Tag Archives: china bear

China Bear Removals Sydney

HOT TIPS FOR TIPPING HOT REMOVALISTS

Most people don’t move often enough to develop an idea of how to behave when the boys come around to load up the truck. We talked about whether you should help last week, but since then we’ve been asked about tips and things like that, so here’s a bit of a guide.

For starters, a cup of tea or coffee never goes astray. It’s the usual way to greet people who come to your home, and that applies to movers as well. Sharing a cuppa is a good time to chat about the day’s work, figure out any logistical issues and organise a plan of attack. They’ll probably have their own water with them, but it doesn’t hurt to offer a cold drink either. (And a Milk Arrowroot, if you have any. Ta.)

Beer is another thing entirely. The legal blood-alcohol limit for truck drivers in Australia has been zero since 2010, which means they can’t even have one drink. “The customer made me have four beers with him” isn’t usually an acceptable excuse for crashing the truck when you’re in front of the boss (or a judge, for that matter). Most companies have a zero-tolerance policy on alcohol, so don’t be offended if the movers knock back your generous offer. It could cost them their job.

China Bear Sydney RemovalistsCash tips happen sometimes, and can vary widely – on some lucky jobs, we might receive more than the boss is paying! They’re not expected by any means, but obviously it’s a much appreciated gesture, especially if a job has been particularly gruelling or tricky.

More common are spur-of-the-moment gifts, whether that’s a fridge that won’t fit into the alcove in the new place, or a TV the customer was thinking of replacing anyway. In these situations, we generally ask them to sign something saying they did give the item as a gift, to avoid any potential legal issues down the track.

Although we said the boys aren’t allowed to crack a beer with you while they’re on duty, it’s a different matter after hours. So don’t feel like you can’t offer them a case or something along those lines – as long as the work’s finished and the truck’s safely parked, they can cheers to a job well done!

CHina Bear Removals & Storage

SHOULD I BE HELPING?

For men especially, it can feel a bit weird to pay someone to do labour it feels like you should be able to do yourself. We’ve all helped a mate move a couch or fridge, so it’s easy to feel like you’re slacking off when professional removalists are doing all the heavy lifting and you’re parked in front of the PlayStation.

But before you feel guilty and jump on the end of a bookcase, think about your coverage. Do you have liability insurance? Can you afford to have a week or so off work if you get injured? Because the removalist’s policy won’t look after you in this situation.

The same thing applies to damage. If an accident happens and you’re not involved, you’re well within your rights to demand compensation for a broken item. But if that antique dresser scrapes along the wall and you’re holding one side of it, who’s to say it wasn’t your lack of training that caused the damage? No-one wants to point fingers, but it’s difficult to work out fault in these often murky scenarios.

That’s not to mention the situation in apartment blocks and similar shared living spaces. If you accidentally knock the head off a sprinkler in a stairwell, those things flood buildings very quickly – and as in the case of dinged furniture, your involvement in the accident could come back to bite you in a way that wouldn’t happen if you’d been separate from the action.

Removalist Sydney

Prior to the day, you might want to set things up to make it easier on everyone. Some movers prefer you to have done your own packing, while others are happy to tackle to whole operation from go to whoa. A lot of that will depend on which company you go with, how many people and hours you’ve budgeted for, what you’re paying – as well as whether you want removalists packing up any private or intimate items! At China Bear, we offer a range of services, and it’s really up to you to decide how much prep work you want to do before our boys arrive.

On the day, by all means offer a cup of tea or coffee, grab the front door and mention anything that might be delicate or tricky. But don’t feel guilty about parking yourself in front of the TV for another round of Grand Theft Auto (until they need to load the couch on the truck). Removalists are trained professionals, and you’re paying for their service.

Trust us, they won’t mind.

china-bear-fine art-crates

China Bear Fine Arts Removals & Storage Crates in Sydney

A little more about our fine arts removals & storage crates offered in Sydney

Something must be in the air, because we’re doing a lot of crating at the moment. You’ve probably never thought about the planning and effort that goes into moving priceless antiques, fine artworks, chandeliers and grandfather clocks, but they need more security than an old quilt or some bubble-wrap. That’s why we offer custom-made timber crates. Fina Art Crates China BearWe use sturdy plywood because it meets with all the fumigation requirements for export. It’s not natural, so there are no wood insects or borers or diseases that could be freighted around the world. Our sales reps take some measurements and run them back to the workshop, where our in-house carpenter Daryl builds the crates to fit the items we’ll be relocating. Each one takes around 2-3 hours to put together, and then the boys take them out to the site to pack ’em and wrap ’em, as we say. Inside the crates, we’re even more careful. When you buy a new TV or laptop, you might have noticed a white, plastic-paper sheet over the screen. It’s called Tyvek, and it’s a moisture-resistant product that we use so that when the organic products breathe and sweat, the packaging material doesn’t stick to them. It’s essential for moving wooden furniture that has an organic polish as opposed to a lacquer, for example. To give you some examples of the kinds of things we crate up, we’ve got some artworks going to London at the moment. They’ve been in the family for 300 years, out here for some of that time, and now they’re getting shipped back for auction. In addition, Persian rugs are quite often wrapped and rolled and crated. If you fold a rug, it creases and it’s very difficult to get them out. Putting them in timber crates keeps them flat and rolled properly. The crates you see here have been made in our workshop. One’s for a dining table, one’s for a buffet and the big cardboard box is for a large artwork. Once again, that’s not just any cardboard, like you’d grab from the local supermarket dock. It’s Hydraboard, which is highly moisture-resistant, strong and what they call “virgin cardboard”. You wouldn’t put that much effort into Fantastic Furniture – this is really just for antiques. The dining table we mentioned is worth $220,000. Obviously we made a crate for that. If you don’t, you’ve only got to knock one of those things and bang – you’ve got a chip. All of a sudden, the entire item’s ruined and your insurance company gets cranky at you! To find out more about our fine arts removals & storage services in Sydney, contact China Bear today!

China Bear Removals & Storage

THE PERILS OF BAD SERVICE

The other day we heard an interesting story from a bloke, that says a lot about doing your research and making sure you get what you pay for.

This guy has a waterfront property that got flooded; a water main burst and he had to get all the furniture out so they could fix up the carpets and floorboards etc. He and his wife were going to be away in Greece while this went on, so he rang around and got four quotes for removals: two major companies and two minor ones.

In the end, he settled for the big brand – he thought. It had a fancy name similar to a large retailer, and he assumed they were connected and therefore reputable. The quote was reasonable given the job needed to be done urgently.

So the removalists rocked up, and they only had 40 cartons. He said, “Hang on, this is no good. You’re supposed to pack everything up, take photos of where it all was and unpack it in the exact same spots when you come back. How will you know where things go?”

They told him the boss promised stuff like that all the time, that there was nothing on their paperwork about it and – best of all – that they were just packers and probably wouldn’t even be the guys who brought the stuff back. Our bloke tells them to hang on, since it wasn’t the service he was sold, and calls the company. Turns out the sales rep he spoke to is the owner – and this is where he learnt they had no connection to the large retailer…and had even been sued by them!

Sure enough, the removalists ran out of cartons around 1.30pm, and couldn’t complete the job. They returned the next day and away they went. Fast-forward a bit, and the bill comes in at more than $7000…nothing near the $4400 quote on the “Full Price Assessment” he had received. The owner justified the extra expense by saying the boys needed extra boxes and a second day, and claimed the customer hadn’t shown him the contents of his cupboards.

China Bear

Now, this guy telling us the story had recently received a redundancy from his previous job. So he researched a heaps of removals companies in his area, looking up their online reviews and so on, and decided he liked one. He walked into their main office, spoke to the owner and walked out the majority owner!

So this isn’t a case of, “I liked it so much I bought the company” – it’s more like, “I was so upset by the difference between what I was told and what I received that I bought a competitor.” Now he’s dedicated to giving people the good service and good experience he missed out on.

The moral of the story is: treat your customers well…or they might become your rival!

China Bear Removals

MOVING PICTURES

You probably don’t think about it when you’re watching your favourite reality TV programs, but a lot of them – especially the ones where contestants all move in together – are filmed in people’s houses. You don’t necessarily notice it when you’re watching the show, but they’re huge places. Some are 15- and 20-bedroom homes that are occupied by Sydneysiders.

People rent out their places for the length of a production, which means all their stuff has to be moved out of the place and into storage for 12 weeks or so to make way for the props, contestants, crew and gear required to make a TV show.

It involves the disruption of a family because they’ve got to move everything – their phones, their Foxtel, their mail gets redirected – and literally the entire house is cleared out. It’s not like we stick the furniture in one or two rooms, and they’re the rooms they don’t use – we pack it all up, put it in the truck and move it out, relocating these people temporarily.

China Bear Removals & StorageAnd on some shows, it’s the same house year after year, so they’ve got to move out for 12 weeks every time!

Sometimes, though, it isn’t even for that long. They might just be making a short film and they need the venue for a week, so we’ve got to get everything out. Or maybe it’s a quick TV commercial and only need it for a day.

You know those special episodes where the guy takes one of the girls he’s interested in home to meet the parents? If the producer thinks the family home is too cluttered to accommodate a camera or two, they’ll give us a call to clear out the furniture and turn the house inside-out for a day.

So whether it’s for months or just a day, we’re moving stuff in and out, in and out, and making sure what’s going on in the background looks as good as what’s going on in the foreground.

Then, when the show’s over, we put it back and make them all comfortable again.

That’s the reality of TV.

China Bear

WHEN THE BEAR WAS A CUB

People often ask about the origins of China Bear, especially when it comes to the name. The truth is, it came from a boat.

Back in 1978, the founders of the company, Tony Kuypers and Bruce Bailey, had come to an agreement on almost everything that would make up their joint venture into the removals game. They were having a quiet ale in a bar on Sydney Harbour at the time, discussing what they were going to call the company, when they saw a large cargo ship come in. The name of the ship was China Bear!

Aside from being very memorable, the name has been a benefit in other ways. In 1988, when two giant pandas visited Australia from China as part of our Bicentenary celebrations, we were chosen by Taronga Zoo to handle the ground transportation. We rocked up at the airport with the iconic truck, and the crates holding Xiao Xiao and Fei Fei were loaded into the back – as well as some zoologists and vets to make sure the pair didn’t get carsick. Under police escort, we weaved across Sydney, over the Harbour Bridge to the zoo.

China Bear

(Later, when we drove the pandas back to the airport so they could go home, we were presented with the framed poster at the top of this entry.)

China Bear has built up an amazing history since 1978.We’ve always been based in the eastern suburbs of Sydney, so the green trucks with the dancing panda have become very recognisable over the years, giving us a lot of repeat business. Now that the kids have grown up and moved out of home, they continue to use the Panda!

And yes, we’re still available for the transport of endangered species, if any zoos are reading.

Moving Buddha

ENLIGHTENING THE BUDDHA

This week the China Bear team were called upon to move a god. Or, more precisely, a statue of a god.

Weighing somewhere around 500kg, the statue of Buddha was a spur-of-the-moment purchase by its owner while he was travelling through Indonesia. Years before we got near the big fella, Buddha had had a rough life. Somewhere between clearing Customs and landing in the backyard at its first house, the packing crate holding it fell apart, so Buddha’s got a few war wounds.
Buddha Crane

Because the piece is so heavy, when he got it home the client had soaked the concrete it would sit on in oil to position Buddha in a traditional way, which shows a lot of respect. On the other hand, it was apparently used as the Twelfth Man in many a game of backyard cricket! A good spare fieldsman, never complained once…or asked for a go at bat.

Anyway, the kids have moved out of home so the parents are relocating to a new house. They couldn’t leave Buddha behind, of course, and that’s where we came in. Moving the thing caused us a bit of grief, because 500kg winds up being a little bit more than you think it is. In the end we used a specialist contractor to lift Buddha up over the fence, as well as to position it in the right way at the new place (behind the stumps).

Funnily enough, on that particular day, we moved two jade statues, that were 250-odd kilos, for a Chinese guy. It’s not beyond what we do as removalists, but it’s unusual and sometimes does require some specialist equipment and contractors.

Just one question: aren’t statues meant to stay put?

Mirror Image

MIRROR, MIRROR – OFF THE WALL

Unlike most jobs, being a removalist means you’re invited into people’s homes every day. That means you get to see all sorts of things, and you build up a collection of stories – be it furniture that’s tricky to move, funny things that happen on the job or how we dealt with a dog that went on the attack while our arms were full with some delicate antique.

That’s why we’ve launched this blog as part of China Bear’s brand-new website – to give you a bit of insight into the life of a mover.

You face a lot of different challenges when you’re dealing with people’s prized possessions. This week, for example, we had to move a mirror. Not just any mirror – this was a designer piece of art that’s 180cm wide by 2.4m tall, and shaped like the sun, with long metal arms twisting out from the centre. Obviously that made a bit of hard work for the fellas, as it had to be handled very carefully.

Before we even got there, the owner was very clear about how we should treat her mirror, saying, “I don’t want any more twists or turns to be added.”

Under her watchful eye, we set up a scaffold on the staircase to lift the artwork down before strapping it into a cargo net, inside a specially designed crate.

It was actually the second crate we’d built for that mirror, because our salesman forgot the old “100mm rule” on his tape measure, which meant the first one was just a bit too small. So we’ve got a spare crate here if anyone needs a slightly smaller sculpture moved…

In the end, we got the mirror over to Rose Bay with no dramas – only to find it doesn’t fit on the wall in the new house!

The owner will have to get some modifications to her staircase before she can display the sun, so at the moment it’s still suspended in that crate, awaiting a new dawn.