McCarthy’s Removals and Storage eyes further growth

Mike McCarthy of McCarthy's Removals and Storage
Mike McCarthy of McCarthy's Removals and Storage
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A family-owned removals business is marking 45 years’ trading after continuing to grow through the economic crisis.

McCarthy’s Removals and Storage survived the housing crash and avoided redundancies to grow to a £3.5m turnover in 2014.

The company has grown from a traditional home-moving business to include office removals, business services such as secure document storage and shredding, and self-storage for personal and business use.

In addition to its Leeds and Harrogate storage sites, which contain more than 450 and 300 units respectively, the company has added a third self-storage facility in Wakefield.

Managing director Mike McCarthy told The Yorkshire Post that diversifying the business was key to growing through the recent recessions.

He said: “Historically we were really connected to the house moving market.

“We definitely saw a downturn in business, but luckily it coincided with our document business expanding and our shredding business growing off the back of that.

“We concentrated more on business services, given the value for money there.

“While we weren’t getting as many house moves, we started getting more office moves.”

The firm was originally founded in 1970 by Mr McCarthy’s parents. After working in the business part-time while at school and university, Mr McCarthy went on to a career with next, working internationally.

In 2000, he returned to the business, which had begun offering self-storage.

He said: “Back then we probably turned over around £500,000 to £600,000 a year.

“We diversified, doing a lot more office and commercial moving.

“Off the back of that, we started doing a document storage business with collections and retrievals for professional services.”

Three years ago, then company began receiving requests for secure shredding services.

As a result, it launched McCarthy’s Safe Shred, which holds contracts with architects, accountants, solicitors and public bodies, including Leeds City Council.

A significant part of the business’ growth in recent years has come from self-storage.

Five years ago, it opened Harrogate as its second site in addition to Leeds. Having a physical presence in the town has also boosted the firm’s home-moving custom in the area, Mr McCarthy said.

Its third storage base, Wakefield, is a 42,000 sq ft site which currently offers 180 units. It is expected to expand to more than 400 in its second phase.

McCarthy’s Storage customers are a mix of individuals and businesses who store stock or trade from the unit, he said.

“We find that works very well for seasonal businesses who can upscale and downscale the size of their unit as their business requirements demand,” he said.

As a result of its diversification, the company retrained its 46 office and operational staff to work on other services.

While the business was previously mainly comprised of operational staff, the increase in businesses services has led to more office staff.

“Our mix and culture has changed and developed over the years,” he said.

As well as diversification, the business has built its strength on its reputation, Mr McCarthy said.

“I think that comes from a lot of hard work,” he said. “We’re not the sort of directors who are working 11am to 3pm. I think that brings respect from our employees - we don’t ask them to do anything we wouldn’t do ourselves.

“Above all, it’s about giving a good service, a clear and transparent offering and good value for money.”

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Getting the right mix of people and expertise is crucial in family-owned business, Mr McCarthy said.

He said: “Two of my key people are non-family members. We’re quite a healthy mix of family and non-family.

“I think it’s really important. I think that works well, that people can get right up there and meet career aspirations in a smaller business.”