The social media boom has triggered strong growth at a Tyneside building maintenance firm.
In the last 12 months revenues at Arcot Maintenance jumped from £114,391 to almost £200,000 as the UK economy continued to grow.
The Kingston Park-based firm, which deals with everything from minor repairs to major refurbishments and new-builds, said the rapid expansion had allowed it to create two jobs to expand its team to five staff and one apprentice.
Founder Chris Collins attributed much of the growth to a social media marketing drive which has led to the company winning several lucrative contracts. Arcot is active on Twitter, where it has more than 1,650 followers, as well as Facebook, which it uses to target residents who require repairs or upgrades to their homes.
Collins said: “Social media has been crucial to our success. We’ve had some great projects that have come directly from our work on Facebook and Twitter.
“We thought it was definitely an avenue worth exploring. You have to devote a lot of time to promoting yourself and tracking conversations and developments but if you’re prepared to put the time in, the rewards are there to be had.”
Collins said the firm had achieved double-digit profits in the last twelve months and would look to grow turnover to £300,000 in the next year.
He launched the business with less than £1,000 in December 2010, when Britain was in the bowels of one of the worst recessions in decades. Initially he focused on small-scale repair and maintenance work as householders and commercial property owners scaled back spending on building upgrades and extensions.
As the economy improved, however, he branched into renovations and re-fits, won more work from residential and commercial clients and took on staff as the orders flooded in.
Recent projects include the creation of a new porch and orangery at a Whitley Bay home, the conversion and extension of a student flat in Grainger Street, Newcastle and a kitchen renovation at the Beresford Arms pub in Whalton near Morpeth.
Major renovations and re-fits now make up a large part of Arcot’s current workload. But Mr Collins said he would retain the repair and maintenance arm of the business as a safeguard against future economic turbulence.
He said: “People tend to put all of their eggs in one basket and that’s something we’ve been careful not to do.
“Some companies in our industry focus only on the building work because that’s where a lot of the money is. They sometimes dismiss the maintenance work because it’s not as profitable.
“We will always keep the maintenance arm running so we can fall back on that if the economy suffers again.”