Property maintenance business buys key supplier after mentoring advice

By Boost Business Lancashire

11 Feb 2020

ups-building-and-maintenance-ltd-ceo-andrew-wood-with-mentor-graham-haworth.jpg

A North West-based property maintenance and building business has purchased a key supplier after receiving advice from Boost – Lancashire’s business growth hub.

UPS Building and Maintenance Ltd (UPS) has purchased Adaptation Supplies Limited (ASL) based in Manchester as part of its plans to double in size over the next five years by expanding across the north.

UPS provides a wide range of property maintenance and refurbishment services for several local authorities and social housing providers throughout the North West. Customers include Riverside Housing, One Vision and Wigan Council.

As one of its key suppliers, ASL was targeted as a potential business purchase. The company stocks plumbing materials and specialises in the supply of wet rooms and disability bathroom equipment, one of UPS’s growth areas.

Boost’s Growth Mentoring programme helped CEO Andrew Wood to identify ways to grow UPS through acquisition and gave him the confidence to make the strategic decision.

Andrew said: “The growth mentoring experience has been very positive. It’s given us renewed motivation and the confidence to grow UPS in a managed and strategic way.

“ASL’s business has grown because of us, so now we can grow using their business turnover and sales, but with less infrastructure. It’s a better service solution all round. Its Manchester location also automatically gave us a base in one of our targeted growth areas and a host of new customers.” 

Andrew started the business in 2007, originally as a joiner with a van. He established a strong reputation with his customers and merged in 2009 with business partner John Graham, a qualified electrician.

After securing several key local authority contracts, UPS experienced rapid growth and Andrew was keen to ensure the business remained sustainable. He wanted future growth to be part of a structured plan and was considering expansion through acquisition as one of his options.

Andrew was referred to Boost’s Growth Mentoring programme and matched with Graham Haworth a specialist in acquisitions, major restructures, business growth and transformation

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

Graham advised Andrew to ensure internal structures and procedures could support the anticipated rapid growth of the business over the next few years. His mentoring support focused on formulating a vision and strategy for the business and outlining its key objectives.

Graham said: “Over the course of the mentoring Andrew developed an excellent working relationship as we shared similar values. It was also very clear from the first meeting that he greatly values the people that work for him. He sees the key purpose for his business is ‘changing lives for the better’ and this shows in everything they do.”

Andrew wanted to engage the rest of the team in his five-year plan for UPS and gain their support and commitment. Backed by Graham, this exercise produced a valuable resource of suggestions and unearthed some ‘hidden talents’ among the team. It was through the team input that the suggestion of buying a supplier business came to fruition which led to the acquisition of ASL.  

After receiving mentoring support and with the acquisition of ASL, UPS has added five employees to its team making a total of 68 employees. It operates from its main depot in Skelmersdale plus a depot in Manchester, at ASL’s location.  

Keen to maintain a family culture and grow the business from within, Andrew also plans to make some of the company’s agency workers permanent employees over the coming months. He is also growing the team with apprenticeship placements as well as recently appointing a compliance manager and several more tradespeople.

UPS currently has a turnover of £8m and is on target to increase turnover by £2m over the next 12 months.

Andrew said: “Graham broke down the planning process into pieces, so we found our own answers and formulated a plan. We’d not had a proper plan before.”

Graham said: “Andrew implemented all the things we discussed so that we could evaluate, modify and improve the actions during each meeting and keep things moving forward. He is a great guy and he deserves to do well, and I know he will.”

Graham continues to support UPS during the transition of making ASL a fully operational and profitable part the overall business.

Boost has received £3.8m of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for ERDF. Established by the European Union, ERDF funds help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations.  For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding.

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