Martin Moore has had an unusual career path, going from being an RAF technician to the police force and now into selling mobility scooters and aids, with his new company Access Mobility.
And yet, after speaking to him, his passion for the latter really shines through. And it all came from an investigation he conducted whilst being a policeman.
“I was investigating when scooters were being sold less than ethically, to people who were not really able to use them,” he said. “I heard a story about a woman who was looking at scooters on a market stall, got chatting to the man selling them, and walked away in tears. When his wife asked him what he had said, he replied that he wouldn’t sell her a scooter as she was almost blind. Then, a couple of weeks later, he saw her riding a scooter along, which she had bought from somewhere else, someone who would sell it to her, regardless of her being unsafe.”
It was this ethical issue that Martin decided to address by setting up his own mobility business, and giving proper assessments to his customers, to work out what, if anything, was right for them.
“I question myself every time,” he said. “It has cost me business, as I have had to turn down the opportunity of a sale as I don’t feel it is right. But I don’t have the same pressures that other people do. I work from home, so my overheads are low, and I don’t work on commission.”
Later this week, Martin is going to do an assessment on an elderly woman who wants a scooter, but her son and daughter don’t think she would be able to manage it.
Martin may be “potentially sabotaging my own sale”, but he will spend two or three hours with this lady, assessing her needs and her abilities and giving an independent view on whether she would be able to cope with a scooter. And, if he thinks she can, working out which one best suits her requirements. This is all done free of charge, whether or not it leads to a sale.
“I will take a range of scooters with me for her to try. We might do a run to the shops, so she can see the distance, whether there are enough dropped kerbs and crossing places. It is the ultimate ‘try before you buy’.”
Martin is a no-pressure salesman and thinks that is part of why people feel more comfortable with him coming into their home to perform his assessments.
“It can be difficult sometimes, not having a showroom, as people want to see what is available. But often, three -quarters of what they would see isn’t going to be suitable for them anyway. If you go into a car showroom, you can see every car they sell, but most of them won’t be suitable for what you need.
“It is about understanding the basics, whether it is purely for in the house use, or to go to the shops or whether it needs to be a class 3 road-going vehicle, whether it needs to fold up to go in a car, whether they want to take it on a cruise etc.
He has lived in Beverley for over 20 years and is keen for people to see the merits of using local businesses.
“Internet sales don’t really work in this line of business. The personal service is so important,” he said. “Yes, you might be able to find the same scooter online £100 cheaper than I will be able to sell it, but it will just come in a box from a company in London or somewhere. You will then have to assemble it yourself, and nobody is going to come up to London and give you that after-sales service that a local company can do.
“Then they often end up turning to their local mobility dealers when something goes wrong.”
It isn’t just the after-sales service which Martin offers, with personal touches like delivering a scooter to a lady in Walkington and bringing her a big bouquet of flowers, or a large box of chocolates and biscuits to John Croft, a 70-year-old gentleman with cerebral palsy, with whom he struck up a rapport while assessing him for a scooter.
“John rang me at about 5.20pm as he had bumped one of his leg raisers,” Martin said. “I went round there to fix it and, because it was out of hours, I told him that meant I needed a biscuit with my cup of tea.”
That is just the sort of person Martin is. He is happy to help and give of his time as much as he possibly can, something which you wouldn’t necessarily get from a company based elsewhere in the country.
“I think it is important to support local businesses,” he said. “And not get people thinking they have to go into Hull or further afield to get what they need.
“I am not trying to tread on people’s toes geographically, but trying to create new business within Beverley. This then means that I have more money to spend with other local businesses.”
But it hasn’t all been plain sailing for Martin in setting up the business.
“I’ve been working a lot of 19-hour days,” Martin said. “Being a sole trader means that everything is done by me. It is also a test of my own ethics and can be very challenging, mentally. But, anything I earn can be put back into the business.”
For more information ring 0800 23 43 180 or look at www.accsmobility.com.