For Gary Muraco, Jr., the shipping business is in his blood.
His father, Gary Muraco, Sr., worked for moving companies his entire adult life, but chose to put out his own shingle in 1999.
Muraco, Jr., joined his dad and has been a partner in Fort Lauderdale Moving since 2007.
The elder Muraco decided to start his own operation – at the age of 47 – because he was despondent over the “bad reputation some companies earned in the 1980s and 1990s.”
“You would hear horror stories about movers suddenly increasing their prices and holding people’s valuables hostage until they paid up,” said Muraco, Jr. “My dad did estimates for other moving companies, and all of them would damage items and rip people off.”
“So, he created a reputable company. We haven’t been the cheapest, but people pay for quality when they hire us.”
A well-earned reputation resulted in contracts hauling high-end sports cars like Maseratis and Ferraris, as well as lavish toys like yachts and powerboats.
And because his company holds Long Distance Rights, allowing its crew of 12 to haul loads anywhere in the lower 48 states, Muraco has fostered associations with CitizenShipper customers who buy vehicles and need them shipped cross-country.
“When I use CitizenShipper, I do my best to create a working relationship with the customers,” he said. “A lot of these guys posting items on the website are dealers. They’ll purchase vehicles from all over the U.S. and have them transported to their location.”
In the 18 months he’s been a member, Muraco has completed 15 shipments – from motorcycles to fiberglass truck beds – receiving a sterling, five-star rating for each shipment. He said a strong profile has been key to his success.
“I cherish my driver profile,” he said. “Our reviews have brought us a lot of business.”
“It’s critical that a customer can see for themselves that you are serious about what you’re doing and can check out your credentials.”
Muraco spent about four months with another online shipping service, but found the atmosphere there to be “very cutthroat.”
“I tried a really popular shipping site, but drivers there would sabotage your bids and customers constantly cancelled shipments,” he said. “Since I’ve been with CitizenShipper, there hasn’t been one cancellation, and the customers are very pleasant and easy to work with.”
He’s also had to deal firmly with people who try to circumvent the bidding process.
“I tell them they have to accept my bid on-site. Like I said, I cherish what I have with CitizenShipper and wouldn’t jeopardize it for one or two loads.”
While the current economic downturn has many scrambling for income, Muraco sees opportunity for shippers.
“Back when money was good, people bought lots of toys,” he said. “Now they have to sell them to pay the mortgage.”
“I picked up a motorcycle a few months ago and the seller was standing in the empty garage with tears in his eyes. He was losing his baby.”
Muraco said the public is selling jet skis, ATVs, pool tables, hot tubs – virtually any big-ticket luxury item – and it has been a boon for his business.
“Thanks to CitizenShipper, I’ve been able to make money even as the economy is suffering. It is a company that is in prime position to make major moves in the shipping industry.”