Online scrap metal business sees tenfold growth after Boost mentoring support

A Rossendale firm offering a digital platform for scrap metal dealers has seen a tenfold increase in its turnover to around £400,000, taking on new premises and recruiting 12 additional staff since receiving mentoring support from Boost; Lancashire’s Business Growth Hub.

After working his way up the corporate ladder in the scrap metal industry, Martin Handley set up his own digital scrap business called Scrap Local in 2019 – launching it in March 2020 – just a week before lockdown.

The online network seamlessly connects producers of scrap metal waste and end of life vehicles to trusted scrap yards locally.

After a lengthy development process, Martin started acquiring customers in March 2020, then the Covid-19 pandemic caused Martin to pause the business. He looked for new ways to further develop his growth plans and struggling with increasing sales, Martin turned to Boost for support.

Martin heard about Boost’s Growth Mentoring programme through a family connection and was matched with mentor Stephen Leishman – a sales specialist.

He said: “Seeking the support from a mentor gave me confidence – a new perspective on sales. Stephen taught me what to listen for during a sales conversation and to recognise ‘buying signals’ from the customer.

“He also regularly provides the team with sales training, particularly dealing with objection handling and objection techniques. They get huge value from the training.”

“Stephen also helped me to manage a better work/life balance – which is really important to me.”

Boost is Lancashire's Business Growth Hub and is led by Lancashire County Council and the Lancashire LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership). It is supported by funding from Lancashire County Council, the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

As a funded business support service, Boost helps Lancashire business owners and leaders navigate the local, regional and national public and private sector business support landscape, to find the right support for their business.

Boost’s Growth Mentoring Programme is a fully-funded programme where the business is matched with a successful businessperson who’ll provide support to tackle the challenges business leaders are facing in managing and growing their business.

Martin has since expanded the business and has seen rapid growth. From being a one-man-band working from home, he has recruited over a dozen extra staff including adding marketing, operations, customer service and sales specialists to the team as well as three developers to support the website.

He quickly outgrew his initial premises within two months and Scrap Local moved to a new headquarters in Rossendale November 2020. An increasing number of scrap dealers continue to sign up to the online scrap dealing concept.

Through Boost’s business relationship management service, relationship manager Alan Woods also helped connect Martin with the local council & other schemes, which contributed to its recruitment, lease of its new headquarters and investment in marketing.

Martin has also started the NatWest accelerator program, designed to support and empower entrepreneurs to scale their businesses to the next level.

He added: “The Boost Growth Mentoring programme improved my confidence in selling and has also given me several connections to influential people including contacts with Rossendale Borough Council and UCLan. This has helped me grow the business and has to open a number of doors of opportunity.”

Having successfully grown the business locally and nationally Martin is now looking to develop the concept for the international market. He is actively looking for an investor for scaling his business and to build the international brand. He plans to continue to grow the Scrap Local team to accommodate this growth.

His success has also been recognised by several industry awards. Martin was the winner of the Service-based Business of the Year 2021 at Rossendale Business Awards and winner of the Most Innovative Recycling Business Award at the Prestige Business Awards North West 2021. He was also finalist in several other national awards for his entrepreneurship.