Published on Wednesday 10 February 2016 in Van Heroes
When asked why they set up their own business, knowing that you can do a better job yourself is a common theme among our Vanarama Van Heroes. John James White is no exception. He knew that in establishing his now flourishing business, Eco Roofing, he could create a better working environment to do a superior job for customers. Based in Croydon, Surrey and specialising in zinc and copper roofing, John and his team of sheet metal workers, travel in their fleet of vans to install amazing zinc and copper roofing to customers across the South East. We spoke to John about his business:
When did you start trading?
I began trading locally just eight years ago and the business has sky-rocketed since!
What's great about working for yourself?
Having been in the industry a while I knew a lot about the margins involved in the roofing business. Being my own boss means that my team and I can benefit from the power I now have to distribute the margins more fairly.
Any particular challenges?
As in any small business, especially the building trade, the work comes in ebbs and flows. When you work for yourself you have to make hay while the sun shines. Inevitably, you'll sometimes have too much work, sometimes not enough. Late payment is also a hot potato – waiting to be paid is often the challenge which I need the most patience for!
Best business tip?
Learn to let go. Running your own business is hard work, delegating to people you trust so you don't have to worry about every tiny detail yourself is vital. I would also advise getting a spare mobile for weekends and holidays – leave the business phone in the desk draw.
Greatest business success?
Handing over a well-executed job to a client is always satisfying. I'm especially proud of Sir William Atkins House in Epsom, a £500,000 project which was pretty challenging and completed in a very limited timescale. The result was a great building, a happy client – a job well done!
QUICK FIRE QUESTIONS
Dream superpower: Jedi powers
Favourite drink? Becks
Favourite sports team: England
Favourite holiday destination: Italy
Dream car: Lamborghini
What would you do if you won the lottery? Buy my wife tickets for the rugby world cup final
Prime Minister for the day? I would make it law for people to use their indicators, especially on roundabouts – it's a dying art!
John and his team rely on a fleet of vehicles to help get to jobs on time, every time. John's latest acquisition is the tardis-like Ford Transit Custom, enabling him to load in items up to 3 metres long - or fit in 3 Euro pallets. Essential in a business like his. If you are interested in the Transit Custom see our latest deal here: