Zachary Rook, 27, is from Brisbane, Australia. He started his moving and storage business, Your Local Movers, in 2007. Your Local Movers is a full service commercial and residential moving company. whose clients are generally looking for a solution to multiple problems.
Starting the Business
Q: Where did the idea for your business come from? Where were you in your life and career?
A: Seven years ago, when I was 19, I was travelling around New Zealand and looking to make a few extra dollars, so I started working for a removalist company. Four hours later I decided I could do a better job, bought a $3,500 truck and now I employ 50 staff in locations across Australia.
Q: What was the biggest challenge you faced when starting out?
A: To be honest, I was at a point where I wanted to put my energy into something and starting was easy. Growing past our first couple of trucks was where I had to get serious. As a 20-year-old no one would lend me money to expand so self funding was probably our biggest risk and challenge.
Q: What is the one thing you know now that you wish you knew when you started the business?
A: Better leadership skills. And more discipline. Nearly everything in a business my size is governed by the leader, so it is fairly obvious when I’m doing some thing that isn’t up to standard. Having a good team that have open communication has been the most effective way around this. So I guess it’s two things: a great team and consistent leadership.
Q: What would you consider your first big success in the business?
A: Getting a contract with the ATO to move their phone systems Australia wide was a great milestone.
Q: What is the toughest thing about getting to the top / staying on top in your industry specifically?
A: Remarkably low barriers to entry see our industry fluctuate seasonally. Over our busy periods we have about double the number of competitors.
Q: Where do you see your industry heading in the next 5 years?
A: Better and easier complaints systems, particularly to the ACCC, are already leading the industry being better scrutinised. I’d like to see a building industry-style audit to get rid of the cash traders and dodgy back yard operators.
Q: What do you plan on doing / changing in order to keep growing in this time period?
A: We have one simple rule here – Always Hire Better People. When we do this we can steer through anything that might come up.
Q: What does ultimate success look like to you? How will you know when you’ve achieved it?
A: I used to think it was money related, but in my old age (27) balance is a much bigger point for me. Working because I enjoy what I’m doing and being able to choose to spend time with people I am close to is my success.
Q: What do you think will be the biggest challenge facing entrepreneurs in the near future?
A: The changing employment landscape in Australia and possible the end to our resources-focused economy. Although I don’t see this happening in the near future.
Q: What one piece of advice would you give to someone just starting out in your industry and wanting to make it to the top?
A: Be yourself – everyone else is taken.