PBM takes a look at the growth of Resapol which started trading a little over twenty years ago with a small loan and now turns over £20m.
Resapol has been built up over two decades by its co-founders Lloyd Phillips and Sean Ofsarnie, two northerners who accredit the company’s success story to three fundamentals: honesty, trust and happiness. These words are said to epitomise the firm and the foundations it has been based on, resulting in a business culture that has been developed of mutual respect between management and employees.
Indicative of the company’s origins, the co-founders of the business aren’t afraid to muck in and get their hands dirty at any level — earning not only the respect of the staff, but also affirming a positive impact on the company culture.
Lloyd and Sean met many years ago through the construction industry, eventually working alongside each other at Civmat Bauker. Following the company’s closure, they made the decision to set up their own business with the singular aim of distributing construction chemicals nationwide. The most immediate concern was finding the right premises; here they fell on their feet thanks to Jonathan and Phillip Moss who offered them a new unit in Leigh with no deposit (a facility that is just down the road from the current Resapol head office).
Resapol officially started trading on 1 December 1999 and the first couple of years “flew by”, with just Lloyd, Sean and Lloyd’s mum Jo, who took care of all the accounts and admin while the two founders swapped roles between taking customers’ orders and delivering them in a van. In 2002 Resapol took the big step to open a depot in London — a small 1,000 sq foot unit in stark contrast to the 13,000 sq foot cutting-edge premises it occupies in the capital today — with Lloyd and Sean commuting between both depots.
The big break in London came when a potential customer, CRL, decided to test its service by sending the company a fax order at 8am for 40 bags of product, needed on site by 10am. Resapol successfully delivered the order and secured the £400k-a-year business. This commitment to customer service levels still exists today.
A couple of years later, an opportunity arose to open the company’s third depot within Stockton-on-Tees. Further depots quickly followed, opening in Kent, Southampton, Leeds, Bristol and Glasgow.
Since Resapol started, both national and independent builders’ merchants have been key customers. Merchants’ local branches have been dealing with their closest Resapol depot, however, as the demand increased the business felt the need to create a centre specifically to support the merchant sector, offering a priority service.
Situated in the heart of London and headed up by Merchant Support Director Richard Lomas, the team provides sales and technical advice to builders’ merchants on all construction chemical needs, from practical product or application advice through to quote and arranging delivery. Indeed, the company’s commitment and focus on this area of the business has resulted in a 25% growth in sales to the merchant market over the last two years.
Co-founder, Sean Ofsarnie, explained: “Merchants need a quick reaction from their supply chain and by opening our dedicated Merchant Support Centre we are able to offer that. Our technical team are able to offer advice on even the most obscure of products and applications, therefore opening up even more possibilities for sales for us and the merchants we partner with. This is what makes them such an integral part of our business.”
Although 2020 was a tough year for the business, as it was for everyone within the construction industry, it gave the Resapol management team time to reflect on what they were doing and shine a spotlight on areas for further improvement and growth.
Re-investing into the business has always been deemed essential for growth, as co-founder Lloyd Phillips states: “We have always strived to be the best at what we do, and that requires continued investment in the company, including people, marketing and further developing relationships with our stakeholders.”
As the business continues to grow year-on-year, this continued re-investment and commitment to upholding its values while working closely with customers and suppliers will provide the cornerstones of the Resapol five-year growth strategy.