I have at last come across an entrepreneur who knows how to turn the internet to his commercial advantage. His name is Gary Jennings and he is a man and a van. No, Gary isn't some weird human-automotive hybrid, but one of a plethora of highly efficient, one-person businesses who set out to undercut removal companies. You know the kind of deal from a million cards in newsagents windows: "any load,anytime,any distance,cheapest rates." As a serial house and office mover, I have been a great fan of the local man-and-van since my last experience with an expensive removal firm, which culminated in our beloved, outsize £3,500 mattress (admittedly about as easy to manoeuvre as a dead sumo wrestler) being dragged on its unprotected edge, along a filthy London pavement, by a squad of fag-smoking, ear ringed ne'er-do-wells all called Lee. By contrast, man-and-vans tend to be speedy, efficient, polite, honest, uncomplaining, respectful of your property, and charge about a fifth of the rates extorted by the big movers. No man-and-van exemplifies the genre better than Gary, who is based in South London. I first used him a year ago to move my office, and was sufficiently impressed by his brand new Luton van and speed and competence to hire him again when we moved house. He instantly remembered me and the 2 hour job he done 18 months earlier, quoted a ludicrously decent price over the phone, and even when he arrived and realised there were four vanloads involved, refrained from doing that sharp intake of breath, tooth-sucky thing they all do, rolled up his sleeves and got on with it. Gary was so skilled and conscientious that it was all charmingly reminiscent of some bygone age. It was only when I saw his van that I was sharply reminded that we are actually living in the future that we used to talk about. Last year the Luton van was white and unmarked; now it had painted in huge letters on its side: www.vanandman.com. "I put the website up a few months ago," Gary said. "Had a few hundred hits already." Had anyone booked him through the website, I wondered? "Quite a few, one chap emailed from Geneva, but he only wanted to move four boxes, so I told him it wouldn't be economical to have me come all the way from London. I suppose that's globalisation for you. "Thing is," Gary went on, pausing for breath, and, OK, a brief tooth-sucky thing as he saw the sheer scale of our mattress, "its not really a web business. At first I wasn't really expecting anyone to book on the internet. I just reckoned that having a .com on the side of the van made it look more respectable and reliable. I found the domain hadn't been taken so I got in there quick. And I deliberately went for a .com rather than .co.uk because, it looks a bit more the business. "Of course, what's happening now is people see the van all over the country, are sort of intrigued, take a look at the website when they get home and bookmark it. Its the best, cheapest form of advertising you could ever have." It immediately struck me how spot-on Gary had got the whole thing, right down to the semiotics of .com opposed to .co.uk. For a business, the .co.uk suffix speaks subliminally of provinciality and small-mindedness. Arthur Daly or Del Boy Trotter would unquestionably now be .co.uk. The more ambitious .com signifies "big time operator." When you get around to looking at Gary's website, there is not a lot to it. A nicely done few pages with pictures of the van, phone numbers, and that's it. But Gary the man has succeeded where nine out of ten of the young boobies of e-commerce just don't get it. By all means exploit the chic and the modernity of the internet age by using its outward signs. But when it comes to making a living do rely on the old media, even a painted blurb on the side of a van. Check out our Youtube videoAdd our Linkedin profilePlease folllow us on TwitterCheck out our man and van Google Plus page Please follow us on Facebook
For a precise Man and Van costing fill in our online quotation form How to book our a man and van and what we need to know to make your move go smoothly Just a few Testimonials from a few of our happy Man and Van customers you may know These pictures are actually of our man and van at work Email Man and Van if you have any questions regarding your move or any other queries you may have The UK's Original Online Man and Van

Jonathan Margoils's article about The UK's Original Online Man and Van service published in The Sunday Times

The Sunday Times Published and article about our Man and Van The Original Man and Van were in The Sunday Times

The Sunday Times printed this article about us in 1999 about our early years written by esteemed Journalist Jonathan Margolis, one of Britain's most sought after freelance feature writers, Jonathan writes regularly for The Guardian, the Financial Times Magazine, The Mail on Sunday, Time Out Magazine and the Daily Mirror. He is also a successful author of biographies (John Cleese, Billy Connolly among others) and more recently, popular science books.

I have at last come across an entrepreneur who knows how to turn the internet to his commercial advantage. His name is Gary Jennings and he is a man and a van. No, Gary isn't some weird human-automotive hybrid, but one of a plethora of highly efficient, one-person businesses who set out to undercut removal companies. You know the kind of deal from a million cards in news agents windows: "any load,anytime,any distance,cheapest rates." As a serial house and office mover, I have been a great fan of the local man-and-van since my last experience with an expensive removal firm, which culminated in our beloved, outsize £3,500 mattress (admittedly about as easy to manoeuvre as a dead sumo wrestler) being dragged on its unprotected edge, along a filthy London pavement, by a squad of fag-smoking, ear ringed ne'er-do-wells all called Lee. By contrast, man-and-vans tend to be speedy, efficient, polite, honest, uncomplaining, respectful of your property, and charge about a fifth of the rates extorted by the big movers. No man-and-van exemplifies the genre better than Gary, who is based in South London. I first used him a year ago to move my office, and was sufficiently impressed by his brand new Luton van and speed and competence to hire him again when we moved house. He instantly remembered me and the 2 hour job he done 18 months earlier, quoted a ludicrously decent price over the phone, and even when he arrived and realised there were four van loads involved, refrained from doing that sharp intake of breath, tooth-sucky thing they all do, rolled up his sleeves and got on with it. Gary was so skilled and conscientious that it was all charmingly reminiscent of some bygone age. It was only when I saw his van that I was sharply reminded that we are actually living in the future that we used to talk about. Last year the Luton van was white and unmarked; now it had painted in huge letters on its side: www.vanandman.com. Had anyone booked him through the website, I wondered? "Quite a few, one chap emailed from Geneva, but he only wanted to move four boxes, so I told him it wouldn't be economical to have me come all the way from London. I suppose that's globalisation for you. "Thing is," Gary went on, pausing for breath, and, OK, a brief tooth-sucky thing as he saw the sheer scale of our mattress, "its not really a web business. At first I wasn't really expecting anyone to book on the internet. I just reckoned that having a .com on the side of the van made it look more respectable and reliable. I found the domain hadn't been taken so I got in there quick. And I deliberately went for a .com rather than .co.uk because, it looks a bit more the business. "Of course, what's happening now is people see the van all over the country, are sort of intrigued, take a look at the website when they get home and bookmark it. Its the best, cheapest form of advertising you could ever have." It immediately struck me how spot-on Gary had got the whole thing, right down to the semiotics of .com opposed to .co.uk. For a business, the .co.uk suffix speaks subliminally of provinciality and small-mindedness. When you get around to looking at Gary's website, there is not a lot to it. A nicely done few pages with pictures of the van, phone numbers, and that's it. But Gary the man has succeeded where nine out of ten of the young boobies of e-commerce just don't get it. By all means exploit the chic and the modernity of the internet age by using its outward signs. But when it comes to making a living do rely on the old media, even a painted blurb on the side of a van."

 

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