Professional Builder concludes its focus on new business start-up, Camberford Construction.
After a year of keeping you all updated on how things have been panning out for my fledgling business, Camberford Construction, the time has come to say goodbye.
It’s been a pleasure sharing the highs and lows with you and Camberford is in a much better place than when I started this column. The order books are full, the jobs are higher spec and I’m happy with the direction we’re taking as a business.
It hardly seems like yesterday since I started this column, but here we are, twelve months on and – finally – I’m finding myself taking on the role I had imagined I would when I started.
I founded the business about two years ago having been a contracts manager at my old firm and, going into it, I thought running things myself would be pretty similar, involving plenty of costing, management and working with clients.
As it turns out, running your own building company from the ground up involves all of those things, and much (much!) more.
As we’ve expanded and taken on more, and different kinds of, jobs, I’m finally getting back to a more managerial position and really, if I want to kick on, that’s where I need to be.
I don’t mind getting my hands dirty but given the mental stress running your own business brings with it, it will be a welcome change to no longer simultaneously put my body through the ringer. Being able to steer the direction of the company, instead of constantly dealing with stuff on the ground, is our plan for expanding the business.
Camberford now employs eight people full time, and when it gets really busy, the number of people on our sites can be double that with various sub-contractors. It’s a massive responsibility but I’m relishing it – if you’d asked me in 2015 if I’d be happy with a big team and a regular pipeline of work, I’d have bitten your hand off.
Aside from re-learning my way around a tool box, the last couple of years have been a massive learning curve for me more generally.
The biggest surprise – though it really shouldn’t have been a surprise at all – is that this job isn’t anywhere near as easy as people told me it would be. I was expecting the technical things to be tricky, but it’s the nitty gritty that’s been really demanding.
Whether it’s being the guy dealing with clients every day, haggling on the price of materials, arranging to get those materials delivered on schedule so that things can keep ticking over – you don’t switch off at 4pm anymore after a hard day’s work.
You’re near enough always working, organising, coordinating – things you only get good at through experience, both good and bad.
What’s made all the difference has been the people who have provided me with their insight and knowledge. You learn a lot from those who’ve been around the block a few times, or from people who have expertise in areas that you don’t (for instance, an accountant I am not.)
Being a member of the Federation of Master Builders has been a big help to that end. I’ve had a lot of excellent technical support through my membership and the amount of time and hassle they’ve saved me has been a huge help.
A massive thanks to everyone who has followed my story!
For more information on the FMB click here.