PURSUING HER PASSION
A chat with Janice Willis, busy founder of Elderly Assist, Moving Assist and Clutterbusters.
I first met Janice two years ago when I interviewed her for a profile piece on her company Elderly Assist. I was struck immediately by her passion for her work – helping the elderly get through the stressful business of downsizing and moving home.
Nothing has changed and in fact Janice has been so successful pursuing her passion in the Auckland area that she is now expanding into Hamilton and the Bay of Plenty.
“We’ve been established in the Auckland market for six years now,’ says Janice, “so the next logical step is to move into the regions. My teams work with local staff and managers in these areas doing everything that we do in the Auckland market.”
Janice is very proud of her team members – all credit and police checked – who she hand picks for their ethical and compassionate approach to their work. “I recruit my people based on their temperament and morality,” she says. “You can teach people how to pack but you can’t teach ethics and empathy.”
On the back of her success with Elderly Assist and with her key teams in place, Janice has also launched two new companies.
“Helping retired people declutter and move is still my core business,” says Janice. “But when family and friends of my Elderly Assist clients approached me to work with them I decided to set up Moving Assist and Clutterbusters.”
Moving Assist is for ‘time poor’ people (or those of us who just can’t stand the thought of organising a move) who are not elderly but need someone to help them sort out their belongings, selling those they no longer need (without taking a commission), pack, relocate and unpack in their new home.
Not everyone is downsizing their possessions in order to move though, says Janice, “Some people just need a helping hand to sort themselves out and this is where Clutterbusters comes in. They might need help with their cluttered home, garage or office overflowing with documents. We provide all the services we do for our Elderly Assist clients; our team members just wear a different uniform!”
All three companies provide a tailor-made one-stop shop or clients can ‘cherry pick’ the services they require: decluttering, packing and moving, preparing the home for sale, assistance with the sale, gifting or disposal of belongings, garden maintenance, you name it. Over the years Janice has built up many valuable relationships and add-on services including liaising with lawyers, and assisting with deceased estates, real estate firms, retirement villages, charities, collectors, builders and gardeners.
Says Janice: “Many of my contractors have come to work with me and are now key team members, bringing their expertise to my business.”
Another source of pride for Janice is Elderly Assist’s 98% authenticated positive rating on the No Cowboys website, ranked from over 40 reviews.
The glowing testimonials speak volumes about Janice and her team’s compassion and commitment. Writing on the website in February this year, happy customer Owen says: “(Elderly Assist) Did an excellent job and what delightful people, accurate estimates, great care packing. I can’t praise them enough.”
In between sorting out and moving dozens of people and starting companies Janice has seen one daughter move to New York, another start her studies at AUT and met and married her husband Nigel. “It’s not all work and no play!” says Janice. “But I do love my job. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.”