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Exclusive Interview: Dave Sayce, Co-Founder of Compare My Move

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CompareMyMove.com is a free online platform where consumers can compare quotes from regional and national removals companies. The company, which has recently been shortlisted for a Cardiff Business Award, was launched in 2013 by Cardiff-based entrepreneurs Dave Sayce and Marc Benger, following a number of years working in the storage industry and running their own removals business.

  1. Tell us about your business?

Compare My Move offers a free online platform where consumers can compare quotes from regional and national removals companies. It is a market-leading website for home movers seeking full UK nationwide coverage, plus business relocations and international moves.

  1. Did you always plan to end up in business?

Marc and I have a diverse range of retail and customer service experience between us, and have both always had a desire to start a company of our own, but neither of us planned to end up in the removals industry. We met each other as colleagues while working at Safestore in Cardiff and realised that setting up our own removals company was a fairly low-risk way to start a business.

  1. What is your inspiration in business?

The experience of setting up and running a removals company gave us a strong work ethic to achieve more, and has enabled us to develop a really strong mentality and drive to achieve success with Compare My Move. I suppose another area of inspiration is gained from looking at what other comparison models are doing and finding ways to do it better. We are constantly developing and improving the business and it’s great to be able to work like that.

  1. Who do you admire?

When it comes to brand admiration, we would both agree that Compare The Market (CTM) really stands out. The brand has completely transformed the personal finance market, and our vision for Compare My Move has always been to revolutionise the removals industry in the same way. As consumers, we take price comparison for granted, but CTM have managed to take a simple concept of delivering a price comparison service and built one of the most successful and memorable brands in the UK, and we hope to emulate this with Compare My Move. Everyone recognises the meerkat campaign and makes an immediate link to the brand, yet meerkats have nothing whatsoever to do with price comparison. Compare The Market’s marketing strategy has helped to make price comparison creative, fun and accessible to all consumers.

  1. What would you be doing if you weren’t doing this?

It’s really difficult to say what we would be doing if we hadn’t set up Compare My Move, because there have been so many different elements that have led to it. Running a removals company, for example, was never what either of us intended to do, but having met as colleagues at Safestore we realised that we both really wanted to set up our own business. We managed to develop a number of really useful contacts within the industry, and discovered that a removals business was a low cost business to start up and get off the ground. While running the removals company, we soon realised that there was gap in the market for a removals comparison service with a strong website, brand and digital presence that could offer a hands-on approach to home movers and removal companies.

  1. Looking back at your career, are there things you would have done differently? 

We both happen to have very varied career backgrounds in diverse industries before we started working in removals. Marc and I have spent a number of years working in the retail industry and we’ve both learnt a lot about management and how to run a business.

  1. What are your plans for the next five years, and where do you see your challenges and opportunities?

Our long term plan is to expand into international markets and develop new revenue streams. We are growing our team at a steady pace, and we’ve already doubled our workforce with the recruitment of a digital marketing manager and a senior web developer. We plan to bring a number of areas of the business that we currently outsource in-house, and intend to recruit a further 12-15 employees within the next five years.

  1. What advice would you give to someone just starting out in business?

Our advice would be to do as much research as possible, and outsource where you can. Find the best agencies and companies to help get your business off the ground, but always try and learn from the experience so that you can build an understanding of the areas you don’t necessarily have the skills in. Remember, everything you do must be assessed against the return you get from it as a business.

  1. What do you think Wales’ strengths and weaknesses are as a place to do business?

I have lived in Cardiff for 10 years now, and in terms of running a business, I’ve seen quite a lot of change. Cardiff is an up and coming city, and it is set to increase in population faster than any other city in the UK over the next 10 years, which I’m sure will bring more business opportunities and attract more skilled workers to the area. It is a good sized city for smaller businesses to develop in, as well as having the capital city status and good links to London and the financial centers of the UK. For us, Cardiff has been a great place to start a small business.

  1. What do you wish you had known when you started out in business?

Everything we’ve experienced from setting up our initial removals company and launching Compare My Move has been a valuable learning curve for us. We’ve had a few bad experiences with outsourcing, but we’ve also had a lot of good ones too. One thing we’ve learnt is that it’s always worth speaking to other similar companies, and wherever possible seek recommendations from successful businesses you trust.

  1. What was your first job and what did it teach you?

Following two short stints at university and some time spent travelling the world, I started working in retail. I quickly realised that if I wanted to develop my skillset, I would have to take a few different directions with my career in order to get as much experience as possible. I suppose in retrospect it taught me that you don’t always have to know what you want to do with your life, and that the drive to achieve success can come at any time.

  1. Do you have an interview question you always like to ask potential staff and why?

We always like to ask candidates how their current/most recent work colleagues or boss would best describe them. Also if they expect to keep in touch with them. It tends to give us a good indication if they will integrate well and be a popular member of the team.

  1. What do you think the most important qualities for success in business are?

Always work with the best people. Whether it is ensuring you recruit the best quality people or outsource and work with the best companies, it is all about adding and increasing the value of your own company and brand. I would always pay more to have the best people part of the team as the rewards will be so much more in the long term. Also particularly in the early years of a business focus on the key areas that will drive the growth of the business and try not be distracted by spreading yourself too thin. Build a solid foundation first and then look to develop new ideas and concepts when you are ready.

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