A County Durham franchise of a national company is quickly exceeding expectations after seeing turnover jump by 40% in its first two years.
Lisa Fleming bought the DL franchise for Driver Hire, a national network providing recruitment services to the transport and logistics industry, in 2011.
What started out as a sole business with a small army of drivers has turned into a four-man office team based at Carlton House, on Aycliffe Business Park, with more than 100 drivers on its books.
Driver Hire Darlington now supplies drivers to around 30 clients in the DL area.
The firm started with an annual turnover of £220,000 in the year ending December 2011. By 2012, that figure had risen to £240,000 and this year it is expected to jump to £380,000 – a rise of 42%.
The firm’s performance is now outpacing its original business plan and Fleming has already appointed new business development assistant Joe Carpenter to her team. David Symington, who has been with the company since June 2012, meanwhile, has been promoted to recruitment consultant manager. Fleming now plans to create two new jobs in the next few months to help her cater for a growing client base.
“I set the company up as I felt I could make a real difference to the local transport and logistics industry,” said the 34-year-old, who had previously managed a number of distribution centres before setting up her own business.
“Having worked in the industry for a lot of years and after sharing the frustrations of local firms growing increasingly frustrated with the poor service offered by other organisations, I felt I could do a better job and offer a really top service.
“I started out running it by myself and I’ve slowly added members of staff as I’ve gone along.
“We now have four, including myself, and I want to appoint two new administrators in the next few months to ease the workload and to help us expand the business even further.”
Symington added that the transport and logistics sectors were currently approaching a “watershed moment” as some drivers refused to take tests introduced in recent legislation.
As a result, the industry could see a critical shortage of drivers in the coming years.
“As with many new pieces of legislation, some people have chosen to ignore this, thinking it will disappear or be scrapped,” he said. “This is not the case.
“With the lack of new drivers coming into the industry and with more online retail businesses needing to move product, this could prove to be a critical few years for our sector.
“At Driver Hire Darlington we are starting to see a lot more interest from companies and drivers with regards to the Driver CPC training that we offer.”
Driver Hire has around 100 offices providing recruitment services to the transport and logistics industry.