25/07/2012

By Edward Winterton, Executive Director At Bibby Financial Services

The business

Able Services PDM Limited, based in Kent, specialises in plumbing, drainage and maintenance services with a core focus on the leisure and brewery industry.

In the past year Able Services has been able to invest in restructuring the business by using funds advanced through an invoice finance facility provided by Bibby Financial Services, as well as winning several significant contracts to build for growth. The funds available mean the company has been able to equip five brand new vans, as well as updating the rest of their existing fleet.

The business now has an annual turnover of £1.6million and has seen a 30 per cent increase in staff numbers with a 7 per cent increase in profits year to date.

The challenge

Managing director Robert Menzies started his drainage and plumbing maintenance firm 14 years ago and as a family business it had been running successfully until 2010 when their biggest customer withdrew their business.

The heavy reliance on one large customer left the business in a precarious position with jobs on the line and no prospect of new business in the pipeline to fill the void.

The solution

In consultation with his family and business advisers, Robert took the decision to restructure and re-launch the firm in order to safeguard its future. The strategy from the re-launch in May 2011 was to focus on winning new business and the invoice finance facility in place gave Able Services the funding support it needed at that time, enabling Robert to achieve a smooth cash flow and invest for growth.

Robert said: “The challenge we faced was that we had all our eggs in one basket in effect, and when we lost our major customer the business was at risk.

“But, we were able to restructure and focus on targeting new business leads which saw us achieve a number of significant contract wins. This meant we were able to keep all of our staff on through that process.

“We took on new business from major breweries such as Marston’s PLC and Mitchell’s & Butler PLC, and even won back the contract from our biggest customer.

“The past year has seen a huge rejuvenation for the firm and with the support from Bibby Financial Services we have been able to secure our cash flow but also access ongoing funding as and when needed.

“The self-funding nature of our growth plan means that with new business secured and with most of the investments made following the current consolidation period our future is looking profitable and secure.

“Initially our aim had been to achieve business turnover of £100,000 a month, but we’ve seen a 30 per cent rise in staff and now we’re actually turning over £130,000 a month. Our aim now is to grow that to £200,000 a month.

“In our experience we struggled to get the support from the banks we needed because they wanted to see a full order book before they considered lending. Our strategy however was to grow by winning new business, that is why the invoice finance suited us so well because funds are only advanced on the strength of sales performance. It was a much more realistic solution to our funding needs.”

To learn more about Able Services Ltd and other businesses we support, please visit our video case studies page on our website www.bibbyfinancialservices.com