A little while ago I was interviewed by Brits In America about our International Moving Services.
Hello Mark, can you tell us a bit about your background and what brought you to America?
When I was 22 years old I was relocated to Saudi Arabia by the American moving company I was working for in England. As much as Jeddah was not exactly paradise I did enjoy the expat lifestyle, the weather, the friendship between other Brits, Aussies, Europeans and Americans all out there in the same boat. After 5 years I returned to England and within 18 months started EuroUSA International Moving with a friend on mine, Tony Tickner. However, all the while I was wishing to move back overseas again. I was hoping to open up a EuroUSA office in France or Belgium but business went in the American direction and I ended up traveling frequently across the pond to America. In 1994 when it made financial sense, I suggested we open up an office in the USA and obviously volunteered to run it! In 2000 we realized many shippers would like to save money and pack everything themselves so we developed a self pack budget moving company and opened a division called UPakWeShip. I tell people we are sort of like the Southwest / Ryan Air folks of the moving business.
How has UPakWeShip grown over the last 14 years?
We now have 88 terminals in the USA where you can drop off your shipment or we can collect from your door anywhere in The USA. In fact UPakWeShip now covers the whole of The USA, Canada and Europe ourselves and has a great team of friendly professionals to help you move. We offer a large menu of service options and rates and can ship through to you door overseas everything from a few suitcases to a whole house load and have various crates, pods and containers to fit your needs. A few years ago we introduced our U Cube, which is a 50 cubic foot container we send to your house to load. You can keep it for a few weeks if you like and you can load small pieces of furniture and other items in the container at your residence and we will ship it right through to your door anywhere worldwide for a lump sum price. Its like the post office “if it fits it ships” idea only a much bigger container. Its been very popular with people moving overseas as you know up front exactly how much its going to cost. Last year we introduced our Price Guarantee which I believe is the only one of its kind and offers all inclusive pricing with no extras which our customers love. We now have weekly sailings to UK and Europe, and bi- weekly to Australia, New Zealand and most other places around the world. The EUROGROUP which EuroUSA and UPakWeShip are all part of now move around 10,000 shipments per year around the world.
Have you moved any celebs or unusual items or had any strange requests?
Over the years, we have moved many shipments for famous film stars, rock stars and sports personalities. A couple of years ago we moved a family from England to Kentucky which involved packing their whole house and loading it into a plane that we had to charter so that the family and 2 dogs could travel with the shipment. I think the whole move was planned around the little dog who just had to fly over with its owner! The best job ever though was moving an 80 something year old British lady from Washington DC back to England as she was moving over to get married (for the first time!) We have also done various interesting jobs for many large corporations, the USA & UK Governments, United Nations, NASA, British Military, some high ranking diplomats, Arab Royal Family etc and as much as its interesting meeting and working with these people, personally I enjoy chatting and helping out Mr & Mrs. normal who are often more friendly, more generous and make the whole process more fun.
Is there anything you can’t move or have had to refuse to move?
As a company policy we refuse to ship guns or weapons of any sort. I personally suggest not shipping any liquids in case they leak. Certainly no hazardous items, drugs, or hard core pornography is allowed. Jewelry (as you cant get insurance) nothing live like plants, no food stuff, also for most countries don’t ship alcohol or cigarettes or you will be charged duty and taxes and it will end up cheaper to have just bought them locally. I’m not sure if refusing is the right word but we don’t except jobs that we know we cant handle well and don’t have experience with, such as large heavy lift commercial cargo or yacht’s that need special lashing and securing. We have done a lot of cars, boats, planes and helicopters though including one guy that took off on his helicopter from our terminal yard in England after we unloaded it.
Where in America are you based?
I am based in Charleston SC but we cover the whole country. Our HQ used to be in Baltimore but we moved the offices south about 8 years ago after we got fed up with the winters, traffic, house prices and with 3 of us going through divorces – it was time to move South!! Charleston is in my mind the best city in America, full of charm and character with a European influence and friendly locals.
Can you ever see yourself returning to the UK?
I must say I have nothing against my home Country, I enjoy going back on trips, I consider myself a Brit even though I have USA citizenship here, I just enjoy living in other places and think it’s a great experience and if I ever feel the need or something goes wrong I can always move back, but in the meantime I’m enjoying it here!
For More Information visit www.upakweship.com of follow Mark on Twitter @UPAKWESHIP
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