Early rush for removals firms

A BACKLOG of work meant many removal companies were busy on their first day back after four weeks of lockdown.

Steve Hammer, the manager at White and Company in Guernsey, said it was prepared to overcome the challenges of the rules set by the States to start work again as the island eases out of lockdown. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 29267150)
Steve Hammer, the manager at White and Company in Guernsey, said it was prepared to overcome the challenges of the rules set by the States to start work again as the island eases out of lockdown. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 29267150)

The easing of restrictions has allowed firms to have five staff work in their non-public facing offices and up to two out on removal jobs.

With six staff working in teams of two, Relocations Worldwide has been dealing with both a surge in people needing help with their move and many more already booked in and waiting to use their services.

Owner Ant Austen said despite restrictions being lifted only yesterday, there were still people looking to take advantage.

‘It’s really busy at the moment because we have a backlog that we’ll slowly be getting through,’ he said. ‘Moves have just piled up, this week and next week we’re completely jam-packed.’

He said they could help people moving to and from the UK in stage one of the island’s exit from lockdown as they have a UK partner to provide the service without any Guernsey staff going off-island.

It does, however, depend on the homeowner in Guernsey not being in the house when they collect or drop off their items, which in turn means that they can also not be in self-isolation.

This is the same for all moves.

‘There’s going to be a lot of moves like last time when we came out of lockdown,’ added Mr Austen.

‘Most other people won’t be moving for about a month anyway so we can start booking them in, but nobody last minute.

‘There’s still people moving to the island too, I’ve spoken to estate agents and mortgage providers and they have said enquiries are really high.’

Some customers have been waiting for their household goods for over a month in an empty house.

‘One elderly woman has been waiting for four weeks from 25 January for her stuff to be delivered,’ said R & R Removals’ Roy Lythgoe, who said he is extremely busy.

‘She’s had nothing and she was over the moon to have us come first thing this morning, she can now sleep in her bed instead of on the floor.’

White & Company manager Steve Hammer said they were ready to overcome challenges. ‘I think the States changed the parameters a little bit at the weekend so that only two staff are allowed in a house to do removals,’ he said. ‘It’s made things challenging when usually we would have more people on a job, on top of the fact that the people who are moving can’t be there, so they can’t direct us like normal.

‘We’re working under restrictions, but we’re definitely pleased to be back and just hope stage one doesn’t last too long and we move forwards.’

With 10 removal staff working in pairs and four office staff, Mr Hammer added that they were extremely busy with both new and rearranged jobs.

AJ Removals’ Jay Wakeham said they had room to take on work.

‘I have three guys and unfortunately we haven’t got enough on at the moment,’ he said. ‘A lot of people that did have bookings said they ended up doing the work themselves, so that put a spanner in the works, meaning I now have to refund them the cost of the job. It’s difficult, but I hope to see things pick up so that I can return to picking things up.’

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