh results…..

This couple has two Saint Bernards, and you can tell, to this couple, they are as close to being their children as any
pets can be.   They needed to travel by plane and in their research, the airlines told them they had rules for shipping
pets, that they needed pet carriers, and gave them the maximum size permissible for flying animals on a commercial

Long story short, the couple arranged for us to make them crates for their animals, as there were no pre made pet
carriers for dog breeds as large as Saint Bernards (how they can even get a Great Dane, Newfoundland,  or a Mastiffs….
into one of those smaller dog crates is beyond me…..our crates are custom, so we made them to the maximum size,
and we had air grates on both sides so the air would flow, we made wood receptacle frames for food and water
containers, easy access doors, to ensure that there would be no issues.

Our customers loved them, as they were genuinely concerned that these containers were safe, complied with the rules
of the airline, and would house their “loved ones”  for the trip to visit their grandparents.   Only problem is that our customer
was misinformed by the airline, and this resulted in them having to have two more crates made to conform to the airline’s rules.

I know there is more to this story, for sure, but the point is that we were directed to make a set of custom crates for a specific
purpose and this was not a happy ending for them since they had to have the crates remade, through no fault of their own.
So, always be careful when you need to comply with shipping rules, as they are easily misunderstood, complex and largely
inflexible in many cases.   Or if you need to, it never costs more to ask us to confirm measurements and maximum sizes for
different modes of shipment—at Box Brothers and this is the best advice when you need to ship something to a faraway place.

I am very proud of the way we worked with our customers as they told us that almost all other crating firms they contacted were
not interested in helping make a crate with the features that we added for the safe transport of their large family (dogs) members.
For Box Brothers, the customer and their needs are what we come to work for each and every day.   Ask any of our customers,
they know who we work for, even if they are Saint Bernards.  Kudo’s to our staff in Las Vegas, for doing such a great job helping
our customers.

Mark S. Frydman
Box Brothers Corp.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Is Bigger Better?

As the President of Box Brothers Companies, I am often in the proverbial hot seat when it comes to issues
with personnel, customers or in the shipping business, matters to do with shipping damage, delays, as well
as all kinds of other issues.   Just part of running a robust and diverse company with multiple locations and a
very strong commitment to our customers, for the last and only 27 years of since our beginning in 1985.

Of course, with hundreds of packages shipped daily from our retail stores, and dozens of LTL shipments
being shipped daily to our crating services, where this week, we will complete and deliver over 100 crates
to our respective customers---there are bound to be some customers or employees who have issues that
go no further than my desk.

It is important today, to be accessible, as that is the one GINOMIS trait that all of the larger well to do firms
have in common, no matter what their industry segment is, that no one in senior management will purposely
engage any of their customers.  Ever.

While there are exceptions, if I were to be able to give out “academy awards for bad service or a Lip Service Award”
(which means they all talk service but do not talk to their customers), one would have to go to American Express, for
having the biggest phone room without any supervisor ever being present, let alone any corporate officer, as that
info is more than top secret, I know cause I tried…..but UPS wins one of those awards, so does Home Depot, and how
about Avis and Hertz and United Airlines, who is supposed employee owned……

On the contrary, when a customer has an issue, they want to take it to as high a place as they can, so they can
communicate how they feel to be one of your customers.   What I do not get, at all, today, is how they all get
away with it.   I think these firms, who undoubtedly use focus groups, but why imitate what you have already,
customers and why are you afraid to speak to them?   Again, why people patronize these firms when they have
options to patronize firms who are smaller and for whom, your purchase means so much more than just about
anything else.

Today, I got a letter sent to me by a customer in the top (upstate) corner of New York.   One of our managers in
the Bay area, received a letter from this customer after our efforts to get her a set of antique chairs, to her remote
residence, was something we undertook for a customer we did not know prior.   This customer was so amazed at how
personable and friendly and committed to get her this small shipment, at a cost less than any van line in America could
or wanted to do………that when she got the chairs—and even though they were purchased online and when she finally
got them---they turned out to not work for the area she intended them to go----she wrote to us that it did not matter
that they chairs would not work as she intended them to, but that our service and our outreach by our manager, Connie.
was so great, it did not matter, cause now, our customer, has a friend in the shipping industry.   A fan too.

I tell this story as it helps define what we do at Box Brothers and why how we do things, makes all the difference to our
customers and that is why each and every one of our customer, rich or poor, small or big, are crucial to our ongoing success,
and I would not have it any other way.   Any one of our daily thousand customers a day, can call me anytime, or any of our
managers, employees or staff, as customer service, the real customer service is alive and well here at Box Brothers, as that
is who we come to work for each and every day, and to the rest of the world, spend your money where it counts as true
value comes when someone cares about you as a customer and your needs, you are not just a footnote on a balance sheet
and you are not just a number.   To us at Box Brothers, you are the reason we are here.   May we help you?

Mark S. Frydman
Box Brothers Corp.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Another Way to Save on Your Long Distance Move/Shipment

People have many reasons for moving or shipping goods from one area of the country to another
area….jobs, schooling, family reasons, economic reasons, retirement are just a few of the reasons
people move great distances.

However, many people in this group, think there are only two options for getting their possessions across
the country.   A professional mover, or you can do it yourself in a rented truck.

Of course, this is a simplistic description, but all too valid.   In my company’s case, we provide a shipping service for
household goods and personal possessions, that allows the consumer to opt for any number of savings over the
traditional services of a full service mover.

For example, one of our benefits, is that we give our customers an option for both pick up service and delivery service
of our loads.  We can save the consumer money on the pick up, if the consumer brings the goods to one of our service
centers, as that allows us to pass on the savings we obtain by not having to use labor, fuel, a truck and other costs
incumbent on pick up the goods to be shipped.   By helping yourself out on the pick up or origin services, you might be
able to realize from 10 to 20% savings of your entire shipment cost.

Likewise, we offer another money saving option for our deliveries.   If you can bring the shipment into your own storage
unit or into your own garage or home, we can also save you up to 15% of the shipment cost by bringing the goods in from
the street, into your home or unit.

In these difficult economic times, you have to look harder for money saving options, but if you want them, we have them at
Box Brothers .   The Leaders Interstate Shipping, for over 28 years

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Goodby 12 Hello 2013

As we enter the final days of 2012, one has to wonder what will be with 2013?
Will it be a better year economically?  Will the Fiscal cliff issues, somehow, get
resolved?   Will we have the types of tragedies we saw so much of in 2012?

The funny thing about the future, is that no one is right and everyone is right, as the
answers to these questions and many more, are still left to be determined.   In some
small way, a lot of these answers have to do with how we, as consumers and as we,
as Americans, act in the future.

Economically, they say that 70% of all of our economic activity is about you and me as consumers
and how we feel about the security or the future of our jobs, homes, and overall economy is dependent
on if we spend and obviously, if we rack up the charges on our credit card bills (the English translation anyway…)

With all this talk about the fiscal cliff, it seems to me, will simply result in more fear and more reluctance to spend
on things one might need or want, but feel the need to cut back when times are uncertain.   So, the obvious question
is why do those in power keep doing it?

As a small businessman, we rely on our customers to come into our businesses and buy our products and use our
services.   But being both a business person and a consumer, I feel the pull both ways and I find myself making excuses
not to move forward on fixing one thing or the other, or delaying projects, or just feeling as though I don’t need to buy
that item or need that service quite yet.

At the same time, this is getting old and our leaders obviously do not get it, or feel the same things I do as a small
business person.   I just do not get it, as none of their actions make any sense, as all they do is blame each other and
of course, nothing gets fixed, at best, the issues get pushed down the road.  It is anyone’s guess what will happen next.

But I want to be on the side of optimism, even if there are some signs that optimism, in our world, is on short supply.
I am hopeful for increased retail sales and increased customer activity not just for us, as owners of a business, but for
our employees and our customers, its time all of us move forward, as the problem with this recovery is that it is uneven
and unfair to smaller businesses, as opposed to larger businesses, who have greater access to capital and better buying
opportunities that those of us in small regional businesses.

While it is said that the bigger you are, the better you are, and in some ways they are right, but there is no large corporation
on this earth that can provide the level of service to its customers than small business does, as has been proven for many,
many years.   Some people forget this, like the politicians who decide that it’s their way or no way, and all they are doing it
hurting the small guy.   I wish we had a better voice, but I am not give up hope that notwithstanding all of these issues,
we are going to have a good year, both economically and socially, as we need it, its overdue and we can’t wait any longer.

Bring on 2013, but let’s leave the politician’s behind…..