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Serving the trade

Aug 13, 2013
A chat with Lee MacKenzie of Compass Moving Services


Compass Moving Services, run by Lee MacKenzie and his aunt, Karen MacKenzie-Harris is a great example of a small moving company that has grown to serve the needs of the big operators.  Since starting the business in 2009, not a great time to start any business, Lee and his team that includes two of his uncles and a couple of his best friends, have bucked the trend and made the business a success.


Lee was virtually born on a truck, spending time ‘helping’ with the family business as a child.  But when that company closed its doors he set out to build something himself. 


It wasn’t many years ago that the concept of subcontracting was anathema to most companies.  But as times have changed the industry seems to be becoming increasingly polarised into the companies that get the work and the ones that do it.  Compass if very much in the ‘doing’ camp.


“We are happy doing trade work,” said Lee.  “There’s no need for surveys and competitive tenders.  You know where you are with the trade.”


After three years Compass Moving Services runs a fleet of vehicles, mainly plain so they can be sent on jobs for any customer, and employs six people.  Karen runs the office.  All take a very keen interest in training and take part in their customers’ training courses as often as possible. “They vary quite a bit,” said Lee.  “Some are more concerned with packing, others focus on keeping the customer happy.  We get to benefit from all of it.”    


Most of the work is for export with Compass providing both origin and destination services if required. And as far as Lee is concerned, he’s prepared to go wherever the customers send him.  “We are regularly in Germany, France and Switzerland, but wherever there’s a road we’ll go there.  We often go to Macedonia, Romania and Bulgaria. Some companies don’t want to go there but we don’t mind.”


All Lee’s men have plain uniforms or wear the clients’ uniforms if required.  Paperwork too has, according to Lee, become standardised so there’s not much difference between companies’ procedures.  “But we have noticed companies becoming more demanding in recent years,” Lee explained.  “We are often required to pack and load a 40ft container for export in three days now whereas a few years ago we would always be given four.”  Just a sign of the times, perhaps.


But whatever the customer wants it’s Lee’s job to provide it.  “We always try to do our best.  We know that we are representing our customers and we are the last people the home owner sees so it’s us that leaves the lasting impression.  It’s our aim to make sure that’s always a good one.”


Photo top: Lee MacKenzie, photo bottom: Compass truck

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