Until 2012 I was working full time for a motorsport fabrication company and using my welding skills to maintain and repair farmers’ equipment on evenings and weekends. After much deliberation I took the leap and left full time employment with the intentions of being a subcontract welder.
A few months after I had started self-employment I heard about the Prince’s Trust Low Interest Loan Scheme and decided to apply. After attending the weekend workshops, I worked with John Pedley, a business adviser to help me produce a business plan to develop my business of agricultural implement manufacture and repair. John was a tremendous help and to this day I still use or reflect on his comments and advice to guide me. In many respects, the advice I had from John was more valuable than the loan I received.
I used the business plan to apply for funding and was offered a loan and grant to help me develop the business. The funds enabled me to invest in new products, new ideas and promote myself more than I could have done without it.
In 2014 after putting some photos on eBay of some sheep feed barriers, I had calls from a few people asking me to manufacture similar items of high quality equipment at a reasonable price.
Since then the business has progressed to 90% farm gates, barriers and sheeted door manufacture and installation, with turnover doubling, year on year. I employ 3 full-time staff, one part-time driver, run 2 vans and have £350k/year turnover. We manufacture 75% of our gates, barriers and doors to measure, with 65% of our products sold outside a 30 mile radius of our premises, with nationwide delivery.
I pride myself on delivering a high quality service to farmers that they can trust and rely on. In the future we plan
to move to larger premises where we can start to manufacture agricultural buildings and offer a complete solution, incorporating, design, manufacture and installation. We will continue to develop new products and are currently in talks with dealers up and down the country to stock standard lengths of heavy duty, built to last handling equipment.
Hopefully in a couple of years’ time, we will be a household name, with the initial progression mainly down to the Prince’s Trust Scheme