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Move Assured: an affordable trade organisation for smaller movers

Jul 06, 2015
In just a little over 18 months John Sargant has built his trade organisation Move Assured into a network of 55 removal companies covering much of the UK.

John Sargant knows what it’s like to start from scratch in the removals business having started his own moving company 15 years ago after closing his greengrocery business. “I had six shops but competition from the supermarkets gradually forced me to close,” said John.  “I had four vans and initially turned to courier work until someone suggested doing removals, which I discovered, was a lot more profitable.”

John freely admits he knew nothing about the removals business at the time and had to learn quickly to stay ahead of the game.  Fifteen years on, his business, Smooth Moves is a small but successful company and John feels this gives him empathy with those just starting in the business and the credibility to advise others when they need his help.

John started his trade organisation after leaving the National Guild of Removers and Storers. “I joined the Guild for their free 20-week trial but didn’t read the small print properly and didn’t cancel my membership when I should have,” said John.  “This meant I was locked in for a further year, which I didn’t want and couldn’t afford.  I did want to be a member of something, because I believe it gives prospective customers confidence knowing your company has to comply with certain standards, but I simply couldn’t afford the fees the BAR and NGRS were charging.”

This was the catalyst for forming Move Assured. John was keen to establish a membership organisation that small operators could afford, that would maintain high standards and would not oblige them to stay if they wanted to leave.  John’s wife Leslie, daughter Holly and friend Phil Cundale joined John in his venture and now work with him to run and promote the organisation.

Potential Move Assured members must have adequate Goods in Transit, Public Liability and Employer’s Liability insurance in place and are carefully vetted by John and his team before being accepted.

“We set the membership fee at £30+VAT per month, and people can leave any time they wish without any penalty,” said John.

Members are entitled to display the Move Assured logo on their vehicles and are provided with leaflets and folders to promote their business and demonstrate they are part of an established trade organisation.  Customers can also visit the Move Assured website to look for a mover in their area and view feedback from people who have moved with them.  There is also a Members’ Area containing useful information and tips and a Facebook page where members can talk instantly to one another and exchange work.  The organisation can also arrange porters to assist members with moves outside their area.

“We keep a careful eye on customer feedback to make sure people are happy with our members’ service.  If a member frequently received bad feedback we would bring it to their attention and if it persisted we could terminate their membership,” said John.

One thing that has surprised John is the amount of work that passes between member companies and the level of co-operation. “If a member quotes for a job that requires an additional vehicle, for example, he will often ask another local member to assist,” said John. “There is no reason of course why this couldn’t have happened before, but being a member of Move Assured gives people a sense of belonging, a sort of family relationship.”

There are no plans to grow Move Assured into a huge organisation, but John and the team are keen to recruit members in areas of the country that are not yet covered. “It is surprising, but we don’t have a member in Birmingham at the moment and there are other places such as the north of Scotland and southern Ireland where we are not represented.  We would be delighted to hear from companies in those areas,” said John.


Picture: John Sargant

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