Jonathan Neal was not long out of college when he and partner Robert Bistle started Rockville-based Metropolitan Moving & Storage. At age 24, Neal sensed there was a better way to run a moving business while working for a Silver Spring moving company about a decade ago.
“I wanted to develop a higher quality company,” said Neal, 34, speaking in his office on industrial Stonestreet Avenue in east Rockville. “I thought there was a niche in this industry for a company that provides great customer service and goes the extra mile to make clients happy.”
The business has grown to employ 40 people among its fleet of trucks and last year made Inc. magazine’s list of the fastest-growing private companies in the nation. Metropolitan had revenue of $2.5 million in 2012, about double that of 2009, a growth rate that ranked 3,495th nationally.
Growing even during the Great Recession in large part through client referrals, Metropolitan focuses on the details and quality, Neal said. He has even left his overseeing of sales, finances and business development to deliver a box for a client himself.
“We take each client individually and create a plan that will work for them,” Neal said. “That may seem like a basic notion, but that is something that is not really thought of much in this business.”
One Metropolitan employee has a specialty in moving high-end artwork in crates and doing professional touch-ups on furniture, for example, he said.
Besides paying attention to details, Neal is a true people person, said Bistle, who met him at the Silver Spring company.
“He does a great job of managing people,” Bistle said. “He creates an environment where people are motivated to work hard and do their job well.”
Growing up in North Bethesda, Neal attended Georgetown Preparatory School, where he played lacrosse. He continued playing the sport for Loyola University Maryland’s nationally ranked program and ran lacrosse camps for youth in his spare time.
“Through those camps, I obtained some experience on running my own business,” Neal said.
He doesn’t play a lot of lacrosse these days after four knee surgeries, but he runs and plays tennis. He is also involved in numerous community organizations, including as a board member of the Stepping Stone Shelter in Rockville.
Besides the main office in Rockville, Metropolitan has a warehouse in Gaithersburg that stores items for clients who sell their home before their new one is ready, or have other needs for storage. A growing trend is the need to de-clutter homes to better show them on the market, Neal said.
The company does much of its work in Montgomery County and the Washington, D.C., region, but also has completed moves to other states, including Florida, Vermont and Illinois.
Besides Inc. magazine, the business has been recognized by others, including awards from Angie’s List. Metropolitan has grown to the point where it needs more space and plans to move to a 36,000-square-foot office in Laurel this fall.
“It’s a brand new building that is being built,” Neal said. “It will provide us a lot of opportunities for growth.”