When Mark Nash first entered the moving business in his twenties, the last thing he expected was to fall in love with the industry. Over thirty years later, and the Founder and CEO of UPakWeShip has thousands of moves under his belt. His motivation? ‘Coffee, and my wife… not in that order,’ he laughs.
But how did UPakWeShip come to be the multi-million dollar business that it is today? And why does he think customers keep coming back to use this family-owned, self-packing mover? Our Q&A with Mark discusses the UPakWeShip process, what makes it different, and why it’s so successful.
“The idea simply started as a way to offer the public a cheaper way to move overseas if they wanted to pack themselves – a little like a budget airline but for people moving. Sort of a ‘Freddy Laker’ of the moving business if anyone else can remember that far back! The concept seemed to work, and customers loved it, so we started to develop the business further, and came up with our U Crates, which offer door to door moving.
“So much has changed since the initial startup. The obvious is that we’ve grown into a multimillion business with overseas offices, but I think the biggest change over the last 15 years is the technology.
“We started with a phone, a fax, a PC, and cardboard files. Now, we are paperless and cloud-based and have an amazing custom-built database that connects with our customers to make the whole process easier! If only it could make the tea! “We also now have our automatic online pricing system, which is a real game-changer as it allows everyone to see all the different moving options and the prices 24/7. It allows us to keep our overheads down as there’s no longer the need to have staff emailing out direct quotes. Instead, our staff can concentrate more on the moving experience for customers, answering questions, and guiding them through the process.”
“Wow, so many lessons! To name a few: Nothing ever goes exactly to plan, nobody will do as good a job as you and your team, never burn bridges, learn to delegate, don’t ever presume, and as a Brit, it’s always worth thinking things out over a cuppa! “I’ve also learned that if at first, you don’t succeed, it’s important to look at your business from the outside in, looking at things from a perspective customers’ point of view will always help with problem solving.”
“The main one is that we allow you to pack your own things. Obviously, this saves you the money on using movers, but it also means nobody needs to come into your residence and touch all of your belongings – pretty invaluable at the moment!
“We also charge lump sum all-inclusive prices – our prices are online for everyone to see, and we have the most brilliant, knowledgeable, personable, team you could ever have to hold your hand through the process! We also have our own offices and personnel in the USA, Europe, and the UK so you get the great UPakWeShip customer service door to door.”
UPakWeShip is very popular right now during Covid-19 because we do not need to send anyone into your house to collect your things. We can maintain social distancing with our driveway or curbside collection and delivery services.
“Coffee, and my wife! Not in that order though, of course! I also have a lot of employees and family that rely on me for a paycheck. In all honesty, I just enjoy this business… I’m always thinking about how we can do things better for our customers, how to make the international move a little less stressful, more affordable, and just plain easier!”
“There are two sides to this. It’s great to be able to provide for family members and help them progress and do well. I obviously trust them a great deal and rely on them to get on with things without being micro-managed. The relationship also means they’ll tell me things straight as they are and not beat around the bush. My only negative is that it’s sometimes hard being the boss during, for example, a personnel issue, or when I have to leave work behind and be a Dad/husband/uncle/ brother at the end of the day.”
“Go on a vacation and have a look at the area before you settle down long-term. I’d also advise you to rent and not buy, and make sure you join Facebook groups and research the area properly.
“We have a lot of advice and guidance on our blog about the moving process, everything we write on there, from the guides to tips and tricks about the moving process, come from our first-hand experience so I’d definitely recommend checking it out for more advice.”
Have a good clear out and don’t ship things you don’t need!
“I loved Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. There was sun, sea, sand and pina coladas…! Just kidding, but I did have a great experience there. I learned a lot and met some great friends.
“To be honest, any destination is only as good as what you make of it. Make sure you become a part of the community, join local expat groups, and make friends! It’s also important to visit local bars and restaurants and try the local food and drink, just make sure you discover all of the different places on offer! When we lived in The Netherlands, we made the most of its location by spending long-weekends in neighboring countries – that was great! I’d also recommend learning a little of the language, although we failed big time with Dutch, I must confess!”
“I have to say, Charleston SC where I currently live is the best city in the USA. It has so much charm, the people are friendly, we have great beaches -and dolphins! – and the weather is wonderful if you can get over the hurricanes! I also think we have amazing independently owned restaurants serving great food.
“Having said all that, I also love San Diego for the weather, Seattle for the views and the market, New Orleans for music and food, Nashville for my name and the music and Washington DC for the museums, so I promise I’m not too biased!”
“Always! We are planning our next venture right now, which might well put us on the move again to start up a new office, but that’s still in the hush-hush stage right now!
“We are also looking into the possibility of an Australian/New Zealand liaison office sometime in the future. We use a great agent there at the moment but strongly believe having our own people at the destination, liaising with our customers and making sure everything goes well with customs clearance, and delivery enables us to maintain our high customer service standards and keeps us getting personal recommendations and customers coming back again for their next move.”
“I love reading the personal reviews from people, saying what a great job the team did. That just makes it all worthwhile.
“The other aspect is the personal stories behind some of the moves, for example, a few years back we moved a lady in her 80’s from Virginia to England. She told us she was moving there to be with her fiancée and was planning to get married for the first time!
You just never know what the next phone call or email will bring. Rod Stewart might have said every picture tells a story but every move has one as well.”