“ART is prepared to take a higher risk than the banks in backing businesses to support and create jobs.”
Keith Ascough, John Day and Glenn Rivers set up RAD Window Services in 2007, each bringing a different specialist skill to the business: Keith – finance, John – installation and Glenn – sales and business planning.
“It was a competitive market and we started out with no customers,” recalls Keith, “but we were keen to try our hand at running our own business.”
The three did well, building relationships with Housing Associations and local builders and winning commercial contracts to supply glazed windows and doors in PVC and aluminium frames.
The business was growing when one of its major customers had a change in procurement policy – opting for large national suppliers over small local suppliers. The loss of business posed quite a challenge. “No matter how hard you work to rebuild the business, or how optimistic you are that you can replace a lost customer, there is a time delay which can cause cashflow problems,” explains Keith. “We did win a significant contract, but then there was another gap before business picked up, so again we faced cashflow problems.”
Looking around for finance, Keith came across Finance Birmingham. “Ours seems to be a difficult industry for raising finance,” he says. “We have mostly commercial customers so can’t use factoring or some of the other more traditional routes. Finance Birmingham deals in larger loans than we needed so they referred us to ART Business Loans. It seems ART is there for businesses like us that don’t meet the criteria for other financers.”
Keith found the process of applying and receiving a loan from ART quick and efficient. “They were really good,” he says, “and I would have no hesitation in going back for another loan should we need one.”
For now, RAD Windows is growing again and has moved into making its own double glazed units for doors and windows. “It gives us more control over quality and enables us to react more speedily if any glass gets broken,” Keith explains. Glass expert Colin Potter has joined as a director to oversee that aspect of the business.
“With help from ART, and others, we were able to keep going and are now out the other side of that challenging period caused by the loss of a significant customer,” says Keith.