Recruitment firm’s ambitious growth targets after navigating a challenging 2020

Recruiting the right people for your business is one of the key components in making it a success. For Go2 Drivers, based in Colwyn Bay, that ethos is critical. Providing talent for the logistics sector has been its central aim since it was founded in 2011.

Here, managing director Christopher Hughes gives an overview of the company’s history and shares valuable advice for others setting out on their own entrepreneurial journey,

 


Tell us about Go2 Drivers
Fundamentally we’re a recruitment and employment agency, with our HQ in Colwyn Bay. We started out as Driver Hire (Wales) in 2011 – a name that’s self-explanatory, but we wanted something to reflect who we were as a company. We became GO2 Drivers in 2017, having previously traded as Driver Hire Solutions for two years, after one of our main clients continually told us we were their “Go to people” for drivers.

Since then, we’ve expanded the sectors we serve and launched two new companies: GO2 Personnel and GO2 Training. The three companies are referred to collectively as GO2 People.

 

Unlike national employment agencies, we have a strong understanding of the local and regional business scene. This helps us to quickly find the right people for the right roles, so our clients’ organisations can continue operating smoothly.

This local knowledge also means we’re well placed to find job seekers the roles they’re best suited to. We look beyond the CV to identify whether a candidate is a good fit for the company as we think this is just as important as skills and experience.

 

I head up all our operations and manage our staff. We have 10 people based in our office and more than 100 remote employees, a number which speaks for itself when you think about how we’ve grown since I founded the company. I’ve always loved leading companies and building them into successful enterprises, which I’ve always done since I started out in business in my teens.

I bought a fish and chip restaurant in 1987 for £22K when I was 19 and grew that into a business which turned over £7,000 a week, which I then expanded through purchase of an adjacent business. I sold that in 2003 for about £300,000 and went into the transport industry as a C1 lorry driver.

 

It was here that I spotted a niche in the market for additional driver support, and I had a real appetite to get back to being an entrepreneur. So in 2010 when the company I was employed by restructured I decided to take a redundancy offer and start Driver Hire (Wales). It seemed the ideal opportunity to get back to running a business.

In our first year, we had a turnover of £200,000. By our fourth in business we were up to more than £800,000.

We took a real hit to the business in 2015 when one of our main clients decided to restructure, which meant excluding agency requirements and going to zero hours employment contracts. This meant a potential loss of £400,000 turnover.

We had to move to bring in a business partner to look at sales, and the company name was changed to Driver Hire Solutions until it was finally changed to GO2 Drivers in 2017. By 2019 the business grew to circa £2.5m turnover with additional clients, and also the ‘lost’ client came back onboard – bringing back £500,000 in turnover with them.

 

In late 2019 we decided the partnership needed to end so I bought out those shares and became sole owner and director. Our 2020 turnover stands at £2.7m and with projected growth remaining unchanged, we’re set for a £3-3.25m turnover in 2021.

 

What are your proudest moments in business so far?
I think it’s being respected by our clients for being a quality service provider, rather than what you might call a “bum on a seat” agency. We’re valued by some of the UK’s leading companies so that means a lot to me personally, having founded the company, but I think it also helps staff understand their hard work is paying off and means we’re doing the right things.

 

What challenges have you faced in business?There was a point where the chemistry with my former business partner wasn’t good. And we had to work out an exit. That gave me a lot of pause for thought. It’s been a huge learning curve.

Then this year, we’ve had to deal with the pandemic. Like almost every business, it’s affected what we do. Business has remained steady, but that doesn’t mean it’s not taken a hit. Before COVID-19, growth for Go2 Drivers was on course for 50%, but that’s not likely to be around 22% now, which overall is great news during a very uncertain period. Our financial partners were amazed that the company had done so well during the pandemic months.

Go2 Personnel suffered because part of that division’s work was in tourism. But we took on two new members of staff with recruitment experience in 2020 and business now looks to be picking up again.

 

If you were starting again, what would you do differently?
I wouldn’t enter into a partnership again, that’s been a major learning for me, and would only change anything if I was given good advice first.

 

How has support from Business Wales AGP helped your business?
Being part of the Business Wales AGP has provided a huge amount of help and expertise to our business. We’ve had coaching on a wide range of business functions. It’s been so helpful for us and embedded plenty of good practice within the firm as well as ensuring we are well placed as we target new growth.

 

What advice and guidance would you give other businesses starting out?

  • Work hard to drive business growth and never take your eye off the ball when you have built up momentum and a stable business.
  • Have a clear focus on what you aim for and never allow yourself to be thrown off course by unexpected events.
  • Your staff ARE your business, so treat them with respect.
  • Be passionate about what you do.
  • Employ management you can trust.
  • Always believe – glass half full at all times!


To learn more about Go2 Drivers visit here.

Further information on the Business Wales Accelerated Growth Programme

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