WHEN it comes to running your own business, sometimes it is possible to have too much of a good thing.
That was the case for Islandmagee man Stuart Robinson, who was in charge of Lisburn-based company Wilson Civils Ltd for seven years. Initially a small company with just a few employees, it quickly expanded and before Stuart knew it, his business had “grown out of control”.
“I did not like the stress that came with being responsible for paying the salaries of about 100 people,” said Stuart, who has a background in civil engineering. “I would much prefer to run a small company with one or two employees.”
After leaving Wilson Civils Ltd, father-of-three Stuart found employment across the water in Edinburgh, where he was based for four years. But he found it difficult to be away from his family for such long periods of time and was eager to return home to be closer to them.
When he finally made the decision to return to Northern Ireland last year, Stuart began looking into setting up his own business, determined that this time he would keep it much smaller in scale and more manageable so that it would fit around his family life.
Not only that, he was keen that his wife Simone would be an equal partner in the business. So after bouncing a few ideas back and forth and carrying out some research online, the pair spotted a gap in the market and immediately set about establishing their new business, SkipSacks.
Stuart told the Times: “SkipSacks is a cost effective, hassle free alternative to traditional metal skips. It is a one ton bag which can be easily stored and filled with garden and household waste.
“Once you are finished with it, I collect it and take it away with the minimum of fuss. All you need to store it is a clear area of one square metre with a level, hard standing access of at least 1.5m wide.”
Not only does SkipSacks provide allow Stuart to operate a small business based from home, but he is delighted to be able to work alongside his wife, who looks after the administration side of the business.
But when it came to setting up the business, Stuart and Simone knew they were going to have to do it on a shoestring budget.
“It was going to cost in the region of £17,000 to get everything up and running. We didn’t have that kind of money and had no way to raise it, so we found ways around it. I bought the bags in bulk and stencilled our company name onto them myself, I borrowed a lorry, I hired a forklift and I had a friend set up the website. All this has allowed us to keep the running costs down,” Stuart added.
SkipSacks has been up and running since April and Stuart and Simone’s main goal initially has been to spread the word about their fledgling business.
“One way we have been trying to establish ourselves is by offering a range of discounts to ensure we are as competitive as possible,” Stuart said.
“For example, customers only need to purchase a SkipSack once, as on collection of their filled sack they will receive a complimentary one.
“We are taking a loss by giving out free sacks but hopefully it will encourage customers to tell our people about our business. There are also discounts for people who want to buy multiple SkipSacks.
“I am also offering extra services for a small surcharge, including picking up large bulky items alongside your SkipSacks collection.
“A one ton SkipSack equates to 14 standard black bin bags or three council wheelie bins, and I offer a fill or assisted fill service from £10.
“When your sack is full, all you have do to is call or email us and we will arrange prompt collection, starting from £35. The more sacks you have collected, the greater the discount.
““Once you have a SkipSack there is no time limit for you to use it. Simply store it until you are ready to fill it and once filled you can request a collection. Your SkipSack will be collected by a pallet truck or by a forklift, depending on the position and the suitability of the ground conditions.
“Not only is a SkipSack a great alternative to metal skips, it is also environmentally friendly, as we intend to recycle as much non-inert SkipSack waste as possible,” Stuart concluded.
To order a SkipSack or to find out more information about the business, visit www.skipsacks.com
You can also phone Stuart on 07530953232 or 028 9337 3512, or email firstname.lastname@example.org