The issues with running a Man and Vans Company in London (Our Story)
We write to inform our customers of the efforts we have made since 2006 to build a business and stand out by offering a great service. It was a business that was split with my brother-in-law, Rob Innes, and to this day it is still structured in the same way.
Man and Vans was an offshoot of our water cooler business – The Water Delivery Company – which we set up in 2003 after leaving the corporate world of central London. We had vans we used during the week to deliver water standing around idle at the weekend, one day someone thought laterally and one website later we were in business – www.manandvans.com was born, and man and van work started to flood in.
It gets mucky here but we think that it is important to be honest. We knew how to get customers online, we knew how to organise staff/logistics and most importantly we knew how to talk to staff. All the building blocks of a good business – however our knowledge of removals (light or otherwise) was thin. Two people stepped up.
Our warehouse was based next to a pizza delivery business called Piccante, and occasionally we had called on their services of a Friday afternoon and a young Slovakian called Roman had turned up with a flat bread covered in assorted toppings. He was a chatty guy and it turned out he had worked in removals back at home. He was our first guy on the road and we relied on him for industry experience.
Secondly was Danny – an itinerant Irishman – who we met up with when all was getting a little busy and we were having to hire larger vans from a great company on the Wandsworth one-way system – Hunt Trucks (now moved to somewhere deep in Merton), Danny had the obvious gift of the gab with customers – which we loved – and a whole load of blarney that we had to put up with. Slightly higher maintenance than Roman – but hey we now had a team.
Business was good back in 2006/2007 and we were four guys in an office and a team of about ten we could call on to get the jobs done. We were competing with very few businesses in the same category online and we were making money fairly quickly. We were professionalizing an industry that had previously been dominated by fly-by-night cowboys, a couple of Irish sole traders and a load of guys with ‘Hire me’ painted on the back of their battered white van.
Man and Vans limited was on its way and we were very proud of the addition running alongside our water business. Man and Van in London is now part of what we do. Part Two comes next week and moves onto the issues that started to emerge.