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India’s Servile Relocations – the massive risk that paid off

Jul 07, 2019
Servile Relocations’ Managing Director Mobin Shaikh had worked in the moving industry in Mumbai for ten years, first for Allied Pickfords and later for Buhariwalas Relocations - the oldest moving company in India. But he had always dreamt of running his own company and at the age of 32 decided it was time to take the plunge.

Servile Relocations

“I came from what in India would be regarded as a middle-class family, my father worked as an electrician, no one in the family had ever been in business and I was determined to break the mould,” said Mobin.

Mobin ShaikhHaving an ambition is one thing, having the money to make it a reality is another, but Mobin had a plan. “I told my wife Hameeda I wanted to start a business of our own and sell our house to raise the capital we needed. It was a massive risk, but I thought if I didn’t take it now I never would. Hameeda agreed and in July 2009 we started our fledgling moving business in Mumbai, beginning with just one member of staff, Mrs Nandini, who is still with us and manages our traffic to and from the US and Canada. Hameeda is a co-director and looks after our customers in the Far and Middle East.”

Today the business employs 52 staff and has branches in Pune, Bangalore, Delhi and Chennai and has expanded its service way beyond domestic household removals.

Alongside the removals business Servile has developed a transport service specialising in packing and transporting products, mainly for small engineering companies. It has also built up a healthy trade, transporting products to and from exhibitions across India.

 “We do a lot of work for the corporate sector including full relocation services for assignees moving to India,” said Mobin. We can help find suitable accommodation, schools for the children, arrange cross-culture training, visa applications and personalised orientation services to help people settle into their new environment.”

Seven years ago, Servile joined PAIMA (Pan American International Movers Association). “One of my oldest friends in the industry suggested I joined PAIMA during one of the IAM conferences (International Association of Movers), which are always held in the same city,” said Mobin. “It feels like being part of a big family and it’s good for business too - I’m very pleased to be a part of it.”

Mobin believes that it is important to share the company’s success with his employees. “Your people can be your biggest asset or your greatest liability, so it’s important to look after them and share your success. We regularly give bonuses to our staff to reward them for their hard work and dedication. I believe that’s the right thing to do,” said Mobin.

This year Servile will open a new purpose-built warehouse and offices in Mumbai, an impressive achievement for such a young company.

So why the name Servile?  “Servile has two meanings,” explained Mobin, “an eagerness to please, and slavery. We are eager to please and we were slaves to the British for a long time.  Now we’re slaves to the government, so I thought it was appropriate,” said Mobin, with a smile.

Photos: Mobin Shaikh, Members of the Servile Relocations team.

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