Growing business loses weight

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Four and a half stone lighter – the newly slimmed down Trevor and Andrew
Keeping busy
Eighteen months on from making its first deliveries of kerosene, the company has a real stronghold in the Wellington area of Somerset, is “very, very busy” and has grown considerably in size.
“We now have approximately 2,000 regular customers in the domestic, agricultural and commercial sectors,” said Trevor. “Although we operate within a 25 mile radius, encompassing west and south Somerset and east and north Devon, we are now trying to fine-tune it a little for ease and convenience. We have a good, loyal domestic base and pride ourselves on offering a good service.”
“We’re pretty much always on call and regularly have customers wandering in to the yard on Sundays wanting fuel. Our business cards say talk to us at any time but people assume this means we’re on site 24-7.”
Although Trevor and co-owner, Andrew Hewitt are happy to turn their hands to pretty much anything, they have found their own niche areas within the business. “I’m a bit more hands on and prefer being out on the road, making deliveries whilst Andrew’s happier in the depot doing the more administrative tasks,” explained Trevor.
Family affair
It’s a real family affair for Trevor and Andrew. Trevor’s wife, Daryl, does the accounts whilst Andrew’s father, Keith, who is retired, is in charge of marketing and regularly pounds the streets, handing out leaflets. Although Trevor’s children are too young to join the business, his 12 year old son is already showing signs of having inherited his father’s entrepreneurial skills. “He’s a real wheeler dealer and has a good grip on cash flow,” Trevor joked. “Having children has had a positive effect on the business – it’s amazing how many sales we’ve had through word of mouth from scouts and cubs and various kids groups.”
In addition to family members, Monument also employs one full-time and one part-time (casual) driver and has a relief driver for when they need a little extra help.
Equipment expansion
With three tankers on the books, Monument is looking to further expand the fleet. “We already have 18, 14 and 7 ½ tonne tankers but are on the lookout for another second hand 14 tonne tanker, so if anyone has one that they’d like to sell, please get in touch!!”
The company recently invested in an Alpeco loading arm for its gas oil. “It’s marvellous – it’s made a huge difference to operations.”
Although Trevor describes Monument as “an analogue rather than a digital business”, the company is looking to install some Cloud based software and expects to have Fuelsoft up and running by July 2013. The company also has a website and a Twitter account, “although we don’t tweet as much as we should,” added Trevor.
Reaping the rewards
Setting up a company has also had another, rather unexpected effect. “We’ve lost four and a half stone between us,” beamed Trevor. “We’re working non-stop and eating much better than when we were working for other companies. Regular hotel trips and company meals meant that we piled on the pounds over the years.”
Liz asked Trevor what advice he had for anyone wanting to set up a fuel distribution business: “Don’t do it,” he laughed. “No seriously, be brutal with your overheads to keep them under control and be realistic with your cash flow predictions – it’s the heartbeat of the business. It’s also important to find a supplier that you can work with and luckily we have that with Inver Energy who has been very supportive. We’re working harder than we’ve ever done but we’re enjoying it! It’s like a very expensive business course – if we pass, we get to stay in business.”