Worthing entrepreneur’s career change delivers new business
An impromptu career change into the world of outdoor garden decking – with no prior experience and during the height of the global pandemic – might sound crazy to some, but for Simon Crowter, it has delivered him a new business turning over £200,000.
The 46-year-old Worthing entrepreneur became a Lakeland Verandahs franchisee in June 2021, despite knowing virtually nothing about the home improvement market after spending 15 years as a logistics manager with a commercial transport business.
But his outlook on life changed forever when, tragically, he saw a fellow colleague fatally collapse, that took him to a new profession which he wouldn’t have thought plausible a matter of months ago.
“Witnessing a workmate pass away was a tragedy that will live with me forever. It had a profound effect on me. It made me reassess my own life and I just had an overwhelming urge to start all over again and do something completely different.
“I had no job and didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I studied different franchise opportunities and I’d heard so many good things about Lakeland Verandahs that I thought ‘why not?’
“It’s important to do something that you really enjoy and I knew that transforming families’ outdoor living spaces would be really fulfilling for me. I also knew that five other franchisees began trading at the same kind of time, so that gave me some optimism, too.”
Simon’s sales successes and targets
Despite what some might describe as a battle against the odds, Simon hasn’t just made things work, but has actually posted £200,000 of sales in his first seven months from customers across the whole of Sussex, not to mention Maidenhead, Guildford, Farnham and Gosport.
He predicts to bring in a further £80,000 of business in the short-term before his first full year is complete in July, where his 12-month target of £420,000 hasn’t been ruled out.
Simon puts his success down to being so hands-on by nature and keeping that simple philosophy of always having fun close to his heart.
“I do a bit of everything, including the sales side and then the installation process thereafter. I’ve never been afraid to get my hands dirty and I just love getting stuck in.”
Simon also pointed to Lakeland Verandahs’ superior solutions, which always resonate with customers when he visits to demonstrate each product.
“I think that there has been a lack of awareness of UPVC decking as a viable option because installations have always been synonymous with wood. The message is getting out there now though, along with the many benefits associated with our products, including no varnishing, sanding or the need to replace further on down the line.”
Level of support received from Lakeland Verandahs
The level of assistance he receives from the Lakeland Verandahs support team has also been worth its weight in gold.
“Even if I’m four hours away, a member of the team will be prepared to come down and see me and the strength of a national brand like Lakeland Verandahs really goes a long way. I have learnt a lot while working on site doing installations. We are learning and developing our skills a lot with the help from Head of Business Development Paul Yates.
“If you follow the guidelines and advice and work with them, there is no reason why it won’t work.”
For more information about Lakeland Verandahs and its franchise opportunities, visit www.lakelandverandahs.co.uk