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Moving Matters

Moving Matters

Author: Colin Wynn

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A podcast for the UK Moving industry where your host, Colin Wynn, interviews company owners, branch managers and even suppliers in this wonderful, friendly, family orientated industry.
We delve into the past, the present and the future with each of our guests.
21 Episodes
In this episode Richard Webster, Director of Tonks Removals, discusses how he became involved in the industry some 30 years ago, as a porter on the trucks straight after leaving school at the tender age of 15! We discover that Tonks Removals was formed by the Tonks family in Scarborough back in 1820 and today celebrates its 201st year in business. Tonks Removals was put up for sale in 1995 by then owner Nigel Tonks, and Richard (20) together with his brother James (22) purchased the business for the princely sum of £8,000, with the assets consisting of a Bedford truck, the goodwill, the equipment, and the storage, which had to be relocated from its existing old school depository. We discuss that there are no set roles within Tonks Removals for Richard or James, however James is more on the trucks while Richard is more office based, but they both like to get away on jobs when they can. We discover that the challenges Richard has had to overcome were the lack of money, as the industry is a high-cost industry but not a high margin one, and being taken seriously at such a young age, but the biggest challenge was learning how to run a business. We discuss that even though Richard cannot change anything from his past, however, if he could it would be to realise what the actual costs are to operate your business, know your costs and stop subsidising others who waltz off with the profit! We discover that Richard’s high point of being in the industry in terms of the business was purchasing land to build their own facility in Carnaby, a mere 8 years ago, and as a person it is having the respect of others which he has earned and worked for. We discuss that Richard would change a few things within the industry but the main one being the public perception of our industry (again!), which has changed in recent months, but he can see it reverting in due course. And I raise the question of whether the general public’s perception is that it’s not seen as skilled labour (which of course it is!) and discuss this further with Richard. We discover that Richard uses demountable bodies (19 at the time of recording), as well as fixed bodied truck, but the demountable bodies offer the convenience of access issues, short term storage and cost implications for replacement of trucks. We discuss that the advice Richard would give to a younger self and it would be to know your costings and not to be afraid to market yourself at the better end of the market. We discover that in the next 5 years Richard sees the niche corporate moving in and out of Europe getting smaller and smaller with company mergers and acquisitions, plus the realisation that people can successfully work remotely, but he sees no change in the domestic moving industry. We discuss how imports and exports since Brexit has affected business and Richard states that it is getting easier as the guidance, systems and knowledge base improves, and it is better as a lot of movers have pulled out of the European market and therefore sees relocation prices rising. We discover that Tonks Removals are not members of the BAR, and Richard explains his reasons for this, but he and James have discussed applying once again. We discuss that outside of the industry Richard tends to sleep a lot! He has started doing a lot more walking with his wife, he is a keen motorsport fan due to his love for driving, and he is actively involved in the parish council. And as always we end Moving Matters with a couple of funny moving stories, a potentially X-rated one involving the client, the crew and a hot-tub, one involving Richard and an obnoxious customer, and a couple of short tales involving digging up a dead cat, and a terminally ill dog. Enjoy! Links to Tonks Removals: * Website ( * Facebook ( Special Guest: Richard Webster.
In this episode Sarah Cole, Managing Director of Universal Commercial Relocation, discusses how she became involved in the industry only 20 years ago (next year) after leaving her role as a commercial property specialist within the legal profession to start a family. We discover that Universal was formed in 1978 by Sarah’s father (William), and is a 2nd generation commercial moving specialist based in Greenford, Greater London, servicing mainly the London area, with a fulltime staff of approximately 25 and running a fleet of 8 vehicles. We also discover that Sarah is Managing Director of ISS (Information Storage Solutions), the document archiving side of the business which was started by Sarah’s mother (Margaret) in 1986. We discuss that while archive is going more digital Sarah still maintains there is a large requirement for the physical storage side of things. We discover that Sarah has very much enjoyed working in what is predominantly a male dominated industry and has never found any challenges with that. Sarah has found that there are a lot of women within management roles of organisations but would encourage more to get involved with the BAR initiatives. We discuss how working from home has and will affect the commercial relocation industry and Sarah highlights that even before the pandemic companies were looking at the office space occupied and how they were using it, from a productivity, wellbeing, and a sustainability point of view, but it was such a huge and risky ask to undertake the stress test. However, the pandemic became that stress test and forced us overnight to work from home and leave the office behind. Sarah believes the future is with companies ultimately having a hybrid solution, shrinking the physical space but keeping separate office space for staff to participate in, but affording staff more flexibility about how to undertake their work. We discover that Universal have many accreditations which Sarah believes is fundamental to business because office moving is business critical and the accreditations helps the client to manage the risk. We also discover that Universal have won the BAR Commercial Mover of the Year (CMotY) 3 times and is a great pat on the back for the staff that provide a huge contribution to the company. We discuss that Sarah’s challenges to date are to always move with your client needs and to look ahead at where things are heading. Universal are always trying to add value to their clients to support them. Sarah also believes getting the message across in what they do, how they do it and the value they bring to a service is also often challenging. We discover that Sarah would not change anything from her past, she enjoyed her time as a lawyer but was happy to move on and is very happy with what she does now and where Universal is. We discuss Sarah’s highpoint, which was back in 2015 when Universal were awarded CMotY winners for the first time (having been a finalist twice before), and especially so as the awared was presented at conference (BAR) in the city in which her parents were from, Belfast. We discover that the one change Sarah would make to the industry is to raise our profile, selling our services better and making clients aware how specialist we are and the professionalism we bring, as she believes as an industry, we undersell ourselves and there is often a race to the bottom in terms of pricing. We discuss the advice Sarah would give to a younger self and it was confidence, get involved in the industry and BAR, go along to conferences/events and take up training and development opportunities offered. We discover that within the next 5 years Sarah would like to grow the team at Universal, bringing in more junior members to the team and increasing and expanding the scope of what Universal do. We discuss that outside of the industry Sarah likes to spend time with her family and friends, going out, attending concerts and eating in nice restaurants. And as always we end Moving Matters with a funny moving story regarding Margaret Thatcher and a union card! Enjoy! Links to Universal Commercial Relocation Ltd: * Website ( * Twitter ( * Facebook ( * LinkedIn ( Special Guest: Sarah Cole.
In this episode, Courtenay Morison, Director of Clockwork Removals & Storage, discusses how he started in the industry back in 1994/5 after he was asked to move a wardrobe for a friend across town (which he did with a friend for the princely sum of £20), using one of his long wheelbase vans from his Caller Keg business, where he delivered kegs of beer for weddings, parties, etc., but as this was mainly work on Friday’s and weekends the vans had nothing to do during the week. So having moved the wardrobe Clockwork Removals & Storage was born, in Edinburgh with a Luton van and a 7.5 tonne truck, operating originally from Aardvark Self Storage. We discover that Clockwork Removals & Storage have an annual turnover of £11/12m and run 4/5 branches in Scotland and a further 4/5 in England, including the well-known brand of Edwards Trade Storage which runs out of Gloucestershire and services the London storage market. Clockwork employs approximately 130 full time staff and run 100 vehicles (which includes trucks, vans and cars). We discuss Courtenay’s acquisitions over the years and although there have been none in the past three years, he is negotiations with several companies and is always on the lookout for business with a turnover of £500k+. We discover that Courtenay believes domestic customers get a better deal with traditional 250 cuft storage containers over Self Storage, citing that customers do not need regular access and that there is a massive disparity in cost. Courtenay would never undertake the investment required to ‘kit out’ a property for Self Storage unless he owned the freehold and be within a town with ‘plenty of chimney pots’. We discuss the challenges Courtenay has experienced, the main one being 10 years ago when Clockwork had too much debt and the company was not running as well as it should, even with a turnover of £19m at that time. We discover that one change Courtenay would make to his past would have been to join another removal company, such as Pickfords, to learn the trade first-hand, therefore saving Courtenay years of ‘hardship and pain’ from the mistakes made in the early years of trading. We discuss Courtenay’s highpoint, and it is now, as last year (2020) was a very good year for Clockwork, hitting 10% nett profit even during the pandemic. We discover that Courtenay would not make a single change to the industry, the industry hasn’t changed from a moving perspective, 300 years ago you would have moved by horse and cart but the way in which you loaded that cart is no different from loading a truck, so it is incredibly resistant to change. I challenged Courtenay on the public perception of the industry, and he stated that it has always been like that and it will never change, citing 'buy cheap, buy twice'. We discuss the advice Courtenay would give to a younger self and it was to go and work for a Pickfords or similar company and ‘learn on other people’s time’. We discover that over the next 5 years Courtenay see’s low loaders being more prevalent in London and other major cities with 18 tonne truck restrictions becoming increasingly challenging. For Clockwork, Courtenay believes the storage market has never been busier, and see’s continued growth in this sector. Edwards Trade Storage currently house 5,500 containers but are looking to increase this by a further 2,000, and at that point Courtenay will then look to build a 100,000 sqft warehouse to hold 12,000 containers within 90 minutes of NW10 in London in the next 3/4 years. We discuss that outside of the industry Courtenay enjoys spending time with his wife and 3 children and is keen to get back to playing rugby and enjoy a few pints afterwards, once the current lockdown restrictions are relaxed. And as always we end Moving Matters with a funny moving story that ended up in court due to non-payment and the customer’s goods being skipped! Enjoy! Links to Clockwork Removals & Storage: * Website ( * Twitter ( * Facebook ( * Instagram ( Special Guest: Courtenay Morison.
In this episode, Melissa Campbell, Managing Director of McGimpsey Brothers (Removals) Ltd, discusses how she got started in the removals industry, by purchasing the family business at the tender age of 26! We discover Melissa never really had any involvement within the business beforehand, as she studied accountancy at university before joining KPMG in the audit department, where she studied for her charted accountancy exams at the same time! Then in 2018 her career took a U-turn and she ‘stumbled’ across the removals industry. We discuss that Melissa, daughter of Campbell McGimpsey, knew that McGimpsey’s were planning for succession as her father and Uncles were looking to retire in the coming years, and during her fiancé’s (Steven) birthday dinner they decided together that they would make an offer to buy the company, which she made initially by text that evening! We discover that McGimpsey’s was formed in 1983, started by Brothers Peter and Campbell, selling fish and vegetables from a van, where one evening they were asked if they could move a chest of drawers for a regular customer, which they did, and soon discovered they could make more money moving furniture than selling fish and vegetables. Fellow Brothers Stephen and Paul joined the company a few years later. We discuss how Melissa has found life in what is considered a male dominated industry and find that she has not faced any real issues, with the majority being very respectful towards her. We discover that Melissa thought her biggest issues when taking over the company were both her age and not having a removals background. But she soon discovered she had many transferrable skills, and being a Millennial, she had a good grounding in the use of technology in today’s society. We discuss Brexit, and Melissa highlights that January was a challenge, with 5 to 6 vehicles on average moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland on a weekly basis, which now all require import declarations for every single one of those movements. Melissa also highlights that their European work has suffered a massive change, where pre-Brexit they would have gone through the GB land bridge, but post-Brexit is now an import and export into Great Britain and an import and export back out again, so she is constantly looking for new ways, including going direct from Northern Ireland to Europe. We discover that every day brings a new challenge, however, Melissa’s biggest challenges to date, have been Covid and Brexit. We discuss that Melissa’s high point of being in the industry is opening opportunities within McGimpsey’s, providing more career prospects for moving up the ladder. We discover that even after a short period of time within the industry that Melissa would like a form of regulation to exist, which would help to make the industry more professional and in turn introduces better health and safety aspects. We discuss that Melissa is the current Secretary for the BAR Northern Ireland Area and that she felt it important to put herself forward for such a role not only to continue the networks created by her predecessors, but also to drive attendance at meetings as she believes the BAR is such a great support network. We discover that over the next five years Melissa hopes that McGimpsey’s have grown and introduced more technology and processes into the company – this year they have outgrown their storage facility at their Head Quarters in Bangor, taking on an additional 35,000 sqft warehouse. Industry wide Melissa believes the industry will still grow and the use of technology will expand. We discuss that outside of the industry Melissa rarely switches off from the industry, however, during lockdown she took up baking which she enjoys, during times when there are no bars or restaurants open. And as always we end Moving Matters with a funny moving story regarding Paul McGimpsey assisting a client in finding their chequebook to pay for their move. Enjoy! Links to McGimpsey (Brothers) Removals: * Website ( * Twitter ( * Facebook ( * YouTube ( * LinkedIn ( Special Guest: Melissa Campbell.
In this episode, Danny Pollard, Managing Director of Pollards Moving & Storage, discusses how he started in the industry some 20 years ago, working for a friend who’s business sadly went bust. We discover after this Danny wrote a business plan and received a small loan from his parents, which he used to acquire the assets and formed Pollards Moving & Storage, some 16 years ago, and has since acquired Wades Removals in 2009/10, but primarily trade under the Pollards brand. We discuss that Pollards Moving & Storage predominantly offer domestic home moving services but aim at the higher end of the market. They have a 10,000 sqft containerised storage facility and offer Commercial relocation and European & International albeit on a smaller scale. We discover that for over 10 years Danny has collaborated with local charities on a ‘Gift Box’ scheme and explains that for those moving, Pollards provides the customer with boxes into which the customer packs their unwanted items, where they are then returned to store and finally distributed to local charity shops once the volume is large enough. The main charity that Danny supports is the Laura Crane Youth Cancer Trust. We discuss Danny’s challenges, the last recession being one of the hardest as Pollards were in financial difficulties, which Danny turned around after meeting his current wife, due to her positive influence upon him. The lockdown was another challenge where Danny struggled, feeling like he had let customers, staff, and his own family down as he cancelled approximately 30 house moves. We discover two things that Danny would change from his past. Firstly, not to start out cheap, to believe in himself and to market himself more to the higher end of the market when he started, and he discusses how difficult it was to make the switch from being cheap in his area to being the most expensive, by adding value to the client. Secondly, to have undertaken his Class 2 and CPC, he hopes to address the latter this year. We discuss Danny’s high points of being in the industry and it’s the people he’s created friendships and relationships with, another being asked to become the BAR Yorkshire Area Secretary and then Chairman, and then representing the area on the BAR National Council. We discover the one thing Danny would change within the moving industry is public perception, yet again. We discuss the advice Danny would give to a younger Danny, and its people and the investment placed in them, with Danny’s moto being; employ well, treat well, train well, where necessary. We discover that over the next five years Danny sees continued growth and recognition of the Pollards brand within the Yorkshire region, and that he has a success story and business model that he would like to help others within the industry use. In the industry Danny sees a definite change in how they operate over the next couple of years where it will remain stagnant, but he still sees growth and hopes that the public will now see more value in the industry since the pandemic. We discuss that outside of the industry Danny enjoys Huddersfield Town FC, where he and his children are season ticket holders. Danny also enjoys golf, activities with the children, weekends away with the wife, travel and general outdoor pursuits, but Danny does find it hard to switch off. And as always we end Moving Matters with a funny moving story regarding a job to Aberdeen with a deeply religious 85 year old lady, and her 4 goldfish. Enjoy! Links to Pollards Moving & Storage: * Website ( * Facebook ( * Twitter ( * Instagram ( Special Guest: Danny Pollard.
In this episode, Rob Horrobin, Managing Director of John Lomas Removals, discusses how he started in the industry some 22 years ago at the tender age of 14, where he began as porter during his school holidays. We discover that after a few years of portering Rob became involved in the Sales and Operations side of the business, and that in 2006 John Lomas Removals was brought by Clockwork where Rob became the fulltime Sales Estimator having just completed his Business Studies degree, and soon after became Operations Manager and subsequently Branch Manager. We discuss how during the recession Rob was told that Clockwork were looking to close down the branch and run everything from their Sheffield location, but that got Rob thinking, and in 2011 together with his father they took over ownership of John Lomas Removals. We discover that John Lomas Removals are a Bishop’s Move franchise, and Rob explains that Bishop’s bring policy and procedural knowledge, provide access to European and International rates that allow Rob to compete in those markets, and that they bring a revenue generating stream of work. We discus that one of Rob’s biggest challenges to date has been COVID-19, sorting out policies and procedures to ensure safe working practices. We discuss Rob’s high points of being in the industry and find that they are when being asked to move family and friends, winning the big jobs that take lots of planning, commercial work (although John Lomas Removals are not a member of the BAR’s Commercial Moving Group, but I sense a yet!) and the acquaintances and friends made along the way. We discover that Rob would change two things within the moving industry. Firstly, the conveyancing process, because Rob believes that the industry loses too many good people, especially drivers, due to not knowing when they are going to be finished at the end of the day. And secondly, regulating the 3.5 tonne sector, bringing it under the operators licence jurisdictions. We discuss that the advice Rob would give to a younger Rob would be to work harder at university, specialising in law, and become a solicitor! But on a more serious note, Rob would not allow the business or the industry run himself and not to become a slave to it. We discover that outside of work Rob likes to spend time with his family, holidays, watching sport such as football (Rob is a massive fan of West Bromwich Albion), boxing, UFC and he’s a big golf fan, both watching and playing, as well as the usual eating out, socialising, watching films and bingeing on Netflix with the wife. And as always we end Moving Matters with two funny moving stories, one that involved Rob himself and a driver desperate for ‘a number two’, and another involving the site manager on a new build. Enjoy! Links to John Lomas Removals: * Website ( * Facebook ( * Twitter ( Special Guest: Rob Horrobin.
In this episode, Steve Jordan, Editor of The Mover Magazine, discusses how he began in the industry some 47 years ago with ScotPac as a Shipping Clerk, before leaving 6 months later to form Avalon Overseas with Glyn Thomas & Jimmy Hannah, which they then sold in 1989 to Paul Evans of TransEuro. We discover that The Movers Trading Club, as mentioned in Episode 13 by Tony Tickner of The Eurogroup, was started in 1989/90 due to ‘bolshy’ Steve’s involvement within the BAR Overseas Group Council and in those days the Freight Negotiation Committee. We discuss why Steve wanted to get out of the industry in around 1992, to do something different, and started his own copywriting business, from his shed, before expanding to start The Words Workshop with his brother David and becoming the Editor of the BAR’s Removals & Storage Magazine from 2005 to 2011. We discover that Steve ‘absolutely adored’ being the Editor of R&S, but after a difficult relationship with the then BAR Director General in his final years Steve left and started The Mover Magazine, an independent magazine for the Removals & Storage industry. We discuss the reasons why Steve made the transition of The Mover Magazine from hard copy to digital and discover they have an app too! We discover that social media has had a huge difference on the PR side of Steve’s business and Steve provides some tips for our business owner listeners and discuss just how easy it is to get your story published in The Mover Magazine. We discuss some of the challenges Steve has faced, several being ‘jumping off the cliff in the dark’ ones, like starting his own business with no money, leaving R&S to start The Mover Magazine, and one very surprising one, an arson attack on the warehouse at Avalon Overseas in 1982 that very nearly destroyed the company. We discover that Steve’s high point is clearly starting The Mover Magazine. We discuss that Steve would make two changes in the moving industry, the fixation on price and length of service within the industry, where Steve does not think the industry cherishes the youth of the industry in the way that it should do. We discover that Steve’s advice, to everybody, is to be an exceptional employee, by doing the following three things; turn up time, smile, and do your absolute best every day. And his advice to a young Steve would be to take a public speaking course and to stand on a stage at every opportunity and tell people how you feel about things. We discuss where Steve sees himself and the moving industry in five years’ time, and while there are currently no succession plans for The Mover Magazine Steve would like to still be Editor at that time. As for the moving industry Steve believes it needs to become very flexible, more efficient, use technology far more than it does now, and that people will have to think more laterally, pushing the boundaries of possibilities. We discover that outside of the industry Steve is a butterfly person - someone that does a lot of things, but not very well! Steve plays guitar and sings, enjoys walking with his dog, running, cycling and playing table tennis, where in his youth he had a trial to play for England! And as always we end Moving Matters with a funny moving story regarding a survey with the Smellies! Enjoy! Links to The Mover Magazine: * Website ( * Facebook ( * Twitter ( * Linkedin ( * YouTube ( Special Guest: Steve Jordan.
In this episode, Robert Bartup, Managing Director of GB Liners, discusses how he is now in his 46th year in the industry after completing a Business Studies Degree at Leicester in 1975, and that he’s only ever worked for the illustrious GB Liners. We discover that Robert is the progeny of another man who was in the removal industry, who’s father was also in the removal industry, making him not a 3rd generation removal man but a 3rd generation removal director. We discover that GB Liners was formed by Robert’s Grandfather in Brighton back in 1923, and today GB Liners consists of 11 branches using the GB Liners brand and has approximately 100 vehicles and employs 250-300 staff across the group, which also includes 2 Self Storage businesses, Clark & Rose with 3 branches in Scotland, and surprisingly Unique Van Bodies, who build trucks for the removal industry. We also discover that Robert concentrates on doing the job right and being the most expensive mover in town, rather than doing it wrong and being the cheapest mover in town! We discuss challenges, where Robert explains no money was the challenge in the early days, and that a fire nearly destroyed the business in 1990! We discover that one thing Robert would change from his past was not working outside of the family business for a period, as he has always been an employer and never an employee. We discuss some of Robert’s high points of being in the industry, consisting of some of the buildings and trucks he’s built, the Moving Up project that he did in the late 1990’s, his BAR Presidency and more recently being awarded BAR Honorary Life Membership. We also discuss how ‘Rebel’ Robert became involved in the BAR APG Scheme. We discover that one thing Robert would change within the industry is for the industry to be proud of the service it provides and prouder of the price it charges for it, as the industry has a great tendency to underestimate its own value, skill, effort, and risk that it undertakes. We discuss that the advice Robert would give to a young Robert, or Roberta, would be to find themselves a mentor or a series of mentors, and tap into their knowledge and experience, and not to be afraid to ask questions. We discover that Robert is immortal, but in 5 years’ time he doesn’t want to be involved in the nitty gritty day to day stuff that comes along and will nudge other people into taking over those roles, however, he has a challenge to find people to take over the non operational type of issues. Robert does believe that the process of consolidation will continue and that customers will be stolen and sold back by the lead generation type people. We discover that outside of the business Robert is a keen Hereford Football Club fan being a season ticket holder and club sponsor, he likes his holidays, and would also like to spend more time in the South of France, maybe purchase a second home there. And as always we end Moving Matters with a couple of funny moving stories, both concerning victorious County Court appearances! Enjoy! Links to GB Liners: * Website ( * Facebook ( * Twitter ( * Instagram ( * Linkedin ( Special Guest: Robert Bartup.
In this episode, Tony Tickner, Managing Director of The Eurogroup, discusses how he began in the industry some 32 years ago, forming the company with a friend from quite a large freight forwarding company. We discover that Tony started with general cargo before realising there was very little money to be made, and switching to become a destination agent, handling household goods for the likes of Four Winds Middle East. We discover The Eurogroup operate from 3 depots, with an additional 2 that are purely storage only, running approximately 40 vehicles, employ 44 staff, and that they do not provide domestic or commercial moves, they purely do household moves to and from Europe and Internationally. We discuss Tony’s challenges, his biggest personal one being his dyslexia, while his biggest commercial challenge was being recognised within the industry for their corporate accounts, and discuss how Tony changed the tariff structure for unloading deepsea containers. We discover that Tony wouldn’t change anything from his past but does highlight that in the early days he didn’t truly understand his costs, something he definitely does today! We discuss Tony’s high point of being in the industry, and discover he has many; moving high profile celebrities, being chosen as the management company for one of the largest contracts in the UK, and that he was chosen to be a joint supplier for the drawdown of personnel out of Germany for the MOD back in 2015, moving 2,500 families over a 12 week period. But his real high point was being asked to become BAR President. We discuss the Movers Trading Club, of which Tony is the current Chairman and discover what it provides to its membership and how to join such an illustrious group. Being the immediate past President of the BAR, we discover just how much Tony enjoyed undertaking that role, yet found it challenging at times. We discover that one thing Tony would change in the industry is regulation, but this time at a governmental level! We discover that the advice he would give to a young Tony would be to know your costings and not to be a busy fool. We discuss where Tony see’s the industry in 5 years, and on the shipping side he does think we’re in the biggest transition the industry has ever been in as shipments are decreasing in size as we live in a more disposable world and carry so much information in a digital rather than a physical form. We discover that outside of the business Tony never truly switches off. However, he is a car fanatic and is currently rebuilding a 40 year old Suzuki Jeep, which he tracked down in Ibiza to then discover it was sold by his father’s dealership in the UK back in the day! Being a car fanatic Tony is an avid fan of F1 and loves off-road racing, something he may look to get back into. And as always we end Moving Matters with a funny story regarding the shipment for a VIP of a really big blue chip company, a polaroid camera and a statue of Eros! Enjoy! Links to The Eurogroup: * Website ( * Facebook ( * Twitter ( * Linkedin ( Special Guest: Tony Tickner.
In this episode, Chris Smallwood, Director of Britannia Anchor Removals of Salford, Greater Manchester, discusses how he first began in the industry in 1990 with Whitby Oliver, where he was snapped up by Charles Oliver after Charles had heard he was being made redundant from his garage receptionist role. We discover that Chris served 2 stints at Whitby Oliver’s, first serving as porter, packer, driver and then surveyor. Chris left in 1994 to work at Devereux in Cleveland, but returned to Whitby Oliver in 97/98 as joint Manager, eventually taking over as Manager. We discus how Anchor Removals came about, which was originally started by ex-sailor Roy Featherston in 1992. Roy took the company into the BAR and as Roy and Chris became good friends within the industry Roy came to him when he decided to retire, and so in 2008 Chris became the new owner and thus Director, taking it into Britannia and increasing its turnover from £125k then to £600k today. We discover that Chris has had to overcome several challenges in the past, being undervalued, suffering from mental illness and depression, but his biggest challenge was becoming a business owner and discovering that he was answerable to everybody in the business. We discus that his high point of being in the industry was being named Salford Business Employer of the Year in 2019, which was the pinnacle of what had been a lot of hard work over the last 10/12 years. We discover what being a member of Britannia Movers International brings to the table, as Chris’s industry experience comes from working at fellow Britannia members during the past. We tap into Chris’s passionate side and discuss in length his philosophy regarding the treatment of employees, the living wage foundation and zero hour contracts, and I for one learned an awful lot from this. We discover Chris has a strategy in place when the time comes to hand over the reins, and he believes the industry will have many challenges ahead of itself in the next 5 years with the advent of Brexit and COVID. Outside of the industry we discover that Chris is a passionate fan of Manchester City Football Club and York City Knights who play rugby league. Chris also enjoys getting out on his road bike where he comes up with most of his business solutions and ideas. And as always we end with a funny moving story regarding some obstructive neighbours who parked their cars in the way of the removal truck, well one in particular anyway! Enjoy. Links to Britannia Anchor Removals: * Website ( * Facebook ( * Twitter ( Living Wage Foundation Website ( livingwagefoundation Special Guest: Chris Smallwood.
Episode 11 is part 2 of a 2 part recording with the BAR Young Movers Group Council, which consists of Chairman Ciaran Mullarkey of George Pickersgills & Son, Deputy Chairman Mairead Almandras of Britannia Sanderstead's, Immediate Past Chairman Daniel Braddock of GB Liners and fellow councillors, Michael Dunbar of McGimpsey's, Alexandra Lane of Britannia Lanes, Tommy McNee of Guardian Moving & Storage and Calvin Tickner of The Eurogroup. We discover what one thing my guests would change as a whole within the moving industry, with Michael discussing the general outside perspective for a trade in which he believes is a skilled trade (and I totally agree!), Mairead has a real dig at solicitors over exchange and completion dates, Tommy agrees with Mairead and provides an example on how it can effect the Working Time Directive as he believes the moving industry is always an afterthought, Alexandra covers the service being offered over the race to the bottom line and also agrees with Mairead, Calvin echo’s the comments already made and touches upon the professionalism of the moving industry, Ciaran would like to see some form of regulation, and Daniel reiterates public perception and would like the industry to work together a bit more. When it comes to what advice this young bunch would give to a young mover just starting out in the moving industry, Michael suggests that you show initiative as there is so much room for development and progression within this industry, Mairead echo’s Michaels views and highly recommends that you get involved with the BAR Young Movers Group, Tommy recommends the invaluable networking, Alexandra reminds everyone that it’s not a weakness to ask questions, Calvin reiterates the advice already given and adds that if you are office based then hot desk to increase your own value within the company, Ciaran recommends training, lots of training, and Daniel suggests you surround yourself with the people that have the knowledge. We discover where each of my guests see themselves and the industry in 5 years, where Michael believes his own future is in the hands of his Directors, and that the young movers can drive the industry forward, Mairead believes the industry will slow down for city movers as more and more people relocate to their ‘forever home’ in the countryside being as they are now able to work from home as a result of the recent pandemic, and she sees herself as maybe moving more into a surveying role, Tommy would like a Directors role within Guardian Moving & Storage and would like to become a voice for the industry, and he hopes a form of regulation comes about for the industry, Alexandra sees herself growing within her current role and expanding her knowledge, but doesn’t see any huge incoming changes to the industry, Calvin would have served his stint as Chairman of the BAR Young Movers Group as he moves into the role of Vice Chairman next year and sees more responsibility coming his way from the family business, in the industry he has noticed shipments are getting smaller and has seen a change in commercial relocation as more and more of us are now able to work from home, Ciaran is in the process of buying a warehouse to stand the business in good stead for the future, but isn’t too sure on the industry, and Daniel would like to still see himself as part of GB Liners and driving it forward and maintaining his involvement within the BAR. And finally, we end with several funny moving stories, Michael didn’t have a funny story as they were far to incriminating, but he did recite a story that involved moving Professional Golfer Rory Mcllroy and how curiosity got the better of him, Mairead recites a packing job she was once on where she was tipped in Home Made Greek Halloumi Cheese, and the moment she took the DNA from a cup Rock Legend Liam Gallagher drank from while in attendance at their warehouse, Tommy recites a story where he and his crew pranked an apprentice by telling him he needed a passport to cross the border into England, Alexandra is far to young to have a moving story but does recite the history of Lanes, Calvin recites a story he had been told regarding a couple of PBO boxes coming from a bedroom making the sound of a battery powered toothbrush, and Calvin clears the company name regarding receipt of a damaged shipment for British Long Distance Runner Sir Mo Farah, just in case its mentioned on ‘I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!’, Ciaran recites a story regarding a foreman, the foreman’s wife and a snooker table, while on a removal, and Daniel recites a charming story regarding a large bronze garden statue of a lady, with a black mark on her thigh. Enjoy! Links to the BAR Young Movers Group: * Website ( * Facebook ( baryoungmovers Special Guests: Alexandra Lane, Calvin Tickner, Ciaran Mullarkey, Daniel Braddock, Mairead Almandras, Michael Dunbar, and Tommy McNee.
Episode 10 is part 1 of a 2 part recording with the BAR Young Movers Group Council, which consists of Chairman Ciaran Mullarkey, Deputy Chairman Mairead Almandras, Immediate Past Chairman Daniel Braddock and fellow councillors, Michael Dunbar, Alexandra Lane, Tommy McNee and Calvin Tickner. We discover that Michael is 33 and works for McGimpsey’s in Belfast, Mairead is 29 and works for Britannia Sanderstead’s in Surrey, Tommy is 33 and works for Guardian Moving & Storage in Edinburgh, Alexandra (the baby of the group) is 22 and works for Britannia Lanes in Devon, Calvin is 28 and works for The Eurogroup, Ciaran is 38 (and not 28 as I mistakenly wrote down!), and works for George Pickersgill & Son and Daniel is 32 and works for GB Liners. We discuss the BAR Young Movers Group as a whole and discover from Ciaran that the group networks and socialises together, and have previously sold out 3 educational events, held at remover locations in Birmingham, Cardiff and Brighton, with Belfast on the calendar for 2021. We discover from Daniel that membership has just been launched, at the mere cost of £55 + VAT per year, and is available to BAR and non-BAR members, with non-BAR members requiring individual membership too at the cost of £100 + VAT per year. Being that it is a group for ‘young movers’, there is a cut-off age of 40. We discover from Calvin that there was a Young Movers Group in the past and how he set about resurrecting it. When asked who has the aspirations to become the next BAR President, Ciaran threw Calvin’s name into the ring before both agreeing that Mr GB (Daniel) was first off. We then delve into each council member and discover how they got started in the industry, discovering their previous roles as well as their current. We discover that 3 work within the family business, thus being Mairead, Alexandra and Calvin, and that Ciaran is a partner of George Pickersgills & Son. We discover that Calvin went to University in Nottingham, chosen purely on the ratio of women to men! And we discover that Dan is a 3rd generation remover. We discover the personal challenges of each, Michael losing his driving licence, Mairead being sent to a Young Movers Conference in Budapest not knowing anyone, but it really helped with her confidence, Tommy not being taken seriously as a 22 year young project manager, as well as losing his father on a job, Alexandra has had no challenges as yet but there is the child of the boss syndrome that goes with the territory, as Mairead, Calvin and Ciaran also discuss, and Dan’s biggest challenge was moving from the operative side of the business to the office and into management. We discus what each person would change from their moving past, even though they are all so young, and discover that most would not change anything, yet. Calvin regrets not starting out on the vans and holding back at conference due to nerves, Ciaran would have joined the BAR earlier and Dan would have joined GB Liners earlier. And Calvin corrects me!! I had mistakenly taken down the age of one guest and Calvin just wanted to set the record straight, much to the dismay of Ciaran, who is actually 38 and not 28 as I had noted, and is therefore nearly no longer a young mover! 😊 Enjoy! Links to the BAR Young Movers Group: * Website ( * Facebook ( baryoungmovers Special Guests: Alexandra Lane, Calvin Tickner, Ciaran Mullarkey, Daniel Braddock, Mairead Almandras, Michael Dunbar, and Tommy McNee.
In this episode, Greg Wildman, Managing Director of Basil Fry & Company, discusses, in quite some length, how he began in the industry in 2001, although he started in the world of work at the age of 13 as a paperboy. After a stint at university, and travelling the United States of America teaching tennis, we discover that Greg returned to a company he used to work for as a Saturday boy during his college days, Russell & Bromley, where he then set about making a successful career for himself, but soon began to realise that the opportunity to climb to the top the career ladder would be limited as Russell & Bromley was and still is a family owned company. In 2001 Greg was headhunted by his brother, Philip Wildman, and offered an opportunity to join his brother at Basil Fry & Company, which he duly accepted, and in 2004 Greg spearheaded the recruitment side of the business, adding the likes of Ria Houston, Peter Doman and Adam Kellaway over the years to name a few. We discover that Basil Fry’s jewel in the crown is Removal Claims Services, which provides claims handling for goods in transit policies. And discover that over the years one claim was for half a bag of pasta that went missing, and how Chris Thorpe (now retired) was so disgruntled by one claim that he settled it in stamps! Greg explains the difference between liability cover and an insurance solution, and declares that from the 1,500 removers on his books 70% offer an insurance solution while 30% offer liability cover. Greg also offers an important piece of advice for movers, ensuring you have a signed acceptance of contract form from your customers at all times – vitally important! We discover several challenges Greg has overcome, purchasing the company with brother Philip heading up the management buyout in 2007, recruiting the right people to drive the company forward, making preparations to buy the company himself 10 years later in 2017, and on a personal level, Greg’s colon burst in 2010, putting him out of action for 9 months. Greg goes one better than David Bunting did on episode 7 and lists 6, yes 6, highpoints of being within the industry! We discuss how Greg would like the public perception of the moving industry to change, citing once again just how skilled the workforce actually are, and how he would like to see the insurance industry be more proactive and improve on their service levels. We discover that outside of the world of work Greg has a passion for AFC Wimbledon, enjoys collecting watches, and it will come as no surprise that he enjoys socialising, with the friends made through business relationships formed from working within the industry. And as always we end with a funny story regarding a well known member of the Basil Fry team that involves a revolving door and a bloody nose, and another regarding Greg’s very own house move and a little present left by a fox. Enjoy! Links to Basil Fry & Company: * Website ( * Facebok ( * Linkedin ( Special Guest: Greg Wildman.
In this episode, Ian Palmer, Chief Executive Officer of White & Co. PLC, discusses how he began in the industry some 43 years ago, starting at White & Co. in Plymouth which was ran by his father at the time. We discover that Ian wanted to become a Geography Teacher, before trying to get into the Royal Navy as a Navigation Officer, but life on the vans soon took over and Ian became a second-generation remover, with his son Adam since becoming third-generation. We discover that Ian is a really good packer, being both quick and efficient and how management training from White & Co. lead him to becoming an Estimator, Assistant Branch Manager at Forres in Scotland before returning to Plymouth to a become a Branch Manager himself. We discuss that being made a Director of White & Co. at the mere age of 35 Ian relocated to Hertfordshire to run a newly opened branch in North London, while also managing branches in Jersey & Guernsey. And how in 2003 Ian moved to Head Office in Botley, Southampton to take over as Chief Executive Officer. We discover that White & Co. PLC was founded by A.W. White in Portsmouth in 1871, working with the Royal Navy providing staff cartidge facilities in the dock yard, which then morphed into transportation and then removals. Today White & Co. have an impressive 19 branches, 210 vehicles and 460 staff, and are founder members of FIDI and OMNI. We discuss how in Ian’s earlier years he had to overcome the challenge of being the boss’s son, and professionally how Ian is seemingly very impatient, which he has learned to curb a little. We discover that becoming CEO of White & Co. was a personal high point for Ian, but also becoming the current BAR President was a pretty special occasion for him. We discuss how the conveyancing situation is a major frustration, just one thing Ian would change within the industry, as well as it being unregulated. We discuss archive storage, or records management to some, and discover that the digital age has not really affected business as the number of physical files currently being stored is the highest it’s ever been. We discover that over the next 5 years Ian has no intention of retiring from his role as CEO of White & Co. At the end of his BAR Presidency (May 2021) Ian hopes to return to the Overseas Group Council. Ian predicts that the industry is going to make greater use of technology in the coming years, electric vehicles, perhaps even hydrogen, and there will be greater focus on shared facilities, operations, and resources. Outside of the industry we discover Ian likes riding his motorcycle, fast, he enjoys watching rock bands at venues around the UK but also at a local Southampton venue, and that he has a passion for Cricket as the Rose Bowl is literally 500 metres from his home. And as always we end Moving Matters with a couple of funny moving stories, one where Ian discovered that not all wood floats, and all White & Co. branch managers switch off now because we also learn how Ian came 2nd at a privateers track day, in his company car! Enjoy! Links to White & Co. PLC: * Website ( * Facebook ( * Twitter ( * Linkedin ( Special Guest: Ian Palmer.
In this episode, retired remover, David Bunting, a true gentleman of the moving industry, discusses how he began his illustrious 60 year career within the transportation industry, the last 40 being in the moving industry. We begin at Pickfords Heavy Haulage, where David started as Traffic Clark in Preston, taking every opportunity to use vehicles for back loading purposes to reduce dead time, albeit by pony express at the time! At the young age of 20/21, David had progressed to Traffic Manager, and further promotions led David to the branches of Liverpool, Newcastle, Derby and Sheffield. After 20 years David left Pickfords Heavy Haulage and joined a local heavy haulage and crane company back in Preston, but due to a lack of progression David applied for the role of Depo Manager at Giltspur Bullens Transport Services and joined in 1983. When Giltspur Bullens were acquired by Pickfords, David left and took on the role to develop the office and commercial division of a company in Preston, Whittle Movers, in 1996. In only 2 years David was offered a directorship within the company and when he retired 12 years later the division had a turnover of £3m! We discuss David’s high point within the moving industry, and not content with one he lists five! We discover David’s long and distinguished roles and achievements within the British Association of Removers - Chairman of the Commercial Moving Group 1997/99, President in 2005/06, Honorary Life Member in 2008, just to name a few. We discuss David’s time as a judge of CMotY (Commercial Mover of the Year), which David won while at Whittle Movers in 2003. We discover that David, although retired for 12 years now, never switches off from the industry, and neither does he want to. Outside of the industry we discover David enjoys golf, gardening, time with his wife, children and grandchildren, and of course his beloved Preston North End, where you will hear a wager placed by Nigel Shaw (guest on Episode 2) was accepted by David – So watch this space! And we end Moving Matters with a couple of funny stories, one that made David more money and another involving a known character within the moving industry, synonymous for his card tricks and anticks. Enjoy! Special Guest: David Bunting.
In this episode, Ian Studd discusses how he began his lifelong career in the industry 49 years ago, assisting his father from the age of 13 in the family business, GTS Light Haulage & Removals. We discover how a successful blind date in the early 80’s, led Ian to relocate to Norfolk, where he applied for a job with Abels and joined them as a driver. We discuss how in Ian’s later years with Abels he became responsible for the output of the office and commercial moving, and how in the mid 90’s a takeover by Hays PLC seemingly made progression within the company less accessible. We discover how in January 97, Ian joined Harrow Green, which was Ian’s biggest culture shock he has ever had in his entire life! Ian’s career with Harrow Green was incredibly successful and rewarding, starting as Sales Executive, becoming Sales Manager in 2002, heading up Exclusive Group which Harrow Green acquired, to joining the board of directors in 2006. When asked what Ian would change from his moving past we discover that he would not change anything at all, however, if he could add to his past experiences it would be to have a peer group such as the BAR Young Movers Group where they learn and support each other as their careers develop. We discover a few of Ian’s high points, becoming HGV Class One driver, gaining his International CPC Licence, and another, smashing his first year’s sales target of £860k of new business within 3-4! We discuss Ian’s current role, Director General of the British Association of Removers, and what prompted him to apply for such a position. We discover what the role of Director General entails, and how his time has been during the past 5 years. Ian jumps onto his ‘soapbox’ when we discuss what one thing he would change within the moving industry, and he chooses only one even though he had the opportunity to answer as a Remover and Director General. We also discuss where Ian see’s himself and the industry over the next 5 years. Outside of the industry we discover Ian is a volunteer dog walker, helping wife Elaine with her business, spending time with his two daughters and their respective family, and how at the tail end of last year he convinced Mrs Studd that he bought a motorbike and became a born again biker for the third time. And we end Moving Matters with four, yes four, funny moving stories, one of which is just a lovely story about Ian falling in love with a vision of loveliness, HRH Princess Diana. Enjoy! Links to British Association of Removers: * Website ( * Facebook ( * Twitter ( Link to BAR Young Movers Council National Three Peaks Challenge: * Donate ( Special Guest: Ian Studd.
In this episode, Mr Crate Hire himself, Paul Bullock of PHS Teacrate, discusses how he began in the industry over 40 years ago, in 1977. He also discusses how he may be responsible for the start of the dreaded man and van removals, after loosing his first job as a car salesman. Paul discusses how Crates International, started by his father and a business contact, were bought by Rentacrate and closed down, and how Paul went on to run GB Crate Hire for Giltspur Bullens, which was eventually snapped up by Pickfords. He then started Quick Crates with a parent company OCS, where eventually Rentacrate and Quick Crates were bought by Teacrate, which is where Paul works today as Key Account Manager. We discuss how technology, especially barcoding, has made a huge difference to the Crate Rental industry. Paul discusses how the one thing he would change in the moving industry is perception, something I personally wholeheartedly agree with. Outside of the industry we discover that Paul is not an Arsenal fan at all, but is a Rugby Union fan, and follows Wasps. We discuss the RBA (Removers Benevolent Association), a charity for members of the BAR (British Association of Removers), his role within the RBA, and how the RBA can help, and has helped, those in need. And as always, we end Moving Matters with 2 funny moving stories, one about a naked lady and a naked gentlemen at a BAR Conference, and it’s taken until Episode 5 but we finally have a funny story regarding a mistaken torch found under a bed that needed new batteries! Enjoy! Links to PHS Teacrate: * Website ( * Twitter ( * Linkedin ( And if you would like to make a financial donation to the RBA, no matter how big or small, please use the links below to help those in need. In fact, if you have enjoyed listening to Moving Matters to date then please make a donation to the RBA to show your appreciation - Many thanks! Links to RBA (Removers Benevolent Association): * Website ( * Donate ( Special Guest: Paul Bullock.
In this episode, fourth generation removal man, Geoff Archer, discusses how, even though P.W. Archer & Son is a family firm, he had to go and get a job before returning with his worldly experience of work. We discuss how P.W. Archer & Son was started by Percy William Archer and his brother Horace in May 1920, where they drove to Darlington to buy ice, which they then sold back in Northallerton to butchers, ice cream parlours and anyone else that wanted ice. And how centenary celebrations have sadly been put on hold due to the current pandemic. We discuss challenges from the past, one being during the time of his forefathers, the Second World War, and how he couldn’t imagine that someone could come walking through the door and cut the company by two thirds due to nationalisation! And the biggest challenge in his living memory was Black Wednesday in the 90’s. Geoff controversially talks about how he would change the moving industry by bringing in tachographs and O-licences for anything hire & reward. We cover framework agreements, one of Geoff’s high points to date, showing that a small family firm can compete with the big boys. Outside of the industry we discover Geoff’s passion for Citroen 2CV’s. And as always, we end Moving Matters with some funny moving stories, one I am sure all removers will relate to regarding addresses, and I dare you not to laugh when you hear about Steve! Enjoy! Links to P.W. Archer & Son: * Website ( * Facebook ( * Twitter ( * Instagram ( Special Guest: Geoff Archer.
In our third episode, my first husband and wife duo Anthony & Karen Groves discuss how Anthony took over the business, D.C. Groves & Son, at the mere age of 24, as a second generation removal man, after his father sadly past away at the age of 64, while on a removal with Anthony. We discuss how Covid procedures put in place are limiting the number of moves at the moment to 2-3 a day rather than 4-5 with hired assistance, as they look to keep themselves, their staff and their customers safe. We also discover that their low point from the past would be the purchase of Turks of Lydd from their friend Andrew in March 2008, where due to bad advice and the biggest collapse of world banks later that year the newly acquired company was forced into liquidated less than 12 months from purchase. We learn about Anthony’s Director role within QSS, Quality Service Standards, and discover just how much Anthony loves standards, and how later in life he would like to become an auditor himself - you heard it here first! We discover that Karen would like solicitors to change the exchange process, making it more like Scotland, and how Anthony would enforce tighter regulation of the moving industry. Outside of the moving industry we find that Karen enjoys spending time with her daughters, Anthony enjoys spending his time fishing and gardening and how together they both work alongside the Lions Club, when not cruising. And we end Moving Matters with 3, yes 3 funny moving stories, which I am sure most removers will relate too. Enjoy! Links to D.C. Groves & Son: * Website ( * Facebook ( Special Guest: Anthony & Karen Groves.
In our second episode Nigel Shaw discusses how he began working life by completing his apprenticeship as an Engineer, and how a £300 loan from his Mother in 1982 (which I hope he’s since repaid!) helped him purchase a Bedford TK and start his illustrious career in the Moving Industry, starting Shaw & Simpson Removals with mate Paul Simpson. Today, he and wife Carole run Specialised Movers, turning over nearly £3 million a year! We discuss how a real low point in his career, a fatality in the workplace in 2004, gave him the strength and fight to turn Specialised Movers into what it is today, and how one of his many high points was being awarded the contract to move the Qatar National Library. We also cover how he became Chairman of the Commercial Moving Group of The British Association of Removers, how Specialised Movers won the Commercial Mover of The Year in 2012 and how he has a bigger trophy cabinet than West Ham due to the award of merits throughout the office! Outside of the moving industry we discover Nigel’s passion for Clay Pigeon Shooting and Cars. And we end Moving Matters with a very funny moving story about a cat. Enjoy! Links to Specialised Movers: * Website ( * Facebook ( * Twitter ( Special Guest: Nigel Shaw.
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