How Roger Thrun Moved Into the World of Moving People

Jan 16, 2018

When Roger Thrun founded WHR Group, Inc., in 1994, it was an appraisal management firm. Nearly 25 years later, it has grown into a full-service global provider of employee relocation services for Fortune 500 companies and government agencies.

The painting by Milwaukee artist Reggie Baylor that hangs in Roger Thrun's office.
Credit Reggie Baylor artwork

Thrun says the aim of the Pewaukee-based company is to bridge the gap between affordable relocation solutions and "high-touch" customer service. 

On this episode of "How Did You Do That?", Thrun shares some lessons he's learned along the way:

  • You'd better know your expenses and have enough money saved to go for 18 months without making a profit.  When he started his business, Roger had $41,000. "I was down to $3,000 before I took my first check," he said.

  • Don’t be overly optimistic.  "Everybody says 10% is the number for their pipeline. How do you come to that conclusion? There are some big jumps in there," Roger said.

  • Align the compensation to meet your goals for your company.  "If you want people to deliver excellent service then their compensation plan needs to be built around customer service," Roger said. "I’m a big believer in bonuses – don’t be afraid to spread it around."

  • Seek employees who are conscientious when it comes to others' needs.  Employees Roger looks for are the people who are bothered when the phone is ringing so they pick it up. "Empathy in the service business is really important," he said.