The Removals Industry, What has changed, from then until now

Whilst it is true that the key to success and endurance is progression; and that like all industries the removals industry is moving with the times. Is all change for the better?

Whilst we can look at a lot of the positive changes that have happened in the removals industry we should also consider what we have left behind.


Now; Cardboard boxes vs Teachests

We have seen a massive increase in the use and availability of good quality cardboard boxes for use when moving home. Cardboard boxes present several notable improvements over their previous counterparts. Variety of sizes, this is a huge step forward for the industry, when it comes to packing, being able to provide a customer with a variety of different sizes boxes gives them much more options when properly packing their belongings. Especially when it comes to heavy goods such as books and records.

Traditionally one set size of Teachests was available. Made of wood with a gauged open top, these would be filled with, whatever a customer needed to make. And often this could include the entire chest being filled to the brim with books. Creating a heavy, difficult to lift chest that the team would be expected to carry individually.


Now; Sack Barrows and Furniture Dollys vs Brute Force and Endurance

Another massive step forward for the removals industry. Traditionally a removals team were expected to carry everything to and from the houses with their own bare hands, no matter the costs. Over a course of twenty years however, we are starting to see the same teams that were of this mentality are starting to suffer from strain injuries as well as acute injuries. Whilst it felt like the only option at the time, the toll it has taken on their bodies lasts a life time.

With this in mind, removals companies are now looking for ways to improve efficiency whilst reducing strain and thus the risk of injury. A sack barrow is capable of moving 3-4 small boxes of books on a single load, with no more strain or effort required by the user than lifting a single box. Additionally, furniture Dolly’s are being used to reduce the amount of time the removals team spending physically carrying furniture around a property; this can have a massive benefit long term as by reducing the time under stress to their bodies they will be in better physical condition in the future and giving them much more energy to use their strength when they really need it.


Now; Health and Safety vs Haste and Injury

As I touched on in the previous point, the current climate is aimed towards providing all employees a safe environment to work in, to reduce the chance of injury to them either now or in the future.

However in the past it was expected that a removal man was able to do anything physically required of him. Even if this meant a two man team was expected to lift a 500lbs upright piano from a stage with their bare hands unaided.


Now; Responsibility vs Recklessness

This point is not just aimed at the removals industry but at the whole HGV transport operations industry as a whole.

Whilst our job is to provide our customers with a fixed price estimate for their work, in the past many transport firms or individual organisations would find a way for this to be more rewarding to themselves no matter the risk. This found some individuals driving from Lands End to John O’Groates without stopping for rest. This put them in a reduce mental capacity and an increased transport risk.

The government quickly intervened to ensure that all drivers operating a HGV vehicle drive for no more that 4.5 hours without a qualified rest period, and that they work for no more that 12 hours in a 24 hour period to reduce their chance of mental fatigue.

In addition to this, a HGV transport operator, has to ensure that all its employees have a Certificate of Professional competence as a driver as well as one for themselves as an operator. As well as having a financial responsibility to the vehicles themselves to ensure they are always roadworthy, regularly services and inspected and they have sufficient finances available to deal with emergency repair work as needed.


Now we move onto what we have left behind with these changes


Then; Courtesy and Community vs Isolation

It is true that the industry has progressed and the world has changed, however, the world we now find ourselves in is a cold and isolated one. With previous generations being warm and welcoming to anyone providing them a service and the service man returning that warm hearted nature. We now live in a world where we expected the work to be carried out and no familiarity.


Then; Mutual respect vs Expectation

Whilst we used to find ourselves in situations where we could not always fulfil a customers whole removal, due to whatever limitations we may come across; we now live in a world where this is no longer understood. Instead of being listened to as a professional when delivering the news, we are now greeted by the expectation as a professional. If furniture is unable to fit into a property, we are expected as a professional to in effect “just do it”. We are there, it’s our field, we should just get it done, even if it’s not physically possible. Which in some irresponsible cases can lead to the property or furniture becoming damaged.