Case Study: Richard Healey Removals
26th June 2018
Circumstance very nearly spelled disaster for this second-generation Ayrshire family business. Georgina Berry explains why.
When Georgina Berry agreed to help her brother in the family business for a few weeks, she was about to embark on a career in finance. Twenty years later, the 43 year old is running Richard Healey Removals alongside her brother who joined the family business in 1994, the same day he left school.
Together they have been instrumental in expanding and diversifying the Ayrshire-based removal business that their father Richard Healey founded in 1965 with a single truck.
“For many years the business thrived, but on reflection we were probably under resourced” explained Georgina. “We became too focused on servicing our largest customer and a little complacent in neglecting other important parts of the business. At the height of the recession, we lost our biggest customer. Finding ourselves in such a circumstance, to have unwittingly put all our eggs all in one basket, was gut wrenching. We thought we were finished.
“We had to work hard and re-invent ourselves to ensure the survival of the business. We developed a new marketing strategy, and started paying closer attention to the monthly figures and forecasts. We also started networking again and entering awards. That was six years ago and the hard work has paid off I’m glad to say. We have expanded into new markets including document storage, shredding and the destruction of confidential waste. In 2015 we moved into 120,000 sq ft premises, which has given us capacity to grow. Last year we became an approved training centre for the British Association of Removers, which means we can offer Driver CPC training as well as a variety of accredited courses including manual handling for care home staff, hospitals, colleges, and so on which we do here in Beith at our dedicated onsite training rooms and conference facilities.
We have also sought external advice from Family Business Solutions Ltd who have been incredible. Decisions like succession planning, delegation, and decision-making are more emotionally driven when it’s a family business and in my experience it helps to get an external perspective especially at times of change, uncertainty or when one generation is moving on or taking over the reigns of the business.”
Richard Healey Removals now employ 34 staff including 4 apprentices. “There are still challenges” says Georgina. “Ayrshire is an area of high unemployment but removal work is hard work. It’s physically demanding and it’s difficult to attract the calibre of staff we need. The increase in minimal wages has also had an effect and contract work doesn’t have the same margins it used too.
It has been an eventful journey and there is still so much ahead of us, but we work well together as a family and at the end of the day I am enormously proud to say I that work for our family business.