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Richard’s gamble pays off

Mar 16, 2015
More Than Removals started trading in 2012 when the UK was still in the grip of a recession, probably not the best time to start a new business, especially in the moving industry. But for one young entrepreneur it’s paid off. Deputy editor David Jordan went to find out more.

Twenty-five year old Richard Churchill-Davies is hardly your archetypal removals man; with his hair tied in a ponytail and wispy beard he’d not look out of place in a rock band or maybe on a university campus.  I don’t know if Richard ever played rock music but he certainly went to university and ironically that’s how his life in the removals industry began.  Richard was studying for a Masters in engineering at Warwick when, to earn a little extra cash he bought a short wheelbase Transit van and started doing man-and-van removals in his spare time.

“At first it was just me and the van doing one man carries, sometimes with the customer lending a hand,” said Richard. “I really enjoyed it and the work soon built up, but I was taking my finals and was pushed for time, so I took someone on to help me - that’s how it all started.”

Richard had been bitten by the removals bug and after completing his studies he decided to put his engineering career on the back burner and develop his removals business. “I had my engineering qualifications to fall back on but I wanted to work for myself so I decided to go for it,” said Richard. “I managed to scrape together enough cash to buy another van - the banks at this stage were of no help at all.  I’d worked out how much business I’d need to do to pay the overheads and give me enough to live on.  I went into that very carefully and I was sure I could do it.”

More Than Removals began trading in 2012 from a small rented warehouse in Leamington Spa. “We only had a short lease on the building and the rent was proving to be a struggle to pay, so I decided to look for an alternative,” said Richard. “There was an opportunity to rent space in a warehouse on a farm on the outskirts of town and I decided to take it.  It proved to be a good move and has given us much more room for storage and offices.”

The company now has a full-time staff of five and runs four vehicles including a newly acquired 18 tonne DAF. “We also have a number of part-time people we can call upon during busy times, that helps us keep the head count down and means we don’t have to pay people when the work isn’t there,” said Richard.

Richard admits to still being something of a learner in the removals trade and has taken care to only employ experienced people in his fledgling business. “I believe in treating people properly and it’s helped us recruit some of the best movers in the business.  I respect their expertise and always give them the freedom to use their skills to get the job done.” 

Most of More Than’s work is in domestic moves and the company still offers a man and van hourly service alongside its traditional moving services.  In 2014 Rob McKay joined the company as general manager having worked for a major removals firm for nine years.

“Having Rob on board will help us develop the company and expand our services, especially in the European and overseas markets,” said Richard. “We’ve already done a number of moves to Europe and with Rob’s contacts around the world we’re well placed to handle international business.”

Richard’s gamble seems to have paid off, the business has grown rapidly during its first three years and the upward trend looks set to continue. “When we started we were doing about two or three moves a week, now we’re averaging about eighteen and have around 100 containers in storage,” said Richard. “We’re building a good reputation in the area and most of our business comes through recommendation.  We’re also very active on social media, particularly Facebook and we take care to present a professional image in everything we do.”

As we all know, removals is a tough industry, but Richard has shown that it is possible to successfully build a business organically from scratch without outside investment or help from the banks. Enthusiasm, ambition, good judgement, the right people around you, and a little bit of luck are all you need.


Photos: Richard Churchill-Davies with the crew; Rob McKay joined More Than last year.

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