In this episode Mark Ratcliffe, Director of Mark Ratcliffe Moving and Self Store discusses how he started in the industry after relocating from Nelson, Lancashire to Eastbourne, East Sussex in 1982, where after collecting scrap metal and clearing rubbish in an old truck he saw an advert in the local newspaper and got a job as a removal man at Edwins of Eastbourne, where he learnt his craft, from Bernie.
Today, Mark owns Mark Ratcliffe Moving & Self Store which has been trading for 6 years now, but Mark is probably more well known for his previous companies, The Small Moving Company and more so A1 Worldwide Movers which he sold in 2006.
We discover that Mark has recently opened a Self-Storage facility (2 warehouses opposite each other) and finds this a better storage solution than containerised, which he was heavily involved with back in the mid 90’s, as Mark feels furniture should be stored in carpeted (very popular in Scandinavian countries) and temperature controlled rooms.
We discuss that after selling A1 Worldwide Movers, Mark took a sabbatical from the industry and went travelling to Thailand. It was during his travelling that he discovered a lot of expats were relocating, and as a result Mark now specialises in overseas moving to Thailand.
We discover Morris, Mark’s vintage 1963 Morris LD, which he found in a field full of scrap metal behind a steel container facility in Bournemouth where he was delivering goods in 2019. After negotiating a price of a mere £1,000 it was soon transported to UVB (Unique Van Bodies) in Warrington where 18 months later it was collected and will hopefully be seen at local events soon, and at The Movers & Storers Show later this year.
We discuss Your Moving Group and The Moving Group Academy that Mark is involved with. Your Moving Group was setup 5 years ago with Andy Pearson (of Family Movers), which started life as You Move Group that was predominantly a van rental service (which Mark confesses together they got their marketing completely wrong, and it failed miserably). Today Your Moving Group is a membership-based group with 14 members at the time of recording. The Moving Group Academy is the fundamental and educational side of the industry, which Mark would like to see run along the lines of the old TMI (The Movers Institute).
We discover that Mark has faced many challenges, not being cash rich, BAR membership and taking 5 years to secure an archive storage contract of 4.7m files. And although Mark Ratcliffe Moving & Self Store is currently not a BAR member it is something Mark wants to change in the very near future, “watch this space”.
We discuss that the one thing Mark would like to change from his moving past was to have had more of a balance of life and to have not committed himself 100% to his work and industry.
We discover Mark’s high point of being in the industry was BAR membership at A1 Worldwide Movers in 1995, which Mark sees as the pinnacle of being a mover with standards and service. And Mark recites a lovely story of driving to BAR Services to buy ‘everything’ on the day his application was finally approved, he even took an old BAR Perspex badge which he stood proudly outside of his shop the following day!
We discuss the one thing Mark would change within the industry would be to bring movers closer together and believes Study Tours are a great way of achieving this.
We discover that Mark’s advice to a younger self would be to grow slowly and steadily, do not get too big too quick.
We discuss that in the next 5 years although Mark has no succession plan in place, maybe one of the staff would take over the business, but a proposition has been made and accepted to a company overseas. Industry wise Mark believes the industry will be really good, movers will be able to sell far superior services than in the past and command better prices.
We discover that outside of the industry Mark loves music and travelling.
And as always we end Moving Matters with not 1, not 2, but 3 funny moving stories, one with Big Tom ending up in a customer’s fish pond, another concerning an urgent removal to store from a standard 16 bedroom house, and Mark’s first International move which turned out to be a complete disaster!
Links to Mark Ratcliffe Moving & Self Store: