I didn’t ask my bank manager for a loan. At that stage I didn’t even have an accountant. Even worse, I had never moved a piece of furniture in my life.
It just happened.
After growing up in Holland, I studied Hotel and business Management in Lausanne, Switzerland for four years.
I did a year of training in Johannesburg, South Africa. It instilled the travel bug in me. I continued with a Hotel Management and Business Degree at the Hilton Hotel Park Lane, London.
Australia was next on the list – seeming such a remote, strange and dangerous place. It was.
Soon I found myself married with a house and children. I had to make money to survive.
I responded to an ad in the local newspaper for a delivery run, picking up mail from the post office every morning and taking mail back in the afternoon.
That company merged and gave me more and more work. Eventually I needed a large van. That job spanned over a decade.
One day my wife purchased a bookcase from a local pine shop and I picked it up in the van. I then did a few extra deliveries for the shop owner to help him out.
He kept ringing with more deliveries so I bought a second-hand truck. When it was a bigger job he would say “Richard I need the truck and two men”. Pete, the next-door neighbour’s teenage son would help.
That was the start of Two Men and a Truck.
One day Pete and I turned up at a “small move” in Bondi. I still remember – it was huge.
Fortunately there was a truck parked down the road. After a long discussion the driver helped me out. He retired as my colleague 15 years later.
The business evolved from my lounge room to a caravan in the backyard. Eventually when the council complained about the trucks in the laneway, we upgraded to a little shop in Cammeray. Four years later we moved to our current premises in St Leonards.
Two Men and a Truck is now national with trucks in Perth, Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney, Gold Coast and Brisbane.
I have taken the business to where it is now, but that doesn’t mean I was going to take it there.
My friends wonder why I still work. Because the alternatives are disastrous! Gardening and day-time telly?! No thanks!
Sure, I have changed some of my responsibilities since my age became greater than my IQ. I don’t drive trucks any more and it’s been a while since I lifted a piano over a balcony. But I still love going to work.
My two beautiful daughters have all of the admin under control and we have appointed a new CEO.
I must admit it was hard letting go and accepting that I was no longer in control. But we all know the importance of young blood driving the business in new directions.
I thrive on the adrenalin of dramas, decision-making and the day-to-day challenges of this unpredictable and spontaneous industry I call removology.
But it’s time for this old bloke to take some time to reflect and smell the roses. I’ve worked hard. I’ve raised a family and I’ve built a business.
I’m now the Brand Ambassador for Two Men And A Truck. As soon I know what that means, I’m going to give it everything I’ve got!