Climer Moving Company started as a part-time job when Ronnie Climer was working as a paramedic with the DeKalb Fire Department. “I miss being a paramedic, but the pay was too low,” Climer said.
“I put an ad in the newspaper for moving services. It cost me five dollars. My partner who worked with me on the ambulance was going to go into business with me, but he didn’t show for the first job, so I was on my own with a friend’s brother to help me. We did three small jobs that first day and I made more money that day than I made with the fire department in a month. Of course, I couldn’t walk too good when I got home. My knee was all swollen up. It was just terrible.”
After that, work began to roll in and Climer had to enlist help from other firemen and paramedics. After several years he quit the fire department and went into the moving business full time.
“We got our second job the next weekend,” he said. “We were pretty cheap and people found it interesting that firemen would come move them. At one time we had 22 firemen working part-time. A lot of firemen were in plumbing, fencing, and we had to share the phone to talk with people on our other jobs. I even parked the moving truck at the fire station but a few years later someone complained and I had to move it.”
Climer, who has owned his own moving trucks for the past 11 years, said a personal touch sets his company apart.
“I have moved people out and in when they weren’t even there,” he said. “I essentially decorated the house for them, made the beds and hooked up cable and phone. All they had to do was go in and sit down. “If furniture gets scratched, I have a repair kit on the truck and can fix it on the spot. We have a little warehouse and can store some of their stuff, if they need me to.”
Climer got into the business of moving pianos when a professional piano mover didn’t show up on a job.
“It was a baby grand, and I had to move it anyway,” he said. “We got it moved for them OK, but I said, ‘I will buy the equipment to do this properly.’”
Climer took a job with a piano company, working for low wages, so he could gain experience and learn how to correctly move the heavy, delicate musical instruments. They have the expertise and equipment needed to move small pianos, baby grands and concert grands. They moved Elton John’s piano when John sold it, and recently moved the Chipper Jones family household. Climer said contact with other people is his favorite part of his job.
“I like to put people at ease and let them know they don’t have to worry because it will all get done,” he said.
“I like for them to be raving about my work. The biggest challenge is that you have to keep yourself in shape. It’s like you are in training all the time. I don’t smoke, I can’t drink much, and in the summer you must know your body and take potassium pills and drink a lot of ice water.”
COMPANY MOTTO: “Sixty minutes of work for every hour we are there. We don’t even eat lunch on the customer’s time.”
BUSINESS PHILOSOPHY: “Really listen to what the customer wants done and never, ever give the customer a bill that is more than they are expecting.”
TEN YEARS FROM NOW: “It’s a family business and I don’t want to expand. I would like to sell it to family member. I have three daughters and they haven’t shown a lot of interest in a lifetime of carrying furniture. I want to keep to keep the Climer name on the truck so people will know who they are dealing with.”