The April 2018 Which? Trusted trader of the month award belongs to Van Man Removals and Storage Ltd. The removals business has been going for ten years, after Mike Bradley started it as a side-project when he was working in recruitment. Mike had been a plumber before that and had a van, which formed the start of his removals business.

‘I put an ad online for a removal service and got a booking straight away, for a job that afternoon,’ Mike told us. ‘I worked at the removals business every weekend and evening after that, until it grew to the point where I could quit the day-job and work at this full-time.’

Van Man Removals and Storage Ltd has grown steadily and now has five full-time staff plus six lorries and vans of different sizes available to transport goods all around the UK. They opened a storage facility 18 months ago, to complement the removals business.

Could your business be the next Which? Trusted Trader of the month? Find out more about the criteria to win the award. Read on for more about this month’s winner.

Becoming a Which? Trusted trader

Mike and the team decided to apply to join Which? Trusted Traders around a year ago to set the business apart from ‘fly-by-night man and van companies,’ as Mike puts it. He felt that Which? Trusted Traders was the obvious choice for the business.

‘It’s a brilliant brand, everyone knows it,’ Mike said. ‘Which? is recognised nationally and trusted – plus it’s a genuine challenge to join. Some online schemes will take anyone who applies – not Which? Trusted Traders.’

Mike found the assessment process ‘constructive’, and was pleased that Van Man Removals and Storage Ltd had most of the necessary elements in place already. ‘It took us to another level,’ Mike told us, ‘There was some really good information and insight into how to make things better.’

Being part of the scheme means a lot to their customers, ‘It’s reassuring to them to know that we can be trusted,’ Mike explained. ‘It’s really important to us that our customers can trust us – and even if something went wrong, they could come to us and we’d rectify it.’

Trader of the month

Mike told us that he gets a real sense of achievement at the end of the day when customers are in their new home. ‘It’s a business with a quick turnaround – you can do a lot of moves every day,’ he said, ‘You make sure everyone is happy. Customer service is more important to us than profits. A review is more important than a profit and our return customers are really important to us.’

The judging panel were impressed by the large number of positive reviews left by Van Man Removals and Storage Ltd’s customers, which show the fantastic service the team offer. ‘I need to thank my team for this award,’ Mike said, ‘They’re so hard-working, and their customer-focus is central to everything we do.’

While the customers are happy, it’s not always easy to get people to take the time to leave reviews, but Mike has a particular incentive in place to encourage them that impressed the judges. The business donates £5 for every review left on the site to Snug, a local charity that supports families of premature or unwell babies in the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital neonatal unit.

Snug helped Mike and his wife personally after the birth of his daughter, Roselyn a couple of years ago, so Mike tries to do as much as possible to help them out. ‘I hate leaving reviews,’ Mike explained, ‘I always mean to but I don’t get round to it. The charity donation is designed as an encouragement to remind people.’

It clearly works as the business has well over 100 reviews on the Which? Trusted Traders site already. The business has just handed over a £200 donation for the last 40 reviews received, which is great news for Snug and for Van Man Removals and Storage Ltd too.

Many congratulations to our April 2018 Which? Trusted trader of the month.

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