Mike reveals stories behind storage
Name: Mike Duthie
Job Title: Owner
Company: Flexistore Aberdeen
My alarm rings at 6am and I get up, get ready for the day ahead and try my best not to waken the family – my wife, Julie, daughter Hannah, and two sons Paul and Mark.
I aim to be in the office, which is located in Portlethen, by 7am, as I like to get in before my team to ensure we are fully prepared for the day ahead. Our storeman will have all the vaults we need looked out but I just want to make sure that everything is in its place. I check e-mails and other messages, and look through online inquiries and bookings that have come in via our website overnight.
Some of our business customers also pop in between 7am and 8am, which is a nice start to the day. I enjoy catching up with them and finding out what they have in store that day.
The only exception to my weekly morning routine is a 5.30am wake-up call on a Tuesday, as I am a member of the BNI Aberdeen North networking group. I meet with a group of 35 local business professionals, which is a great chance to build relationships and meet new people.
My team arrives at 8am, and our first priority is running through the day’s schedule: what deliveries and collections are booked in, what packaging orders we have, who needs access to their vaults, and what storage inquiries or bookings we have received.
It’s great getting the full team involved, as after all, they are the experts on the ground running the day-to-day goings on. It’s important for me to have an oversight of all of this, as well as focus on business development, finance and legal aspects. As I like to say, I keep all the plates spinning, but I couldn’t operate without my team.
For years I ate my lunch at my desk, but my New Year’s resolution this year was to take at least a 30-minute lunch break each day – or at least try. I generally try to relax, flick through a newspaper looking for news about my beloved Aberdeen FC or check social media.
This isn’t always possible though, as I want to get responses sent to all overnight inquiries before lunchtime. Each inquiry is unique, so it’s important to understand each customer and their situation to fully help them.
No afternoon at Flexistore is the same, but they typically encompass customers gaining access to their vaults or boxes, walk-in inquiries, business meetings, deliveries coming into our store, and vaults heading out for redelivery.
Sometimes I put on different hats if members of my team are out of the office or away on holiday – so I’m not just based in the office, but can be out delivering vaults to customers across the north-east for them to load, or looking out vaults or files for delivery the next day.
It’s always interesting when customers come in to either drop items off for storing, or collect their items when they require them, as there is always a story behind their need for storage.
Recently, a lady came into our office and burst into tears – both her and her husband had lost their jobs due to the oil and gas downturn, and had to sell their home. They had decided to move abroad, but had so much to sort in a short frame of time before making the big move – this was a Wednesday, and the house was being sold on the Friday. It was a fantastic feeling being able to take that stress away from her, put a smile on her face, and wish her all the best in her new adventure.
I usually leave the office around 6pm, go home for dinner with my family and attend my Taekwondo training, in which I have achieved my black belt. One of my sons also plays football for Dyce Locos and is involved with the Inverurie Locos Development squad, so I often take him to training or watch him play matches.
Football is a passion of mine, and I used to be a youth football coach, so I understand the fundraising challenges that these teams face. I always try to give back to local teams, usually in the form of new kits or bags. I currently sponsor Greenbrae School, Echt Under 17s and the Inverurie Locos Development Squad and am about to provide a kit to Newmachar Girls football team.
I am usually ready for bed at around 10.30pm as I know I will be up early
the next day. I enjoy being my own
boss, and it gives me great satisfaction to see what we have achieved in such a short space of time. I’m 56 in August, but still very ambitious and have some exciting plans for Flexistore for the future.