In the 15 years, David Amaneddine has run a removalist business, it will be the year 2020 he will remember most.
In the worst time of the coronavirus pandemic, his company, AAA City Removalist (a Parramatta Chamber sponsor) has operated non-stop helping distressed families and individuals relocate and sort out their lives as they grapple with job losses and family breakdowns.
“It has been heartbreaking when they share their stories with us and that’s how we got the pulse on how things were going with them as the pandemic eats into our lives,” says Mr. Amaneddine
“It has been an incredible experience having to move people and their personal belongings from Sydney and everywhere so that they can amalgamate with their families, or go live with relatives or friends to have a roof over their heads.
“Others have downsized to cheaper houses due to divorce and separation so it was an incredibly emotional and distressing time for them.”
By May and until last month, as many businesses have gradually reopened under COVID-safe workplaces, Mr. Amaneddine’s company has moved thousands of families locally and at least 300 families and individuals, packing and loading boxes of their personal belongings and pieces of furniture into trucks as they look forward to a new lease of life somewhere out of Sydney.
The removalist industry – around 130 of them operate in Western Sydney alone – has been classified as an essential service during this pandemic.
Mr. Amaneddine said his business operated under strict compliance with health experts’ instructions which included physical distancing, wearing masks, and gloves, and other ways to prevent any spread of the coronavirus to their customers and staff.
Due to the increased workload on the 50 permanent crew members, Mr. Amaneddine immediately hired 10 extra staff to ensure their operations were running efficiently.
Families are struggling
Professional removalists are considered as an essential service and are permitted to cross the borders to Queensland, South Australia, and Victoria because customers were able to prove that the relocation was a necessity either based on their economic circumstances or simply just moving.
Most customers that Mr. Amaneddine’s company has assisted were workers who lost their jobs in Sydney and had no other option but to move in with their families or friends within NSW or interstate for they could no longer afford to pay rent or repay mortgages.
Some families have sold their homes to downsize and bought cheaper properties outside of the Sydney metropolitan centers to try their luck in country towns and find a way to survive the economic losses brought by the pandemic.
“It’s easy for me to see why many people are struggling from this pandemic and as a businessman, I think we need to do more to get people back into employment, keep taxation simpler for businesses, and for the national education system to better prepare the youth to adapt to the ever-changing trends and needs of the modern business environment,” Mr. Amaneddine said.
“I feel fortunate that my business didn’t have to close down or slow down and have even made our operations stronger as an essential service,” Mr. Amaneddine said.
In the recent 2020 Western Sydney Business Awards, Mr. Amaneddine was among the judges for the Outstanding Business Leader of the Year category and was amazed by the personal qualities of the nominees.
As a businessman who directed his own company and turned it into a multi-million-dollar enterprise in Western Sydney, Mr. Amaneddine has offered some advice to help businesses having a difficult time recovering or keep afloat.
“Make sure your business is recession-proof and save money during the good times because you will always need cash flow.
If they do these things like I did, they would be able to pass through this pandemic and come out wiser and resilient. It’s allowed me to do well.”
Mr. Amaneddine said he has admired fellow business owners who have “a big heart”, contributed to their community, and engaged themselves in “extra-curricular activities outside of the daily running of a business.”
Mr. Amaneddine said government subsidies flowing onto businesses and furloughed workers to stimulate the economy would end eventually and it will be the job of the industries and businesses working together to ensure the economy is back to full speed and he would like to help.
By Elizabeth Frias