By Claire West

David Jason look-a-like Fil Adams-Mercer left school at 15 and began his working life selling bruised fruit on a market stall before founding Parcel2Go – the UK’s largest online parcel company — largely to serve Ebay traders.

“The parcel market in the UK alone is worth £4.5 billion and we would eventually hope to have a £1.5 billion share of this,” said Mr Adams-Mercer.

Parcel2Go has witnessed 90% growth through the last twelve months of recession and the company currently turns over £17 million.

Parcel2Go are negotiating franchises in France and Spain and through their sister company, Headland Freight Services Ltd, are providing small traders with a new, cost effective way to ship from the Far East.

Mr Adams-Mercer has also added a Miami warehouse to his shipping empire.

“Most American websites will not deliver goods outside the US because of customs bureaucracy,” he explains. “British traders can use our Miami warehouse as their “address” when buying from American sites and we will arrange delivery on from there.”

The key to Parcel2Go’s success has been the heavy investment in a sophisticated customer relationship management (CRM) system. This has cost £2.5m to create, and a further £30,000 a month “and blood, sweat and tears” to run.

“Other companies chase parcels,” said Mr Adams-Mercer. “We chase people who may be delivering parcels in the future.”

Parcel2Go takes and co-ordinates orders online that are then fulfilled by Federal Express, UPS and City Link.

“There are many opportunities in continental Europe and we need partners to help manage this growth, so we are entering into the franchise market.”

Fil Adams-Mercer starred as one of the ‘Secret Millionaires’ in the last series of Channel 4’s show. He was dispatched to a cramped, dirty terraced house in Doncaster to experience what it’s really like to live on Jobseekers’ Allowance.

Mr Adams-Mercer, who is a cancer survivor, donated funds to the Firefly Cancer Charity and other local good causes in Doncaster.