Indiana’s Entrepreneur of the Year: Wheaton World Wide Moving CEO honored by Ernst & Young.

IN JUNE, STEPHEN BURNS, chairman and CEO of Wheaton World Wide Moving, received the 2006 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in the Best of Indiana category within the newly reorganized Lake Michigan Area program, including companies from Illinois, Indiana, western Michigan and Wisconsin.


Wheaton is the eighth-largest van lines company in the country, moving individuals, Corporations and government entities efficiently across the U.S. and around the globe, from Antigua to Zimbabwe. Burns is now eligible for the national Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award, to be announced in November.


When he took over as CEO of Wheaton in 1986, his objective was to build on the company’s four-decade reputation for customer satisfaction. In addition to continuing the honor of earning the Good Housekeeping Seal for interstate moving every year since 1964, Wheaton earned a spot in the book The Service Edge: 101 Companies That Profit from Customer Care” by Ron Zemke and Dick Schaaf. It’s also been the official mover for Steinway & Sons pianos since 1990, and most recently, garnered the top ranking in total customer satisfaction in a nationwide survey of relocated employees.


Bums’ selection as CEO didn’t come after years of working in the No. 2 spot or because of a fancy business school education. “For 20 years I was a lawyer,” he says. “Wheaton Van Lines was a client of my dad’s firm.” He joined Wheaton’s board in 1974 and was its general counsel. He was also Earnest Wheaton’s personal attorney. “I set up an elaborate trust to protect his immediate family in 1984 and decide who would run the company,” which initially was to be a committee. In subsequent conversations, Burns suggested Wheaton pick a successor, and Wheaton said why not Burns?


“I was concerned whether I had the skill sets,” said Bums. “But I was disenchanted with the law and my father had passed away It was a fresh start for me.” He knew he would have big shoes to fill, however. Earnest Wheaton became a risk-taking entrepreneur in 1945 when he left Indianapolis-based mover Aero Mayflower to venture out on his own and start Wheaton Van Lines with $2,500.


It took a couple years to feel really comfortable in the new job, Burns says. He visited nearly every independent agent–there were 225 at the time, now there are nearly 300–and rode along in the trucks. He began hiring some of his own people, and decided it was finally time to relinquish the general counsel title he’d held onto.

USPS Change of Address & Mail Forwarding Options

change-of-addressMost people assume they have only one option when changing addresses, but that’s not the case. There are three different ways to change your address with the U.S. Post Office–none of which will cost you more than $1. You also have options when it comes to having your mail forwarded, both in terms of the method used, as well as the cost and the length of time your mail will be forwarded. The basic details are outlined below, with more information in the links at the bottom of the page.


  • Change of Address – A change of address with the U.S. Postal Service may either be permanent or temporary and can be done either online in person, or over the phone. If using the online change of address form, please note that it does charge $1 to your credit or debit card to verity your identity. If using the phone service, you can call 1-800-ASK-USPS, which will also require a $1 charge to verify your identity. If a change of address is temporary, it may be held in place for 15 days up to one year.


  • Premium Forwarding Service – PFS allows you to have your mail bundled and sent to you once per week via USPS Priority Mail. This service can also be used between 15 days and one year and currently costs $17 per week, along with a $15 enrollment fee. (Please note: the online PFS option is not available for post office boxes.)


  • General Delivery – This option is ideal for people in between permanent homes, traveling or with a temporary address. The post office will hold your mail for up to 30 days and it can be picked up at your convenience. This is a handy method to use for those without a physical address, as it can be sent using “General Delivery” as the address, which tells the post office to hold the mail on your behalf.


Scam Alert – Companies That Charge To Change Your Address


Avoid, avoid, avoid! This is not a legitimate service! It’s simply a company filing a free change of address form on your behalf and charging you for doing it–sometimes as much as $50 or $100. Do not fall for this.


Sites that charge you for filing a change of address form with the postal service are a scam and should be avoided at all costs. The only way you should pay anything for a change of address is when it’s an incremental amount ($1 or less) charged to you by the USPS as verification of your identity for a change of address.


Mail Forwarding & Change of Address Resources


USPS Change of Address – Update your address the easy way by using the online change of address tool from the USPS.


USPS Mail Forwarding – The basics of mail forwarding, including more information on the three options listed above.


Mail Forwarding For Expats – International mail forwarding information for expatriates an overseas travelers. Note that you will need to fill out USPS form 1583 if using a commercial mail receiving agent (CMRA) to forward mail internationally.

3 Questions You Need to Have Answered before Choosing a Household Goods Moving Company

When you need to hire a household goods moving company, you should know that the selection process may bring numerous problems and concerns for you. This is because not all providers of such services can be trusted. In addition, only a few are known for providing quality and timely services. It is crucial that you go with a company recognized for superiority of rendered services, as you will be entrusting your valuables to their drivers.

Since the household goods moving company will be the one to take responsibility of moving and transporting your possessions, you want to be working with only the best movers in the industry. Fortunately, finding these professionals is not that hard, as long as you know which questions to ask. For starters, here three of the most important questions you have to have answered prior to making your final decision.

Question No. 1: Is your company as well as your drivers fully insured and licensed?

Never trust a company that does not carry any form of insurance and license. In fact, in order for a household goods moving company to be in accordance with rules, laws, and regulations, it has to be fully insured and licensed. If the service provider you are interested in cannot provide any evidence of this, do not be tempted even if you will be charged with the lowest rates. Insurance is very important as you want to make sure that all of your properties will be covered in the event that an accident occurs and your things get damaged in the process.

Question No. 2: Can you provide me with proof of satisfied customers?

Of course, there will always be complaints made against the best moving companies, regardless of how high the quality of the services provided is. However, this does not mean that you should already overlook this factor. You should check the service provider’s track record to see if its history has been plagued with countless complaints.

Ask the household goods moving company to provide you with proof of satisfied customers and then cross reference this. You should also consult with the Better Business Bureau as this is one of your best sources for such pertinent details. The BBB can provide you with information on registered moving companies, particularly their rating.

Question No. 3: How experienced are your household good movers?

Never forget to ask the moving company you would like to work with about the experience of the drivers and movers it has in employ. This is especially true if you will be moving from border to border and from state to state. Experience is crucial here, since the drivers and the movers have to be well-versed in border and state regulations.

In addition, interstate relocation also involves quite a number of issues and concerns that moving locally does not. Aside from state and federal rules, you should also keep in mind that moving long distance puts greater risk on your valuables and possessions. This alone is reason enough for you to make certain that you will be working with a highly experienced, professional, and equipped household goods moving company.