Meet your merchant: In it for the long haul
Rickey’s Gold Country Moving
Pat Rickey’s childhood dreams probably didn’t include owning a moving business, but that doesn’t mean things haven’t panned out.
After attending college at San Diego State University, Rickey got a job as a sales manager for a wholesale lumber company. He also took a side job with a moving company for a few years, where he first learned the ins and outs of the business.
But after more than 25 years in San Diego, Rickey and his wife, Rose, were eager to get out of the “rat race” and decided to relocate to Nevada County in 2013. The only problem? Rickey didn’t have a job.
“Grass Valley seemed pretty small,” he said. “And there really wasn’t a lot of work.”
To pay the bills, he realized that his past experience in helping people move was a skill he had to offer. He began working with a guy who worked for HireAHelper and had a contract with U-Haul. Business was brisk, and it didn’t take long for Rickey to realize there was a real need for reputable, experienced movers in the area. He took a leap of faith and started his own company, Rickey’s Gold Country Moving.
“I decided I was going to go for it,” he said.
“I hired one guy to start, then two,” he said. “We put a huge emphasis on customer service so it didn’t take long for our name to get around. People started asking for my business card and I hadn’t even made one yet.”
Soon Rickey and his team went from 10 to 15 moves a month to as many as 40, which clearly meant it was time to get a website, RickeysMovingCrew.com.
But the biggest hurdle was getting licensed by the state, a rigorous process that has discouraged many other would-be moving companies in the past. The California Household Goods Mover License required a hefty application fee, buying insurance, undergoing thorough vetting by the state and passing a six-hour written test that was famous for its 85 percent failure rate, said Rickey.
“But I knew it would be worth it — I saw a need for good and honest movers in Nevada County that offered fair prices,” he said. “Many people try to get licensed, but often they either can’t pass the test or they don’t have the money to pay for insurance and application fees.”
He passed, and Rickey’s Gold Country Moving became fully licensed in 2017. For the past three years, the company has doubled its sales each year, which has allowed Rickey to pay livable wages to his workers and focus on hiring a responsible, friendly, hard-working crew. They currently have a five-star rating on Yelp and are in the process of phasing in three new trucks.
Due to the high number of customers and scheduling demands, Rickey himself has stepped out of day-to-day moving duties and into his home office in Alta Sierra, where he and his wife, Rose, run the business. Rose also works full-time with women who are living in a residential detox and treatment center associated with Community Recovery Resources.
Rickey said he takes pride in the fact that each customer speaks directly to him, the owner, and that he is the only one who goes out to meet clients and give estimates. That’s why a growing number of Nevada and Placer County Realtors are referring their clients to Rickey.
“Pat and his crew have always been super,” said Robin, a Nevada County Realtor with RE/MAX Performance. “I refer him to a ton of my clients. His crew shows up on time, they’re super thoughtful and they very hardworking. They’ve always been great.”
Despite the fact that Rickey’s Gold Country Moving is licensed to go anywhere in the state, Rickey says he’s happy to call Grass Valley home. They do, however, move quite a few clients to and from the Bay Area.
“We’re busy enough with what we’re doing here — we’re in it for the long haul — whether it’s a big move or the old lady who needs help moving a mattress,” said Rickey. “We put boxes where you want them and put beds together. We don’t leave until you want us to. We don’t pass up the small jobs — that’s how we started. Ninety percent of our calls are word-of-mouth. People don’t forget it when you’ve treated them well.”
To contact Staff Writer Cory Fisher, email her at Cory@theunion.com.
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