SLO’s Meathead Movers saluted by White House

jhickey@thetribunenews.comDecember 9, 2011 

Meathead Movers of San Luis Obispo was recently recognized at the White House as one of 100 companies who impact the economy and can inspire young entrepreneurs to start their own businesses.

The inaugural Empact 100 List was organized by partners including Empact, the Kauffman Foundation, Opportunity International, the Startup America Partnership, and was limited to select companies run by U.S. entrepreneurs age 30 or under with annual revenues of more than $100,000.

January will mark 15 years since brothers Aaron and Evan Steed founded Meathead Movers while they were San Luis Obispo High School students in 1997.

This year, Meathead Movers will have completed about 4,000 moves, resulting in more than $4 million in revenues, which is a 30 percent growth in revenue year over year, said President and Chief Executive Officer Aaron Steed.

The company has had a presence beyond San Luis Obispo County since 2007, when it opened a moving hub in Camarillo. This year saw growth to markets in Los Angeles and Orange counties, with a new sales office open in Los Angeles. Now half of the company’s 200-person workforce is outside San Luis Obispo County.

This year, the company also began a new service in response to customer requests: Princess Packers. “Meatheads” are college athletes who physically move the goods. It is primarily female “princesses” who prepare and pack clients’ belongings.

“Women are more conscientious. … It’s improved the quality of our packing services,” said Aaron Steed.

Princess Packers now generates 10 percent of the company’s revenues.

“Our only challenge has been the difficult banking climate resulting in limited financing options for future expansion and growth,” Aaron Steed said.

Limited financing has resulted in limited hiring, meaning that the Steed brothers take on public relations and website duties themselves, rather than hiring consulting firms. Also, managers find themselves doing the work that, ideally, employees would take on.

Additionally, clients with limited budgets are more likely to opt for partial services than in 2005 or 2006, when they would pay for every room of the house to be packed up and moved.

The Steed brothers are also half-owners of Central Coast Mini Storage, doing business as Meathead Mini Storage. The other half is owned by investors Alon Pnini, a plastic surgeon and businessman from Los Angeles; Steve Saldo, a lawyer and businessman from Templeton; and Bill Sima, an orthopedic surgeon and businessman from San Luis Obispo.

Aaron Steed would not reveal revenues or what percentage of the 703 storage units are now rented nearly 20 months after the facility opened at Meathead Movers headquarters in San Luis Obispo. However, he said that growth in the storage company has exceeded standard industry projections for first-year performance of like facilities.

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