2007-12-28 / Business

Billy Ward of AABC House Moving

Star Profile
By John Temple Ligon Temple@TheColumbiaStar.com

Billy Ward Billy Ward AABC House Moving, based in Camden, bids competitively for jobs statewide. It's run by Billy Ward and his brotherin- law and partner Haney Hancock. AABC is scheduled for televised full disclosure this January on the Home & Garden Network.

Billy Ward was born in Jacksonville Beach, Fla., where his father was based in the Navy. Staying with the Navy, Ward's father moved the family to Virginia Beach and then Orlando, where Ward began school.

Ward's father left the Navy and moved the family to Ft. Mill, S.C. Ward entered the third grade at Ft. Mill Elementary School . He played the trumpet for the Ft. Mill High School Marching Yellow Jackets.

Immediately out of high school Ward began full- time work in the house moving business with his father and his three uncles. Ward's grandfather started a house moving business long before in Ft. Mill with mule power and creosote logs.

Ward and his wife Lisa have two children in Camden public schools. The family is active at Bethel Worship Center, where Ward is the volunteer sound engineer, or soundman, as he might be called on a road crew.

Their Camden home has a fish pond in the back, and Ward's few quiet moments can be found on the banks.

Since his grandfather's beginnings, the house moving business has changed dramatically. Besides equipment and vehicle improvements, one of the most dramatic changes has been the expanded opportunities for collateral profit centers in the business. House sales, for instance, can be lucrative.

A property owner saddled with several unoccupied houses on a site targeted for development might have no incentive to suffer the expense to demolish the unwanted houses and clear the lot of debris.

Ward bids the job to move the houses off the site, but the potential in the sale of the discarded and moved houses, after a little upkeep, can be truly worthwhile. The concept began when Ward's family won the contract to clear the plant property for BMW in Greer.

Once they learned the business of upgrading and selling unwanted houses, the next logical development for Ward and his partner was to design and build new houses for sale and transport them to new home sites, marketing the concept with an all- inclusive turnkey price. Ward's partner has a contractor's license for such opportunities, and their spin- off business is called B&H Construction Company.

For the Home & Garden Network television cameras in January, AABC House Moving will roll a house from Irmo to the Saluda side of Lake Murray in the daytime, which is unusual. Ordinarily, the SCDOT and the house movers agree on nighttime moving schedules due to reduced traffic.

The house to be filmed is 40 feet wide, which is too much. Ward will have to cut off enough house to reduce it to 31 feet. Large houses do not get moved intact. They get cut into parts, moved in parts, and reattached at the new home site.

Still, segmenting, moving, and reassembling a house can be far cheaper than new ground- up construction.

Many of Ward's clients want little more than a raising of the house and holding it in place above the foundation so the foundation can be replaced. Upon completion of the new, modern foundation, the house can be lowered on top.

An advancement of the same concept allows the single- story house to be raised even higher where a whole new ground floor and foundation can be built underneath, finishing with a two- story house.

Editor's note: The Columbia Star will report on Ward's move for the Home & Garden Network in January. For more information, visit www.aabchousemoving. com.

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