In praise of white van man

November 28th, 2013 4:04 am

It’s fair to say that white van man hasn’t always had a great press. In the popular stereotype, white van man is typified by aggressive, inconsiderate and generally loutish behaviour and driving. As with many stereotypes, the reality is a long way removed from the myth.


Although the white van has been around for decades – the first “Transit” van rolled off the production line in Koln in 1953 – the term “white van man” seems only to have been coined in the 1990s, with the term’s first recorded appearance in the press being in a Sunday Times article in 1997. White Van Man became an unlikely “vox pop” cypher in a certain Redtop newspaper column with the alleged protagonist giving a less than politically correct view (though it may have been a view which was entirely in tune with its editor and owner) on topical issues of the day. White van man’s reputational nadir came with a BBC comedy series of the same name in 2011.

But white van man is fighting back. While the term in its original context could be taken to refer to any small business or tradesman – plumbers, electricians for example – who use the ubiquitous white van as a combined transport and tool shed, the more modern incarnation of white van man has a different role.

Personal transport in larger cities, and especially London, often mean using public transport. But what happens when you need to move house or flat – or even just get a heavy package or two across town? Because the average square footage of most London properties tends to be rather less than the national average (unless you’re one of the super-rich), most London removals don’t require a huge removal HGV to carry them off. In fact, trying to manoeuvre, park and load or offload these beasts in the average London street can be a nightmare all in itself.

That’s where a man with a van really comes into its own. As far removed from the tired stereotype as you could get, these white van men (and occasionally women) make a point of being polite, flexible, helpful and courteous – in fact many of them stake their reputation on it. Because light haulage and removal companies in London are generally locally based, their drivers are knowledgeable and well-versed in the problems of negotiating London traffic making for quicker and less stressful journeys from A to B without the aggressive and inconsiderate driving which the stereotype alleges.

From the customers’ point of view, the accent on courtesy and flexibility is a key advantage to hiring a London man and van to help with removals. Moving house is stressful enough without having to deal with a less than helpful removal company. Word gets round quickly and any van man company which doesn’t put stress on customer service simply isn’t going to survive. The customer is always welcome to muck in with the lifting and carrying, saving money on the final bill but it’s not mandatory; with flexibility as the watchword, white van man will take care of the whole thing, from packing through to putting the furniture in place at your new home.

Perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate the stereotype: white van man, it turns out, is the good guy after all.

Tips to Find a Great Real Estate Agency

April 3rd, 2013 10:24 pm

One of the first things you should do if you want to purchase property is to find a real estate agency. Spain has several really good ones that can help you find the property that you want to purchase. But finding the real estate agencies in Spain that have the best reputations is not always easy, especially if you don’t live in the country. Here are tips that can help you.

* Your Native Language
If you want to buy real estate for sale in Spain it is a good idea make the process as comfortable for you as possible. This may mean finding a comfort level in your own native language. When searching for property to purchase, having someone on your side that speaks your native language is a good idea. There are a lot of agencies that are owned by foreigners and will likely speak your native language. This can make the process go a lot easier.

*Find a Professional
This is perhaps the most important criteria of finding a Spanish real estate agency that will help you find property for sale that you’d be interested in. If the property agency is very professional, you will have no problem finding properties to look at and the process will go a lot smoother. Look for things like how long they’ve been in business and assess the overall quality of the properties they are showing you. Not all estate agents are created equally.

*Commercial or Residential?
Another key aspect to finding the right real estate agent is to find someone that specialises in the properties that you are interested in purchasing. For example, if you want to by a commercial property, a commercial estate agent specialist is your best bet. This increases your chances of finding the property that will best suit your needs.

*Shop Around
It may take several tries to find the real estate agencies that will work best for you. Whether you want a residential estate agent or one that specialises in commercial properties is a good start. However, other factors will play into whether or not the agent is right for your needs. It may be that the agent may seem like a good bet on the surface, but as you work with him or her it may become clear that you need to find another agent.

*Wait for the Right Time
Just because you find an agent and you see the Spanish property of your dreams, it doesn’t mean that you need to take the opportunity. A good agent will help you decide if the property truly is a good fit for you. Beware of an agent that’s too pushy. This means that they don’t necessarily have your own interests in mind. If you want to finally make the purchase the key is to have a great real estate agency. Spain has a lot of properties and you will find the best one for your needs if you work hard enough.