Nigel Pay has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to the Courier Industry. Having spent a number of years working in the hustle and bustle of London’s City and West End – it is clear that Nigel has what it takes to work in a high pressure environment.
Utilising his knowledge from his previous employment history – Nigel took a leap of faith and started up his own business – Grapevine (the transport company) Ltd, here in Devon.
Before getting involved in the courier industry, Nigel was an Assistant Manager of a small hotel in London. “I worked my way up within the hospitality industry for 4 years and then decided it was time for a complete career change. It was extremely time consuming and it was putting pressure on my relationship at the time” Nigel explains.
Nigel made his way through a number of high profile courier companies in London, expanding on his knowledge and experience when it comes to the logistics.
“I worked for a company called Premier Dispatch. We could deliver anything in central London in under an hour – using push bikes, motorcycles and small/large vans It was incredibly fast paced, the buzz you got was insane, but the burnout was just as intense”.
“I was overseeing 30 motorcycle courier out on the streets of London’s City and West End picking up and dropping off jobs. This was pre-tracker and pre-mobile, so you basically had an imprint of the City and West End of London in your mind, keeping track of where each and every one of your couriers were based on your knowledge and time management”.
“My next big move was becoming a Business Development Manager for Chain Gang Couriers. This is essentially where I built up my sales skills being mentored by one of the best in the business. Being a Sales Manager in London, you’re only as good as your last job – so you constantly had to prove and improve yourself”.
Nigel’s wife at the time had family living in Devon – so they were regularly taking trips down to the South West to visit. “One Easter weekend we were driving back up the motorway, and the further we got into London everything started to die off. The grass turned to concrete and everything looked grey and sooty. I’d never really noticed before, I spent years in London and that was the first time I’d felt claustrophobic”.
Nigel took the decision to move his family to Devon, step by step. “I had a great childhood in London, but things change, and I didn’t really want my children growing up in that environment. Devon has such a better quality of life – Mothecombe beach is a 10 minute drive from my house- Dartmoor is only 15 minutes away, the decision was a no brainer really”.
Sticking with what he knew, Nigel became a Manager for a national courier company here in Plymouth. His main role was to gain and secure new accounts. “After a while I noticed a problem. They didn’t want the large accounts – because they took too long to nurture and could be quite demanding. They also didn’t want the small accounts as they assumed they weren’t worth the time in terms of revenue”.
After working for a company in Plymouth, I noticed a gap in the market. As a result, Grapevine Transport was formed in 2011 to appeal to the accounts that larger corporations wouldn’t necessarily deal with.
My biggest challenge when starting out was getting used to the slow pace of Devon! When you’re selling in London, it’s extremely reactive. It’s quick and fast paced and people make decisions on the spot. It’s the complete opposite here”. Nigel realised the loyalty of clients in Devon was something he hadn’t experienced before, and that this was something to work towards. “In Devon, if you nurture and look after your clients well, they become loyal to you and happy to recommend you – and that’s what I base my foundations on”.
People buy people. I found that I started getting recommendations and business was slowly growing. What sets me apart is that I nurture my clients. I don’t just pick up and drop off what is needed- I visit them, make sure they are happy and that they are getting everything they expect from us.
Grapevine Transport specialises in same day delivery, and can offer this service for direct mail or direct deliveries of time critical and sensitive documents. “Our same day delivery service is crucial for things like original documents and court evidence for Solicitors, for example. Timing is so important with high priority documents, and Grapevine excels at this”.
“We also offer UK overnight, next day delivery. By working with our chosen service partners, we can offer extremely competitive solutions for mainland UK deliveries, ideal for almost all consignments, including non-urgent and fragile items”.
For international shipments, Grapevine Transport offer a range of delivery options into Europe, the US and the rest of the world. They offer a secure, flexible and personal service, and again because they choose which of their reliable service partners would be best for the job- they can offer much more flexibility than some other couriers.
Nigel explains that Grapevine has a transparent, competitive pricing structure. “The UK same day delivery is based in a pence per mile rate – only charging from point of collection to point of delivery. Similarly, the UK overnight service is based on a competitive pence per kilo rate.
Operating from the South West to destinations throughout the UK, deadlines can sometimes be tight and Nigel explains it can feel like you are asked to do the impossible.
Our customers need the reassurance and professionalism they have grown to expect from us and our drivers to ensure the job gets done, this time, next time, every time.
Grapevine consists of a team of seven fully trained, professional and uniformed couriers based between Truro and Bristol. Nigel explains that they are currently looking to expand, to meet the growing demand from clients. “We are recruiting self employed drivers to join our dedicated and motivated team here at Grapevine. If you have same day delivery experience then we would be keen to hear from you. The qualities I look for are honesty, integrity and punctuality. Lies trip you up- so I built the foundations of this business on total transparency”.
Looking to the future, Nigel explains he would love to expand Grapevine into Cornwall, and possibly reach as far as Exeter, Bristol and beyond. “The company is based in Plymouth, so the first stage of the plan is to get a concrete presence in the city centre. Once we have control over that- we would look to move down to Cornwall. We currently have a lot of jobs heading down in that direction, but not as many coming back- so that is a goal to head towards”.
Nigel tells us that moving to Devon was the best decision he ever made. “There is honestly nowhere better to live. When I came here, I absorbed absolutely everything the countryside could offer me. I went hiking, I bought a Canadian Canoe so we could cruise the rivers, I bought a sea Kayak so we could get in the sea, I bought a small fishing boat- I just absorbed it all and jumped in head first”.
This work life balance is extremely important to Nigel, and he wants to build Grapevine to a stage where he is working ‘on’ the business rather than ‘in’ it. “I recently discovered Paddle boarding, and now every second of my spare time is taken up on the water. There is nothing else like it. I am so lucky to have the business at a stage where the water is my office. If someone calls me with an enquiry, I can answer calls out on my board! I just want this to continue really, to grow my client base and get the perfect work, life balance”.
Grapevine Transport pride themselves on their flexible, reactive, proactive and professional approach to courier services. If you want to know more about their services, or are interested in working for them, please see their contact details below.