Rosie’s Removals | Moving on up

Rosie’s Removals | Moving on up

Petra Miller has had a somewhat restless career, so it’s fitting that her latest venture is helping people move.

Petra bought Masterton-based Rosie’s Removals in November last year, after dairy farming for 25 years, then running a lounge bar in Carterton, followed by five or so years of casual bar and cafe work.

She was looking for a new business when Rosie’s Removals, established and still partly staffed by a local family, caught her eye. “I was looking for something self-employed. I like having my finger on the button. The more you put in the more you get out.”

Rosie’s Removals has a great reputation, good staff – eight in Masterton and four at the Kapiti branch as well as on-call casual staff – and its books showed good growth, she says.

The company provides packing, moving, cleaning and storage services to clients moving furniture to or from anywhere in the country.

Petra has invested almost $300,000 in a new yard and converting an old shed into an office since November and is now looking to expand the company’s limited storage facilities.

“Storage is a huge part of the business; once it’s set up it’s very lucrative.”

Petra may also look at expanding the firm’s fleet; currently consisting of three large trucks, two smaller ones and two vans with trailers. The team average about 30 moves per week.

“We’ve been really busy but I’m just holding on to see if we’re still riding the wave from the boom in real estate or if this is just how the market is.”

Most moves are for domestic clients. Commercial clients have included district health boards, district councils, the Greater Wellington Regional Council, and Martinborough Library.

The removals market is competitive and contested by much larger players than Rosie’s Removals, but the firm’s boutique size has some advantages, Petra says. “We’re a small business; we know each customer and their wants. And we offer a beginning to end service – our boys are with you right throughout it all.”

Starting over with a new business is challenging, but Moore Stephens Markhams has made the venture much easier, Petra says.

Director Alistair McLennan and manager Cath Rolls provided invaluable advice to Petra throughout the due diligence process, a recurring role for the duo.

“They have been with me every step of the way, from the days on the dairy farm and then when I bought the lounge bar. They’re very available, approachable and supportive. Just recently I had a question about leave for one of the boys. I had an answer five minutes later and could carry on with my day.”

Alistair and Cath have helped Petra get up to speed with employment law changes and technological ones – setting her up with online accounting software Xero.

“They really have my best interests at heart, and they’ve been through thick and thin with me. For a while there I had a different set of books for them to look at every six months. I keep them on their toes.”

Petra advises those looking to buy a business to have a good hard look at the firm’s books for the past three or four years and seek advice on them.

When you’ve made the leap, you have to then put the hard yards in, she says. “It’s a lot of work; I fully immerse myself in it. When I bought Rosie’s Removals I went out on the truck with the boys and learnt the business from the bottom up. You can’t be sitting in an office delegating if you don’t know what’s going on in the field.”

Six months on, Petra has no regrets. “You meet so many different people from different walks of life. I love that no two days are the same.”