YMM: How did you get started in the moving industry?
Tony Sandoval: I first started at a junk removal company in 2008–I was 21 when I started on the trucks helping my now business partners. Shortly after that, I became the weekend Manager and then the Operations Manager. I was also working somewhere else while going through college. When I graduated in 2012 from San Jose State, I was offered the position of General Manager. I said I would absolutely love to run it if they let me do it the way it needed to be done. So in 2017, I took over their junk removal business and I grew it from $900K/yr to a $9M business.
In 2013, the owners then decided to launch a You Move Me franchise. The beginning was a struggle, so I offered to help them. When I started helping them, I realized “this is a giant business”. In 2014, I became the General Manager for both the junk removal business and You Move Me. I grew You Move Me from zero dollars to $1.5million dollars a year.
YMM: How did you become a You Move Me Franchise Partner?
Tony Sandoval: In 2016, the owners offered me to buy a piece of their You Move Me business. With a part in the ownership and growth of the business, in 2017 I decided to step off from running the junk removal business and fully dedicate myself to You Move Me. When the owners first launched You Move Me, they only owned and operated within San Jose, but- in 2018- I started expanding the business and eventually I took over the entire Bay Area.
YMM: What is the most rewarding thing about owning your own business?
Tony Sandoval: The most rewarding thing for me is giving people an opportunity to grow when they normally wouldn’t get such an opportunity. See, I also own and operate two other businesses besides You Move Me, so I need a lot of help. My managers, Roosevelt, TJ and Frankie, they all started as movers. They’re all smart, responsible, hard-working, good people. I have paid for them to take online courses, and assist with their professional development and extra training. You wouldn’t think there is upper mobility as a mover, but my whole team has had upward mobility from a mover job, and they have all advanced within the company- they all now have a better life.
YMM: How do you find the time to manage You Move Me, along with your other business ventures?
Tony Sandoval: You make time for what really matters- if you care about something you make the time. See, I’m a first generation Mexican-American, born and raised in San Jose. The hustle is part of our culture. My wife (Carina) and I are also full time pastors, which is a huge part of our everyday lives.
YMM: What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about running your own business?
Tony Sandoval: The most surprising thing to me is how close I got to my team. When you think of business you think of cold-hearted, business-only relationships, but I have guys that have worked for me for over 5 years. I was surprised by how invested I got in them as human beings, how much I care about them.
YMM: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Tony Sandoval: In 5 years, I see myself partnering with my team to become partners as well. I have really good people- movers, managers, and staff. I want to partner with them so together we can all take a piece of the Bay Area. Rather than me owning everything, I want to see them as business partners and have everyone become owners as well. There’s plenty of opportunity here for all of us to grow.
YMM: What advice would you give to your younger self?
Tony Sandoval: That is a funny question because I remember my first 3, 4 years in the moving industry – it was really hard. I would tell myself “it gets better”, but I would also tell myself “remember everything and enjoy everything that’s happening”, because it taught me a lot.
Honestly, the moving industry is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. Moving isn’t fun unless you make it fun, which is our You Move Me motto. It’s not intrinsically fun and enjoyable, so the only way you find joy in it is if you make it fun, and that is very hard to do in the business. If you can do that, you can find growth and peace in it – knowing you are able to do something difficult and hard and turn it into something that benefits a lot of people.
YMM: How do you motivate your team?
Tony Sandoval: I tell them the same thing: this job is hard, but if you can learn how to do this job and do it well – there is nothing you can’t do. Take this challenge early in life and learn how to do it, so it can have positive repercussions in your life later down the road. If you can do this job with a smile on your face there is nothing you can’t do.