Two Marines Moving: How Veterans Are Helping Homeowners
“If you give a Marine a mission,” says Nick Baucom, co-founder of Two Marines Moving, “they are going to get it done.”
Baucom should know: The 32-year-old former Marine sergeant served as an infantryman during Operation Iraqi Freedom. His entrepreneurial drive and innate understanding of a Marine’s willpower and work ethic inspired him to launch Two Marines Moving, a Washington, DC-based company that employs more than 90 veterans and has handled 10,000 moves (and counting).
One of the goals of Two Marines Moving is to be an exceptional company with a sterling reputation in an industry where movers are not always seen in the best light.
“People want a reputable moving company,” says Baucom. “That’s what I expect from my staff day in and day out.”
One customer told Baucom that they had to ask for his movers to slow down and take a lunch break. His movers refused, continuing to work until the move was completed.
“[Marines] are used to hard work,” says Baucom.
“In the Marines I expected my men to operate for days with little sleep, only the MREs (meals ready to eat) they could carry in their packs for nutrition, but as much water and ammunition as they could carry. You can survive days without sleep or food, but a Marine that isn’t hydrated with no ammunition is worthless,” says Baucom.
He adds, “When you’re just asking them to move a piano, it’s not that hard.”
An Entrepreneur (and Marine’s) Drive
Two Marines Moving wasn’t Baucom’s first foray into entrepreneurship. While in the military he bought a home using money he earned as a Marine (“fighting in Iraq is like starting a full savings account—you got nowhere to go to spend your money”) and started a home improvement business.
By 2007 his business went bankrupt.
“It was gut-wrenching. I made a promise to myself that I would never go through that again,” says Baucom.
In 2008, while still trying to figure out his next step in life, Baucom received calls from friends and family who asked for a hand in helping them move into their homes.
That’s when his business instincts kicked in. Why do all this hard work in exchange for free beer and pizza when he could make good money running a moving company?
He had heard so many moving horror stories from friends who hired moving companies that hit them with unseen fees, misquoted their rates, and even held their possessions hostage until their demands were met.
“It was an industry that had a lot of operators who lacked integrity,” he says. “I thought to myself, ‘I can make a business out of this.’”
Together with his then-girlfriend Christy Gutmann, he launched Two Marines Moving on Nov. 10, 2008—the anniversary of the Marine Corps’ founding in 1775. By hiring veterans, his business helps service members ease back into civilian life while also providing homeowners and renters a reputable moving company.
The company’s profit has grown exponentially since its inception. It made $600,000 in its first year. This year Baucom expects to make more than $4 million in revenue. Already Two Marines Moving received recognition from Inc. Magazine and The White House. He and Gutman (whom he married and later divorced but still runs the company as a co-owner with Baucom) opened up a new branch in Miami (“I needed some place warm to go to when it’s cold in D.C,” he jokes).
While his price points are higher than other moving companies, he says it’s because he pays his movers 20 percent more and delivers a higher-quality moving experience.
The unemployment rate for veterans has been steadily declining in recent years, making it a bit more challenging for Baucom to hire more people.
“It’s an odd problem to have,” says Baucom. “I’m booked three to four weeks in advance, and I need more staff.”
Many of his former employees have gone on to create their own businesses, and some he even uses as vendors. “They are a family,” he says, which is why he has an open door policy for his former employees.
“If you did a good job and want to come back, there is always a place for you at Two Marines Moving,” he says.