A YOUNG entrepreneur is forging a career with one of the UK’s fastest growing franchises.
Luke Ruddiman, 21, has opened up the latest branch of disaster restoration specialists Tempest Restoration at a new 1,200sq ft unit at Herbert Brown Business Park in Milnsbridge.
It’s a big step for the Edgerton man, who trained as a plumber and a gas engineer before working as a commercial catering engineer for Slaithwaite-based company Triline Contracts.
But he is determined to make a success of the venture – and is already considering taking on additional staff as the business grows.
“I always wanted to do something practical,” says Luke, who attended Huddersfield Grammar School and Huddersfield New College.
Working at Triline proved the stepping stone to setting up his own business. “They were a lovely company to work for,” he says. “They really looked after me, but I wanted to set up something for myself.”
Luke’s father, Tony – who has run a number of successful businesses himself – helped set the ball rolling. Luke had already seen how franchising provided a route into self-employment during a visit to the States. Last year, with Tony’s support, Luke decided to make a go of it.
Says Luke: “We went to a franchise exhibition in Birmingham last September and looked out for something that would not be too exposed to the ups and downs of the economy.
“We looked at franchising because franchises have a much better survival rate than the typical start-up business.”
Now Luke has the Tempest Restoration franchise for Huddersfield, Halifax and Bradford. As well as drawing on his own experiences in plumbing and as a gas engineer, he underwent an intensive training course to learn the skills necessary to run a business offering flood, fire and water damage restoration as well as carpet, rug and upholstery cleaning.
“Once you learn one trade, it is easier to branch out into other areas,” says Luke. “But you still need the proper training. I am more of a practical person than a ‘paperwork’ person and that has helped enormously.”
Luke, who only began trading after Christmas, says: “There has been a good response from local businesses, including carpet manufacturers, launderettes, hotels, estate agents and lettings agents who are keen to support local suppliers.”
Tempest Restoration offers a 24/7 call out service and takes on the role of helping people when they need it most – when their home or business has been damaged by a fire or flood.
He says: “You can end up being something of a counsellor for people who are distressed by the damage done to their homes and they become your friends because they know you are part of the solution, not the problem.”
And it is a demanding and expanding market. The record freeze of December, 2010, for example, left insurers with more than 12,000 claims a day – at a cost of £38m a day and £900m in property damage claims.
Tempest Restoration supplies its services to loss adjusters, building and property maintenance companies, housing association and insurance companies covering all major restoration work for domestic and commercial policyholder claims.
It saves insurers money by getting on site within 24 hours for a fire and four hours for a water damage claim and is one of the first companies in the UK to adopt industry-leading claims management software, which accelerates the way damage is assessed on site – helping to reduce claims life cycles still further.