Contents Corner: 3 Strategies for Effective Contents Restoration Pack Outs
The pack out is my favorite part of a contents job. I love getting the boxes set up, adding “do not stack” and “fragile” stickers, organizing them all by size, playing with bubble wrap … I mean, packing things carefully, and oh yeah, don’t forget the shrink wrap! What’s not to love right!
In order to have as much fun as I do wrapping china and packing up bathroom toiletries and little Susie’s toys, you need to be sure you have the right tools, packing materials, and the right packing techniques to get the job done fast, efficient, and organized. Having software for tracking, dollies for moving boxes, straps, properly setup moving trucks and a good storage facility are important. Aside from the obvious logistics, however, are three components I feel aren’t talked about enough – yet are critical to the pack out process.
1. Box It Right
There are many sizes and shapes when it comes to boxes. Not all are created equal, trust me. Buying boxes off of the shelf at a local home improvement store not only can make you look unprofessional but it will hurt your profitability. A better route is to order boxes through an actual box company where you can have your name and logo put on them. These companies have good pricing, especially if you order in bulk.
Be sure you are using the right size box for the job at hand. There are small, medium, large, extra large, extra small, dish packs, glass packs, TV boxes, lamp boxes, and artwork boxes, just to name a few. Specialty boxes like glass and dish packs can save you so much headache and money. They keep items from getting damaged and help eliminate over-packing boxes to where they are super heavy for you or your employees to lift. This can affect employee safety as well as the longevity of a box’s integrity.
It’s very important to pack each box with the right kind of items. For instance, packing glass and books together is not a good idea. Packing liquids with dry goods is not something you would want to do either. Also, if you bill your contents by the box, your packing technique can have an effect on your billing.
When using packing paper, it is important to use a professional grade. You might think paper is paper but it’s not. And don’t be afraid to use lots of it in every box. Paper is pretty inexpensive and each piece you crumple up and use as cushion in a box is money well spent to ensure nothing gets broken or cracked.
2. Wrap It Good
Bubble and shrink wrap are two of the best inventions ever when it comes to a pack out. They stick to themselves and pretty much nothing else. Using both of these very liberally on a job is important. Anything that is glass either goes in a foam sleeve or gets bubble wrapped. Place a layer of packing paper in between these items for a little added insurance.
Bubble wrap comes in many shapes and sizes. Small bubble size works best especially for knick-knacks and medium-sized glass items. Rolls (instead of sheets) are easier and more efficient to use on most jobs.
Shrink wrap is great when you want to co-pack items by attaching them together for protection. It also can be used to keep drawers from sliding out during transport and small parts connected to larger items to make reassembly a breeze.
3. Packing and Storing That Shows You Care
I was called out to take over a contents job that was going sideways on a very high profile client. The client was very upset and did not feel confident in how their household items were being handled. When I opened the storage unit that the items had been moved to, I quickly saw why. The restoration company had used recycled grocery and liquor store boxes to pack all of the contents. Most of the boxes had the tops cut off and were stacking haphazardly on top of each other. Some of the boxes even had chunks of insulation inside from the ceiling of the structure. It’s no wonder the client’s confidence was shaken and they were upset.
I know this is an extreme example, but one from which we can all learn a lot. What your boxes look like on the inside and outside matters, and how you organize them in storage matters as well. When packing a box, make sure that all items are organized and look as uniform as possible. Trust me when I say it will matter a lot to your client when they open a box and see how neatly you wrapped their grandma’s china in bubble wrap. We also put a card on the inside of all of our boxes that says “Packed With Tender Loving Care by Mobile Clean” so it’s the first thing seen when the box is opened.
How the outside of your boxes look is important too. The stickers and labels should be neatly arranged and look like they were put on with care not just thrown on. Stacking boxes carefully in storage shows you took time to arrange them. If the outside of your boxes look sloppy and disorganized, your client isn’t going to feel confident you took good care of their items while in your possession.
The way you pack out a job has as much to do with marketing as it does with showing your client you really truly care and they matter to you. The pack out is the first impression that your client has of your company. Make a good one.