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I have had fairly recent experience of the removal service offered by Mike Powis of Lincoln and I am delighted to have the opportunity to share it.
Just before Christmas last year I became involved in a complicated operation which involved the sale of my mother’s home and the partitioning of a lifetime’s accumulated family possessions. A substantial proportion of the items would accompany my mother to her new very sheltered accommodation. This we termed “the main removal”. Other items were to be sold individually or collected by family members. Still more items had to remain in situ as they had been purchased by the house purchaser. The logistics of the arrangements were a nightmare.
We had never heard of Mike Powis. In fact one part of the whole process that we thought had gone remarkably smoothly was the arrangement with another local removals company to undertake “the main removal” on a particular date, subject to confirmation when contracts were exchanged and the completion dates on the properties fixed. Exchange of contracts was delayed many times but our solicitor still fought to achieve completion in time for Christmas. Imagine our disappointment when finally we got the go-ahead, when all the signing on the dotted lines had been accomplished, when we rang our chosen removers only to discover that they now had a large office removal contract and would be unable to help us until the New Year.
Enter Mike Powis to the rescue (well not quite yet as I had still not heard of him). I started frantically going through the telephone directory searching for a removals company who could take the work on at less than a week’s notice just before Christmas. At each refusal I asked politely if they knew of anyone else who might be able to help. I left messages on answer phones and followed up all mobile phone numbers eventually reaching the voicemail of Mike Powis. Mike returned my call in person that evening and within a few minutes I heard words that raised my hopes of a successful outcome. They were “As it happens we’ve had a cancellation ….” Within a few more minutes he had me laughing at his irrepressible sense of humour while he very carefully elicited from me everything he needed to know about the move.
Now it is my view that the hallmark of a successful operation is often to be found in the planning, and for that there is no substitute for professional experience. Mike knew exactly what he needed to know to size the job and soon had me willingly working to support him. He wanted to know the largest dimensions of the largest pieces of furniture, and the heaviest items, and the number of books, and the number of cupboards of crockery. He wanted to know if the filing cabinets were upstairs or downstairs and whether the stairs were curved or straight. He wanted to know the length and gradient of the drive at each end and how close the van could get to each door. He listened with patience as I described the layout of the block of flats at the far end and the means of reaching the 2nd floor. Then he wanted to know what the other removals company had quoted. By then I was already immersed in the details of the move and had forgotten that we had not yet agreed a price.
“I can match the price”, he announced, “and I can do it on the day you want, but I’ll need you to pack the china as we’d normally do that the day before”. A moment’s hesitation on my part, but I was not about to lose the only opportunity I saw of getting the move accomplished before Christmas. After a brief consultation with other key members of the family I agreed to his terms “But on one condition”, I said, “You’ll have to teach me how to pack china – and I need boxes!” It was a serious condition and he responded with all seriousness with a thorough briefing there and then over the phone. The boxes were delivered 2 days later in good time for the move. It is a point of pride on the part of myself and all the family members that got roped in to help that not one piece of china or glass got so much as a chip before, during or after its transportation.
When removal day came, the removers were slightly later than planned but they phoned with the necessary reassurance and we were glad of the extra time to fulfill our part of the bargain. We had tried to separate out where possible the items that had to be moved from the items that had to stay, but items such as filing cabinets were too heavy for us to move so almost every room had some special instructions associated with it concerning which things were to be moved and which had to stay. Our worst fear was that things that we had sold to the house purchaser would somehow get loaded onto the van. We needn’t have worried. They asked when in doubt. They waited politely while we sometimes had to consult each other and not one item went astray.
Now it is the little things that one remembers in retrospect. One of my self-appointed tasks was to make tea and coffee at regular intervals for the men throughout the day. I would leave it out for them in the kitchen and they would come and get it when it was drinking temperature. Each time I returned to the kitchen I would find that the men had rinsed their mugs out and left them in an orderly way on the draining board. A little sign of courtesy but one that went a long way towards securing their next mugful!
I remember, too, how nicely the younger members of the team were obviously being trained. For any unusual items that required special treatment or problems that presented themselves, they all gathered round and discussed how best to approach it. I was not aware of any demarcation lines, just an overriding impression of collaborative teamwork.
We all agreed on a leisurely schedule for traveling to the new location only a few miles away. This allowed us time to tidy up the old house, have lunch and open up the new flat before the removers arrived. They had already made arrangements to gain access to the service lift and to move their vehicle onto a service road nearby.
Moving in was difficult as we had brought a lot of stuff for a 2 bedroomed apartment and could not be 100% sure that all the furniture would fit in the planned positions. The removers helped with minor moves when it became apparent, for example, that a bookcase would need to move to clear a light switch. The service lift broke down at one point but the removers just sorted it out with the management and never once complained to us.
At the end of the day, Mike had a pleasant surprise for us. “It’s been an easier move than we predicted” he said, so “it won’t cost you as much as we agreed” and he proceeded to give us a discount that we had neither expected nor asked for. In view of the generosity of the discount in one direction, and the voluntary but customary tipping in the other, it seemed a bit idiosyncratic that the removers still wanted to return in a few days to collect any of their boxes that we had still to unpack. One non-negotiable part of the deal had been that it would cost us £2 per box that was not returned in good condition.
Idiosyncratic it may be, but it is a good way of ensuring that there must be a customer after-service call. The remover who came to collect the boxes a few days later listened politely and attentively as we were able to tell him truthfully that it had been our best move ever. Casualties? A single broken castor, which might well have been broken before the move for all any of us can remember. Oh, and we still can't find that little thing you put near the microwave to see whether it's safe or not. I imagine it will turn up in a few months' time.
In moving terms, ours was a simple removal. It was local to Lincoln where Mike Powis is based. It only required a single van and could be accomplished within a day. We did not have to put any of our stuff into storage so I cannot speak for that part of Mike’s service. And, as explained above, we did pack all of our own china. Nevertheless I will have no hesitation in asking him to quote next time I have a removal to do, however large or small.
They sound excellent. We had to move our Gran a few years ago from Glasgow to down here and we rented a van and did it ourselves!
heather73 16.06.2004 05:58
Having moved annualy for the past 8 years, I can only agree. I have used Powis of Lincoln ever time and they have been great.
I know he has a website going up at:
Good luck and thanks!!!