ICS Magazine

You Want Me to Move What?

November 1, 2010

Back in 2006, I touched on a subject near and dear to my heart…or, perhaps more correctly, my spine. It’s an important issue in this business, however, and definitely bears some repeating, especially for those invincible-feeling newbies who’ve recently entered the industry.

At some point, you’ve walked into a trinket-filled store and seen the sign, “You Break – You Pay” or something to that effect. This is what went through my mind the first time a customer asked me to move a curio-loaded cabinet; the figurines displayed had more value than my meager bank account could cover.

I immediately developed the policy that I would only move objects emptied of breakable objects. The customer would have to do this prior to the job. With this concept in mind, I would like you to consider the consequences of breaking something much more valuable: your back.

What happens when a professional carpet or restoration specialist gets called out to do a job and can’t lift his wand, let alone a couch? Simple: if you hurt your back, you are out of business! Not only do you lose the ability to do the physical part of your work, you may face rehabilitation costs such as physical therapy or even surgery. You Break – You Pay.

So how have you been treating your back? Do you routinely lift and move furniture unaided? Why risk it? Your livelihood is at stake. There are tools available that can greatly reduce the likelihood of back injury.

First, consider the use of plastic disks you place under the furniture to allow easy movement. These are often called movers, skidders, furniture glides, EZ moves, etc. These furniture glides allow you to move large pieces of furniture in and out or from side to side, on carpet or hard surfaces. Professional models have a special high-density polyethylene material that moves very easily on carpet. The hard-surface models have a type of felt pad that glides effortlessly over tile, marble, and linoleum. There are even certain types of movers that are larger and made to go under refrigerators and other large appliances.

Not only do they save the backs of you and your techs, they tell your customer that she is dealing with a company that values its employees.

The same is true when you use a simple little tool that helps you lift the furniture onto the furniture mover. It’s usually called a lift buddy or something similar, and has wheels that let you roll the tool under the furniture edge. It uses leverage to lift the furniture with very little stress on your back. All you do is press down on the handle to lift the furniture high enough to slide your furniture mover under the legs of whatever it is you need to move.

Even if you don’t need to move the furniture, you can still use it to put tabs under the furniture legs to protect them from moisture. It’s one more thing you have to carry into the house, true, but it’s a lot better than taking the risk of putting yourself out of business.

Another huge help in the fight against back injury are Sticky Tabs. These are plastic tabs, 3” x 3”, supplied on a roll. You tear them off the roll and place them under the furniture. One side has adhesive that allows the tab to stay attached to the leg as you move the furniture around.

These do not replace the hard, plastic skidders and movers for heavy furniture, but they are highly convenient and effective for most furniture.

Now when that couch with the extra leg in the back has been moved out into the room, put the Sticky Tab on all the legs with ease. The tabs will stay on the furniture as you move it around, and actually result in less stress on the legs when sliding the furniture.

When dealing with a crowded room of furniture, put the Sticky Tabs under the furniture at the most opportune time and then move it around without worry of leaving the tabs behind. The tab could be placed and then an EZ move used below it. When the EZ move is removed, the Sticky Tab is there, ready to go. The adhesive will not stick to the furniture permanently, and the tab is easily removed at any time.

Why didn’t I think of that?

The point here is that it’s easy and fairly inexpensive to buy and use a few simple gadgets as insurance against putting yourself out of a lot of work and a lot of money. If you’re not taking such simple precautions to protect yourself, you should re-think your strategy. Just remember: You Break – You Pay.

Make sure you’re not the one who breaks.