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Simpsons Removals – A family business with worldwide connections

Mar 18, 2014
Back in 1979 a youthful Barry Simpson started a removals company in Dartford, Kent. During the past thirty-five years Simpsons Removals has grown into a respected removals company employing around 80 staff working from its depots in Dartford and Chesterfield.

Although Barry is st
ill Managing Director and very much involved with the business, his daughter Melanie and son Steve now have responsibility for its day-to-day running.


Simpsons moved its head office and main warehouse to Swanscombe - close to the Dartford Crossing – in 2001. The 46,000 sq ft warehouse is one of the few HMRC approved depositories for the removals industry in the country meaning that goods entering the country can clear customs away from the port. “We became authorised by HMRC about ten years ago and we certainly had to ‘jump through hoops’ to get their approval,” said Steve Simpson. “It made a big difference to the business, especially with overseas trade customers shipping goods to Europe. They can send their containers directly to us, where they clear customs and we forward them to their destination in Italy, Spain, or wherever. It really streamlines the operation and because we don’t need to use an agent at the port, it saves them money too. We also handle moves further afield to places like India, South Africa and the Far East. At the moment we’re handling around 30 to 40 containers a month, so it’s quite a lot business,” said Steve.


Steve is surprised more removals companies don’t take on overseas moves and is keen to encourage more of them to do so. “All a removal company needs to do is deliver the goods to our warehouse here in Dartford and we can do the rest.  I think some are put off by the red tape and paperwork, but we can help take care of all that for them so they don’t need to get too involved.  They can even get an instant online quote using our trade quotation system.  Every trade customer has their own secure login and is assigned an account manager to give a single point of contact, so there’s no reason to turn overseas work away,” said Steve.


Private customers can also get a quote online via the Simpsons website although the company always encourages customers to have an estimator visit just in case items have been overlooked, such as things in the loft or in the garage. Estimators are equipped with an iPad running Voxme software on which to record all the items to be moved. The estimator can also photograph any unusual pieces of furniture and the access to the property. The data is then sent via the Internet to head office and automatically entered onto the MoveMan system. A comprehensive survey report and quotation is then sent to the customer so he knows exactly what the move includes and the cost.


“The online quote system represented a considerable investment for us and there are on-going costs keeping it up to date with things like changes in ocean rates and currency exchange, but it’s definitely been worth it,” said Simpsons’ Project Manager Kirk Dugard.  These days people want instant quotes and it makes life easier for us too. When a customer completes the online quote form the information is automatically recorded on our MoveMan system so there’s no chance of us missing anything.”


Simpsons is BS 8564 approved and a member of BAR, BAR Overseas, FEDEMAC, and one of only a handful of removals companies to be a member of The Association of Art and Antiques Dealers (LAPADA). “We ship a lot of antiques around the world for people in the antique business as well as private individuals.  LAPADA is a highly respected organisation in the antiques industry and being approved by them reassures our clients that they’re dealing with a company that measures up to their high standards,” said Steve.


Although proud to still be a family business, Simpsons has been quick to adopt the latest technology and to develop its people to meet the challenges of working in a global market. When Barry Simpson started the company he gave it a motto to live by, ‘Excellere Contende’, Strive to Excel. Thirty-five years later that overriding principal is still being followed.


Photos: From the top - Simpsons Removals; The main warehouse; Melanie Simpson; Kirk Dugard; The Simpsons sales team.

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