Jon Prince is a man filled with the gratitude and indomitable faith born of hard times. A little less than a decade ago, following a bitter divorce, he found himself living in his car. It’s not the kind of experience many people might acknowledge, but this self-effacing, soft-hearted guy freely shares it to credit his wife Veronica for her encouragement and God for blessing him with more than he ever dreamed possible.
When he moved to Loudoun County, Jon tried his hand at working with a moving company and “fell in love with it.” He says, “I think it was the people I worked with, both the employees and the customers, especially how much they appreciated how hard I worked.” When customers told him he should consider starting his own business, he thought about it, but never took it seriously until his new wife Veronica urged him to try.
So, in 2014, with $1,500 in his pocket and a work ethic he learned from Christian parents who home schooled him in rural Michigan, he founded Prince Movers. His slogan: “Let us be your hero for the day!” He explains, “When you first meet a customer, they’re typically all stressed out, but as you start working and talking with them, they’re more at ease and trust you to take care of them.” He’s not only a good listener, but his affable charm and sense of fun make him great to be around,
We love telling stories with happy endings, so of course Jon went from operating one truck with a couple of guys to a fleet of 17 trucks and more than 50 movers, serving the entire Washington DMV. He works primarily on local moves or along the Eastern Seaboard to minimize how much time his crews spend on the road. He has partnered with another local start-up, Mi-Box in Manassas to help customers with their short- and long-term storage needs. That saves Jon from having to rent costly warehouse space in a county that puts a premium on real estate.
“God has opened up a number of different paths for me to succeed,” he says frankly. He values his partnerships and his employees over property as measurements of his success, and credits the quality of his work, 5-star ratings and referrals for his organic growth. “People say, ‘Jon is a crazy good mover; he’s like a Stairmaster!’ Those referrals were more valuable to me than any number of sales reps or ads.”
Jon stands out from his competition in other ways: his commitment to his community and his employees. Because he has a heart for youth, he’s put his name on two local venues – Ballpark Loudoun’s “Home Plate” restaurant and bar featuring “Korean Fast Casual” food and ballpark favorites, and Independence High School’s football field, now known as Prince Movers Stadium. He’s gratified that the latter sponsorship will both enhance the playing field and provide kids with needed sports equipment.
As for his workers, he explains, “When I worked for another moving company, no one ever told me I could make more money by working as an independent contractor." Now he encourages his own workers to make the jump and for those who have, it’s been life-changing. His workers love working for Jon, “because they see that I'm not about myself. I'm about helping them.... I want them to do well and be able to afford a home for their own families,” he affirms.
The line was made even more poignant as we interviewed Jon in his own, two-story family home purchased in Brambleton when the business began to take off. It’s where he home schools his own two boys, Legend and Blade, each of whom proudly sport Prince Mover T-shirts. Jon tears up when he talks about the joy it gives him to provide for both his family and others, and then unnecessarily apologizes.
“I’m sorry,” he said. “My business is like the only thing I've got; I want my family to be provided for, for the rest of their lives and something for my kids. When I think about the hard times and how far we’ve come. I’m just so grateful.”