Ezra Zimmerman | Crain's Connecticut

In this ongoing series, we ask executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders about mistakes that have shaped their business philosophy.

Ezra Zimmerman


EZ Moving is more than just a moving company as it will also do the heavy lifting for customers’ odd jobs as well. The Ridgefield, Conn.-based company offers junk hauling, tree removal, snow plowing and home maintenance services in the lower Fairfield County section of Connecticut.

The Mistake:

Back in October 2011, there was a major snowstorm that was then followed by Hurricane Irene. There was so much tree work going on because of the weather, and I saw this as a business opportunity.

But a lot of relatives would bring up the fact that it was still a sour economy – this wasn’t too far removed from when the stock market crashed in 2008 – and they would show me all of the different business advertisements in the newspapers from companies already offering those type of services.

They felt it was a mistake to begin that type of business at that particular time.

I needed to offer unrivaled customer satisfaction.

The Lesson:

I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but I believed in what I was doing and I decided to put one foot in front of the other to make it happen.

When I started, right after the snowstorm and the hurricane, I went door to door at over 300 Ridgefield homes. I got enough work from that to be able to buy a pick-up truck. Initially, I focused on tree removal and landscaping. But then I began to get calls about moving and junk removal, so I was able to expand into those fields.

But as I began to expand my work, I had to deal with a lot of high-end business competition in the area, especially with junk removal and moving companies. Referrals could only bring in so much business. I first relied on Craigslist advertisements, handing out cards at local businesses and putting fliers in local grocery stores to get new customers. Eventually, I upped my game and got a website, which helped me show up for people looking for services on Google. I also began to run advertisements in local newspapers.

The advertising helped to get my name out further. But in order to stand out from the competition, ultimately, I knew that I needed to offer unrivaled customer satisfaction. By that, I mean that the company had to meet or exceed customer expectations every single time we showed up to do a job.

Getting the right people to work with me has not been difficult. I used to play minor league football and I started the business with several of my former teammates. The team skills have carried over from the game, and I have the right people working with me – so I don’t have to worry about advertising to find workers.

Since beginning the company four-and-a-half years ago, the company has been growing every day and I had to spin off the junk removal business as a separate operation. My goal is to compete with the national franchises in lower Fairfield County – which, in my opinion, are charging too much for these services.

As for the family warnings that it was the wrong time and wrong place to start a business – that was their mistake! After the first two years of running the business, all of that talk ended and my family has been proud of what I’ve accomplished.

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