How did Zoom Mobile Skips come about?
I was working for another company called Trailer Trash, which had skips with similar features to Zoom Skips. They decided to downsize their Australian operation and made me an offer to buy their trailers. I was already very impressed with the features such as lockable lids and flexibility to place the skip very close to people’s rubbish, so the product appealed to me. Customer service is also very important to me, so this was a business opportunity that enabled me to interact with customers, which is still one my favourite parts of the day.
How did you come up with the name?
I was tossing around ideas with my son Michael and during the brainstorming, he could picture me zipping around. Following that idea, I suggested zooming instead of zipping, and Zoom Mobile Skips was born!
What are the biggest challenges in running a skip hire business?
Getting people to actually see the skips and therefore to see the difference between the two types of skips. Our skips come delivered with a car and are totally manoeuvrable. They don’t damage lawns or pavers, can go into tight spaces and close to people’s rubbish. The people that have seen my skips say that they like the versatility as well as the security of lockable lids. Once people have seen them and have a choice they say it is a no brainer!
What are some of your favourite moments?
Above all, meeting the customers. So many brilliant people. All different types and walks of life. Seeing the smiles on their faces when they are happy with what they have received and the service I have given them, means a hell of a lot to me. I believe that what you put in is what you get back. I put a lot in and I definitely receive a lot back.
Do you have a funny story from your time working with skips?
Plenty of them! A type of situation that I see many times is when younger people are helping their elderly parents to sort out and clear their rubbish. It’s a different generation now and the disposable nature of society is different to 40 or 50 years ago when there was a shortage of building materials. People used to save anything of value then, for use later, such as pieces of old pipe, screws, tools, everything. Now people tend to buy new, often just use what they need and discard the rest. So, there have been some funny moments when people haven’t seen exactly eye to eye on what is valuable! One of the funniest was when I arrived a few mornings in a row, to empty a skip that had been filled by a gentleman’s helpful children, only to discover it empty as he had been sneaking out at night and taking everything back inside!
Does this disposable society create an opportunity for your business?
Indirectly, as there does seem to be a lot of rubbish now. In particular there is so much packaging, from our day to day groceries, to large items of furniture and white goods. Combined with councils cutting costs and reducing hard refuse collections, skips such as mine will be needed more and more. The concern I have is that instead of hiring a skip, people might start just dumping rubbish if it costs too much to dispose and we certainly don’t want that.
What is the most unusual item you’ve seen thrown out in a skip?
Most of the time I don’t see what is in the skips. I do open the lids so the drivers know which bins are due to be emptied when they come back into the yard. At that point I have seen a few odd items over the time. I’ve seen complete bikes and exercise machines that look as though they are in perfect condition. I have found that often people are suddenly put in a rushed situation, such as selling their home faster than anticipated and they run out of time for a garage sale, for example. So good quality items can be thrown away.
What are your future plans for Zoom Mobile Skips?
I’d like to expand to have depots in the north and south. Currently I have to charge extra to deliver further away. I would love to be able to cater to more people and keep the costs the same for everyone. I will also be purchasing an extra tipper trailer. Recently I have added two of these so that people can dispose of heavy items such as concrete. Adding an extra one will also expand the options people have, as I’ll be able to offer an option for only green waste. This will be perfect for people cutting down and pruning trees in winter.
If you could do anything in the world, where money, time or location were not a factor, what would you do?
I would love to retire on 5-6 acres of land and live off the land and go completely off grid. It’s always been a dream of mine. I’m a very keen gardener. It would be all organic and pesticide free. I would have solar and wind energy generation with battery back up storage for electricity. I look forward to growing fruit, veggies, and having chickens and eggs. I imagine it could be in the foothills of Adelaide. Best of everything. Not far away from family and the city. My grandchildren could have fun running around, seeing and experiencing everything healthy which would be good for them too.
What is something you have always wanted to do, but haven’t done yet?
Going overseas with my wife. We’ve been married 35 years this month and we’ve always put our family and their needs first. We are planning a trip to Europe for 2020, including time to visit family in Italy, including some cousins whom I’ve never even met. Something we’ve always wanted to do. I might have a business partner by then so that I can take a bit more time off. But even later when semi retired I want to keep an active role in the business and continue the expansion. I really enjoy it.
Your business is wholly owned and operated locally. Is this something you are passionate about?
Yes, definitely. One thing I strive for is to see more local businesses be supported by our local community. I worry about our children leaving to work interstate or overseas. I always use local companies wherever possible in all areas of my business and personal life. My trailers are produced locally even though they cost a little more, but the quality is worth it. They are often remarked upon as being very sturdy and of excellent quality. I wish the state government would help fund more small local businesses. It’s something I’m passionate about. I love sticking with my roots in Adelaide!