Amy: In today’s episode, we have with us the founder of “Man and a Van”. Hi Siu-meng, can you tell us more about your business, and when you first started it?
Siu-meng: Hi Amy, thanks for having me on the show. I started “Man and a Van” in twenty twelve, and we have expanded from one to three cities in the last two years. We now have clients in Hong Kong, Macau and Shenzhen.
Amy: That’s brilliant! So Siu-meng, when did you come up with this unique business idea?
Siu-meng: I worked in retail when I left school at eighteen, and that was twelve years ago. I like meeting new people and listening to their stories. Also, I wanted to work for myself, and liked the idea of having my own business. So I started speaking to other entrepreneurs of my age and looked around for interesting ideas.
Amy: Did it take you a long time to figure it out?
Siu-meng: No actually. The idea for “Man and a Van” came to me pretty quickly once I thought about what I truly like and am good at doing. I have always enjoyed driving. I’ve also been told I’m an excellent driver and never lose my cool even when caught in a traffic jam. So I decided to develop my business around this idea.
Amy: And what service does “Man and a Van” offer?
Siu-meng: We basically move things from point A to B. If you are moving from one flat to another, we will move your stuff for you. If your company wants parcels or boxes to be moved from one place to another, we will move them. I started out as a man with a van, and today we have a team of 12 movers and 10 vans.
Amy: Cool! And what’s the capacity of each van?
Siu-meng: We have two types of vans, and the smaller one can hold ten cubic metres of stuff. Most of our clients are home movers. We usually use the smaller vans for this purpose.
Amy: You mentioned earlier that you like listening to people’s stories. Have you met anyone interesting lately?
Siu-meng: Definitely! The other day, I picked up some furniture an old lady bought in Thailand. It was shipped here in a container. I collected it from the container depot and transported it to her home. She needed help to unpack the furniture, and I ended up spending the entire afternoon chatting with her. She used to live in Thailand, and has travelled around the world. Her husband was a highly sought-after carpenter who made furniture for many celebrities.
Amy: Wow! I would like to meet her. You must really love your job!
Siu-meng: It’s not all fun though. There was a lot of waiting around at the container depot for the paperwork to be filled in. It also took some time for the cargo to clear customs.
Amy: That must have taken you all morning.
Siu-meng: Yes, it did. I had three other jobs booked in for the afternoon, and my partner had to take over them instead. One customer was moving flat and he had booked a big removal firm to see to his furniture. He wanted “Man and a Van” to take care of his clothes, personal and fragile items. The second job in the afternoon was moving boxes of books. The customer owns a small book shop and cafe and was moving premises. I had moved some of the stuff last week and yesterday my partner moved the rest.
Amy: And the last job?
Siu-meng: I moved some sports equipment that a school had sold to a gym nearby.
Amy: That’s a lot of hard work. Siu-meng, I wish you continued success with your business. And with that, we’ve come to the end of today’s episode. Thanks, Siu-meng!
Siu-meng: Thank you very much, Amy. It’s been a pleasure talking to you.