Business and IT consultancy Waterstons has swelled its ranks by a quarter after a rise in referrals stepped up turnover by 25% in 12 months to £6m.
The Durham-based services firm began life in the basement of Sally and Mike Waterston’s home in 1994, rapidly expanding as it took on a host of clients within the North East and further afield.
The company opened an office in London to cater to the demands of customers outside the region in 2011, and expanded further by opening a second Durham office last year, a move which has seen sales of their business almost double in three years, from ï¿½3.7m for 2009-10 to £6m in 2012-13.
The rise in revenues, attributed by the company to an increase in referrals from existing clients, has led to the team expanding through the arrival of 20 new recruits at its head office in Durham, taking the workforce headcount to 83.
Managing director Mike Waterston said there is scope to take on more employees in the coming months to aid the firm’s plans to grow sales by a fifth in the year ahead.
Waterston said: “Referrals from existing customers are the best indicator there is that we are doing something right.
“We focus a great deal on looking after our employees and customers alike and this has always resulted in a lot of referrals, but over recent years there has been a sharp increase in the amount of work we are securing in this way.
“We expect to take on 10 more members of staff but to be honest it could be as much as double this; if we meet talented people we will always take them on.
“Our forecasted growth for the next financial year is 20% so we need to grow the workforce in line with this to ensure we can maintain the excellent level of customer service we have become known for.”
Waterstons has attributed a great deal of its growth to the trend in companies outsourcing the management of their IT services, enabling the firm to provides a range of managed services offerings.
The latest expansion sees Waterstons take on 14 software developers and five technical services consultants as well as an account director charged with managing its customers from the transport sector which include Port of Dover, PD Ports, Port of Tyne and Newcastle International Airport.
The company was officially recognised for its working practices by Investors in People, which awarded Waterstons with its highest accolade, the gold award, for a second time last month.
The new recruits include Richard Begg who has joined the now 26-strong software development team as lead specialist in integration and software architecture, having joined from services company Serco.
Begg said: “Waterstons make some big statements about the benefits of working for them and I’m pleased to say now that I’ve started that I would agree it is a great place to work. I was initially attracted to the company by their focus not only on customers but employees too, and the importance of employee empowerment as a way to achieve results. There is a real focus on looking after staff which is evident as soon as you arrive at the office.”