It is often said that the furniture removal industry “is not for sissies (the faint-hearted)”.

Carla Rodrigues of Master Movers has spent close to two decades in this vibrant, dynamic industry.  As part of the celebrations for Women’s Month, the Road Freight Association shares her journey …

 

Name of company

 

Master Movers
Your Job Title

 

General dogs body 😊! Sales Manager/ External Sales Expert/ Claims Handler/ Multi-tasker/ Branch Leader and Managing Director from a legal paperwork perspective only. I do not micro-manage. We have systems in place: however, we are one of the smaller furniture removal companies, so we need to be kind of everywhere!
Number of years in this Position 16 years this year and counting!
What made you decide to enter the world of furniture removals?

 

I joined the industry for several reasons:

  • To change the perspective of removal companies being “grimy, scaly” operators.
  • To build an environment of safety and trust with our customers.
  • To create pleasant moving experiences. It does not have to be the pain that everyone associates with moving!
What were you doing before you entered this industry?

 

I started out as a receptionist at an estate agency and worked my way up through the business. I also used to sit show houses Sundays to get extra income. I worked hard from day one. I was very young and hungry for experience. I have a very strong work ethic which I got from my father, José ,who has always believed that hard work gets you there slowly, but surely. I am a “chip off the old block”!
What do you really enjoy about this industry?

 

The resilience of moving companies! We have all the odds stacked against us, yet we still go in there, bounce back and put our game face on every day and try to change the face of moving, and educate clients on the pros and cons of suck a risky business.
What are some of the challenges you have faced and how have you overcome these?

 

In our space I am fortunate, as I have always been given wings to fly, regardless of the mistakes I have made in the past. And boy- have I made many! I was allowed to pick up the pieces, fix things and move onto the next step or phase.

 

I take ownership – this is vital in the decision-making process.

 

My father José and many other mature people in my life have assisted me when I get down or feel like I cannot go on anymore. The Moving business is also not a ‘get rich quick’ scheme. It’s an ‘earn a living’ kind of a business. Even though the stress is huge, it also teaches you to be content with what you have. This is a very important lesson in life.

Who is/are your role-models? I have several:

  • José Rodrigues as mentioned above
  • Tertia Borgelt
  • Ian Davis, who did a lot of training at the one time for the RFA.
  • Wonza or Elliot who used to work for us as an old school packer. He used to refer to ‘BEFOREN TIME’, as in “back in the old days”.
  • Henry Mead and
  • Many others who are in the industry and who have retired from it. This industry was built on the legacy of the past which includes both men and women. It is important for us not to forget the history, whilst we spearhead moving into the next dimension.

 

What are some of your major achievements to date?

 

  • Growing from spending my first two months in the trucks with the teams and learning hands-on how to pack boxes and load and carry etc., to sales, which is my ‘first love’. Your lovely customers always make everything worth it!
  • Handling international moving, office, learning the ropes in all spheres of moving. This has made me well-rounded and adjusted.
  • Also I understand the entire business from the floor to the top level. You never get too big for your boots this way. It is very humbling: you never stop learning and it is important to embrace this spirit.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?

 

Remain logical and not emotional. I apply this in all I do. I do not hold grudges. I may explode when it’s needed! However, I move on and have a ‘solutions based’ mindset. Then step by step I get there. There are only so many hours in a day.
What is your favourite book and why? Winning by Jack Welch. This book assisted us to move from the approach of a small business to that of a medium enterprise. Sometimes you are so involved in the business that you cannot see it from the outside.

 

This book helped me in not only filling my cup which no one else can do but me: it also showed the human approach in business with your staff and employees/colleagues. This makes you a better manager and better leader. It all starts from the top. It’s a huge responsibility.

 

At times, even these days, I do sometimes think “This is not for me!” Then I re-focus and carry on. Once you accept your role, you are well on your way to getting things done the way they should be done, bearing in mind always that we are in a people business. Never forget to be human. No matter what the stress or pressure or deadline. This is not always easy to practise. But we keep trying. We never stop starting!

 

Any other information you would like to share?

 

Ladies have huge boots to fill when it comes to male- dominated industries. However, we are not expected to be Super Woman. Let’s not put that on ourselves. We are equals on many levels and where we are not, do not be threatened.

 

We cannot do it all – no one can. I believe this is a man’s success. He prioritises, delegates, handles things directly, not rudely or emotionally and then all falls in place. Nothing is personal. We women need to be less touchy on certain front – that is my belief. If someone down-plays you in a board meeting or patronises you, speak your mind. Make it known you are not in agreement and leave it at that. We cannot always have our way. It’s a consensus and compromise game.

 

Feel at ease with having said your say and you will be at peace and will have left it in that day. Carrying things over to another day is just added baggage. No one wants to be heavier than they already are 😊! None of us have time for this!