Meet Mike O’Hagan – Multi-Millionnaire and Founder of MiniMovers

Mike O’Hagan is no ordinary man. He is the brain behind the mega successful Australian removalist company, MiniMovers.

One day, he woke up and decided that he wanted a business that could grow big – really big. MiniMovers was no accident; it was a calculated move.

“I was looking for an opportunity,” says O’Hagan. “I started in business as a second hand dealer. I was working 90 hours a week, seven days a week and earning the same amount of money as my staff who were only working forty hours a week.

“I did that for eight years and decided I didn’t want to do that anymore, that was crazy. And I was looking for an opportunity, for something I could grow. And that’s one of the secrets of MiniMovers – from day one it was designed to grow.”

As a second hand dealer, he had little to no experience in the removalist industry.
“To be seriously honest with you, when I started MiniMovers, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing.”

While for many this would have proved a deterrent (and even a detriment), O’Hagan used this to his advantage.

“It was a major asset because we used just common sense to deal with each thing as it came along. And what I’ve worked out is you don’t grow a business from a plan or a strategy, you grow a business by coming up with new ideas, testing them in an affordable way. If they work do them more.

“Most things I try don’t work, but every now and then I find one’s that’s working. I do it more and I systemise it and duplicate it and that’s how I grow my business.”

This, says O’Hagan has afforded him a competitive advantage. He describes the business as “ever moving and ever changing” making it difficult for competitors to keep up.

“We’ve got lots of copy cats now, but they’re all copying stuff that we used to do a year, two years ago.”

Fuel for growth

Many of O’Hagan’s common sense innovations have worked out brilliantly.

He explains one problem that was solved in this way:

“Generally speaking, I employ guys in their 20s, and a lot of them don’t have breakfast when they come to work and our guys work really, really hard and they used to fall over during the day.

“We tried all sorts of things – we got people to give the lectures about nutrition and everything else and it was just a waste of space. One day, one of my lovely ladies said, why don’t we just feed them? So ever since then, every morning in 14 different locations around Australia, we have a fully cooked breakfast for our staff every morning.”

Taking a different route

O’Hagan strives to be different in all he does. While many won’t hire without citing proof of industry experience, O’Hagan refuses to take on someone who’s done time in the removalist game.

“There’s only one way to do it, the MiniMovers way. We bring them in, clean skins, without any experience. Even the operators on the trucks, we bring them in without licences, we give them their own licences and everybody says to me, how do you get all these young guys to do it your way? Well, it’s easy, I create them.”

O’Hagan is always on the lookout for a better MiniMovers way, making it even harder for the competition to keep up.

Holding the wheel

Despite the business’s success, O’Hagan has no plans to give it up to a listing.

“No … my exit strategy’s a pine box.”

His plan was to create a business that he loved so much he’d want to stick with it, not sell it.

“From day one I was sacking myself. The very first job I did in MiniMovers was the sales person, I played with things, I systemised it and then I put in somebody better than me to do it.”

O’Hagan then went on to do the same as operation manager, marketing manager, general manager, then, finally, chair.

O’Hagan is no longer hands on in the business. Recently, he stepped down as chairman.

“Technically, I’m just a director. “

He laughs that he has a “big stick” behind his back thanks to his 100 per cent shareholding.

The Entrepreneurial Journey admin is a team of degree-qualified writers with special knowledge in entrepreneurship, business motivation and business education.