The first lockdown that came as a result of COVID-19 brought with it several disadvantages including redundancies with approximately 695,000 people said to have left company payrolls since March 2020. Mark Townsend, founder of Hi-Line gutter cleaning, became a part of that statistic after facing redundancy in May. Fortunately this encouraged Mark to start up his own business which has remained a success six months down the line.
1. Can you tell me a bit about yourself and the position you found yourself in job wise as a result of the COVID-19 initial lockdown?
I worked for a company called ‘Van Monster’ for the last 6 years as a Branch Manager selling on used vans. When the news of COVID-19 struck and the UK went into a lockdown, I was put on furlough. During this period we had several conference calls where they kept us updated on the business, but unfortunately, on one conference call in May they announced that six of the branches were closing, including the Cardiff branch where I worked.
2. How did you ‘bounce back’ from this? What inspired you to start your own business?
Redundancies seemed to become a common occurrence all over the country, it was clear that trying to get a job in the current climate wouldn’t be easy. It was then that I decided to spend some of my savings on a specialist gutter cleaning hoover and start up my own business. With my experience of working in sales, I decided to start knocking on doors and generating business. Since then I have printed my own company’s leaflets and created a website. I am far from being rushed off my feet but work is starting to become more steady with plenty of my customers coming to me as a result of recommendations.
3. Were there any challenges you faced when setting up your business?
No, fortunately as I had a well paid job I had been able to look after my money and build up savings plus I knew I had redundancy money to come. Any new business takes time to get established and I was aware of this. But having my sales background was a big help as I don’t mind going door to door to get work. Although I do have about a weeks work ahead at the moment I did not take into account that the weather can seriously hamper me working but as long as I keep in touch with the customers they understand. Although work can be up and down I think that after a year of doing this things will be much better next year as I will have my repeat customers and new customers and hopefully my business can get to a stage where I can hire someone else and invest into another van and other equipment.
4. What piece of advice would you give to someone who has lost their job or is looking to start up their own business?
As for advice for anyone else in my situation, all I can say is never give up. If you really want something then go for it. The harder you work for something, the better things can become.
Mark’s business, Hi-line, provides gutter cleaning, facia and soffit cleaning services and can be contacted via –
Mobile – 07403486201
Email – email@example.com
Website – www.hi-lineguttercleaning.co.uk
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