Rapid growth keeps Exswift Fuels in the pink

A couple of years ago we chatted with Chloe Crofts, CEO of Exswift Fuels, a company, at that time, into its third year.

The fuel distributor expanding in a declining sector

With the domestic kerosene delivery business having grown almost exponentially in those first years, Exswift was, when we spoke in 2021, awaiting delivery of its 7th tanker and looking excitedly ahead to 2022 and the planned launch of a commercial arm. Margaret Major, Fuel Oil News managing editor, recently caught up with Chloe to see if things are still going to plan.

Everything’s growing

“A lot has certainly changed at Exswift,” Chloe began. “If my memory serves me correctly, we were awaiting delivery of our 7th tanker when we spoke, and we now have a fleet of 12 with 3 brand new ones due this Summer.”

The entire fleet sports the distinctive Exswift livery with bright pink cabs – impossible to miss on the roads and a great way to showcase the brand around the areas the company serves as Exswift expands into new locations.

“We have expanded our delivery areas and are now able to fully cover Kent and Sussex.  We have just launched a radio campaign on More Radio (complete with a cheesy jingle!) to introduce ourselves in Sussex, and customers there are beginning to recognise our eye-catching livery as we deliver to more and more.”

It’s not just the geographical reach that has expanded rapidly as Chloe explains: “There’s 26 of us in the Exswift team now!  The strong team we are building is one of the things I am most proud of.

Doing it Exswift style

Despite rapid fleet expansion, the business hasn’t found driver recruitment too challenging.

“Recruiting new drivers has been a relatively easy process for us – so far!” Chloe commented. “We typically recruit from outside of the industry, finding HGV drivers with the core values we find most important.  We then put them through any industry specific training before ‘buddying’ them up with one of our Driver Trainers to learn the ropes – Exswift style!”

The Exswift style also extends to customer service which Chloe highlights as one of the reasons new customers choose the distributor even in areas where it is a new name.  “The feedback we are getting points to two reasons why customers put their business with us – our very competitive pricing and the customer service we provide across the board.”

A new commercial division

“Another exciting development since we last spoke has been building up our Commercial division,” Chloe shares. “We have been busy establishing partnerships with other suppliers and expanding our product offering.

“It’s a very new initiative and we really hope to see it continue to grow and for us to strengthen our partnerships with our peers within the industry.

“We also now have our own artic, enabling us to deliver full loads in.”

“We are also continually reviewing the products we offer to ensure that, as a business, we are focused on keeping up-to-date with low carbon fuels and supporting our customers on any transition.  Kerosene has always been the main body of our business, but we also provide, derv, gasoil, GTL, IHO and now we are in the process of adding renewable diesel to the list.

“We haven’t seen a huge demand as yet, but I am happy to say it is growing.

“We also have our own branded additive ‘Burn Bright’ which is part of the Exocet family.

Giving back

“Another development this year has been an increased focus on our customers and communities to offer support in challenging times. Most recently we launched our ‘Win it Back’ draw. With the cost-of-living crisis this has, of course, been extremely popular.

 “All orders that are placed through directly are placed into a draw with one customer per month winning the full cost of their order back to use against their next purchase(s) with us.”

“The most common topic for our customers is price,” Chloe observes. “Especially after the market volatility over the last 12 months.” With price on their minds, it’s no surprise this incentive is so popular, and Chloe has also found herself benefiting: “It’s been such a lovely thing to do, enabling us to give something back to our customers in a time where people are worried about the cost of living.

“I’m sure that it makes me almost as happy as the winner when I visit to let them know that they’ve won back the cost of their fuel order!”

And it’s not just individual customers benefiting from Exswift generosity.

“We are also sponsoring the Child of Sussex awards this Summer which is very exciting to be a part of and which we are really looking forward to,” Chloe shares.

“It’s a truly lovely event designed to celebrate the achievements of children across Sussex.  This year’s event is being held on Friday 30th June at Knockhatch Adventure Park in Hailsham and I’ve heard that it has a circus theme.  We are really looking forward to attending.”

With business going so well, is anything keeping Chloe awake at night?

“Anyone that knows me knows that I live and breathe Exswift, so it’ll be no surprise when I tell you I struggle to switch off at night!  I try to see opportunity over challenge, though – so my mind is normally buzzing with ideas.

And expansion isn’t finished yet! “We are looking to secure an additional depot,” Chloe shares, with clear excitement.

“The next few years will be about securing the new depot and building that up and, as the landscape of our industry changes, helping our customers on a transition to greener alternatives.”