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Bringing the family business community together

Keep On Moving!

9th March 2020 Ed Hodge

Broughton Removals, the Edinburgh family firm, are blowing out the celebratory candles on their 50th anniversary this year – with their passion and dedication to the industry as strong as ever.

Having grown up with a simple love for drawing removal vans as a boy, it was in 1970 when Sonny Munro set up his dream business with two vehicles – both ‘old bangers’ – originally in the capital’s Broughton Street.

From such humble beginnings, he set out to give Edinburgh a removal company that offered the highest quality service at the best possible price. 

Five decades later, Broughton’s vision remains the same, with outstanding customer service from experienced, dedicated removal crews at the heart of their work. Indeed, as their recent rebrand highlights, taking you from A-B with TLC is the ‘Broughton Way’ across their full service for packing, removals and storage.

“The first van was bought for £80 and the second for £150,” recalls Sonny. “I was so proud of myself to have started but they were two old bangers!"

“When I was very young, 8 to 10-years-old, I used to draw removal vans. I loved doing that. Very few people actually get to do the profession they want to do so it was a dream for me. It’s fantastic to still be going 50 years on and I love it to this day."

“You could have a brand new Jaguar or Mercedes and I’ll look at it and say ‘very nice’ but if I see a lovely removal van I’ll go ‘look at that one!’” 

Sonny father’s was a second-hand furniture dealer so he was well used to seeing items moved around back and forth. Pickford’s were the premier player in town in the 1970s, with around 40 vehicles, but Sonny saw an opportunity.

The Broughton owner adds: “I had a second-hand shop at the time, down in Rodney Street, and I felt physically strong. I was only doing some small removals at the time, but I checked the takings in the shop one day and we had more from removals than we did from the shop. It took a year or two to get going, but I felt there was a market as more people were looking for help to move rather than doing it themselves, which had traditionally been the case.” 

The business grew steadily, with repeat business helping bolster the books. Indeed, the longevity of Broughton Removals stems from customer satisfaction and a professional, friendly and efficient service.

Since more than 80% of their trade comes from repeat business or by recommendation, the ‘Broughton Way’ has clearly succeeded. Still family run, with Sonny’s daughter Jo and son Kris now running day-to-day operations, some of Broughton’s team members have been with them for more than 20 years. It truly has been a family effort from the outset with Sonny’s wife, Joan, initially manning the phones from home whilst sons Colin and Simon also made a good contribution to building the business and the brand.   

Now they are reflecting on their journey since 1970, complete with a fresh take on their first ever logo, thanks to partnering with Edinburgh agency Brand Oath on their overall rebrand.

“Our customers tell us that our dedication, expertise and TLC shines through,” notes Jo, the company director, who even had a van named ‘Golden Eagle’ in her honour from her loving father. “Whilst no one company is dominant in Edinburgh now, there are more competitors like smaller man-with-vans, so we have to differentiate ourselves as a quality removal and storage company.”

The company’s move into social media within the last year has helped in that regard, appropriately using the #MovingWithTheTimes hashtag to highlight their services.

Now based at a purpose-built facility in Leith at Carron Place, Jo and Kris oversee a team of 18 staff and 14 different sized vans. The ‘boss’ Sonny is on hand too, always keen to still be involved – even at the age of 76.

“Very few people want to do removals, it’s a hard business to do it every day, moving from A to B,” admits Sonny. “To be the boss of a removal company, you also can’t be a desperate worrier. If you have four or five jobs on at the same time, you have to trust your men."

“We’ve got a really good, friendly team, handling the physical side – the men and the vans – as well as the estimates and everything required for the customer in the office." 

“I like the awkward customer too! I enjoy calming them down, getting on with the job and leaving them happy. We always make a 100% effort to ensure jobs are done properly.”

Broughton continue to complete successful moves on a daily basis across Edinburgh, as well as having the infrastructure to take on jobs in England and beyond. They work closely with charity partners to assist with moves, most recently with Maggie’s in the capital, while famous faces who have used their services include best-selling author Ian Rankin.

“Moving home is as individual as you and your family are,” says Jo, steeped in the removals business given her upbringing. “Our services are tailor-made for you. Whether you’ve been in your home for a year or your whole life, our website outlines our ’10 commandments’ to getting your move right, along with what you can expect if you do things the ‘Broughton Way.’"

“As professional movers and members of the British Association of Removers, we offer you peace of mind knowing that your packing and moving service is being carried out to the highest possible standards.”

The storage side of the business has also opened up a new market for Broughton Removals, offering customers exactly the same quality when storing cherished items as when moving them.

“Our Edinburgh depot is a secure, state-of-the-art, purpose-built storage facility,” continues Jo. “This is home to around 800 containers, protected by the latest security systems. If you have a wait between moving from your old home to your new one, or if you’re not moving and just need storage, we can give you peace of mind by storing your belongings safely and securely." 

“When coming into store, your goods are inventoried and wrapped. After that they are carefully loaded into purpose-built storage containers, where they will remain until delivery, whether this is for just a few days or for several years.”

So, how will Sonny and the team celebrate the big 50? Raise a glass and give Jo and Kris a rest?

Sonny has the last word: “Aye, I’m away on a world cruise for a few months to enjoy myself. Think I have earned it!”

For more information, visit www.broughtonremovals.com

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