Kent IT start-up wins six-figure London contract and targets leap in turnover

Finance agreement with Bibby Financial Services central to InstallITcom’s growth

Local businessman David Tester overcame the blow of redundancy by setting up his own company and, with the help of Bibby Financial Services, has this year gone on to bag a six-figure contract.

David, from Maidstone, Kent, was made redundant by a company installing computer infrastructure in 2012. “It was completely out of the blue,” he recalls.

But later that year David took the life-changing decision to become self-employed. “I had 18 years of experience under my belt, and had always wanted to run my own business – so I thought, why not?”

David set up InstallITcom in October 2012, installing data cabling and wireless networks for residential developments and commercial buildings. Now trading for two years, David has recently seen his business flourish with a significant contract win.

“In September, I picked up a big order to install the IT infrastructure at a new block of 155 flats on London’s South Bank. It looked to be a great project, and I was really pleased to have won the tender,” he said.

However, when David found that his new customer’s payment terms were two months in arrears, he thought he would have to turn down the work due to cashflow limitations.

“I didn’t have the funds available to pay up front for the materials and labour it would involve. I found myself in a gridlock, which was maddening,” said David.

David applied for a loan extension from his existing bank, but they told him he was not eligible as he had not been trading for long enough. It was at this point David went to see his local Chambers of Commerce in Hastings, where he was advised to look into specialist invoice finance for businesses operating in the construction sector.

David was put in touch with Bibby Financial Services, who were able to help by offering a Construction Finance facility, which provided the cash upfront he needed, against his expected future payments.

With work on the new flats to be completed in the spring, David is now targeting a third year turnover of £450,000, up from £125,000 in his first year of trading.

“Running your own business is very hard work, but also extremely rewarding and enjoyable. At the end of the day it’s all down to you and what you can achieve. You hold your own destiny in your hands, so when you have a challenge that is overcome, it’s all the more rewarding”, David said.

Helen Wheeler, Managing Director for Bibby Financial Services Construction Finance, said David’s experience is typical of young, growing businesses working in the sector: “Many people find setting up their own business rewarding. However, difficulties often arise when a big job comes in and cashflow isn’t available to cover the initial costs.

“There are options out there, however, to help businesses stay in control of their finances and keep their cashflow looking healthy. In January 2014, we celebrated 10 years of providing finance to the construction sector and since 2004, we have supported the growth of over 1,200 sub-contractors and businesses working within the sector.”