Glassafe Ltd: Ashley Lewis
Professionally installed temporary site protection for vulnerable surfaces
Tell us what your business does:
We reduce damage to vulnerable and often expensive finished surfaces on construction sites, for example timber floors, glazing and joinery. We offer professional installation of temporary surface protection, helping to prevent costs and time overruns.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
Working in construction for many years and having seen too much needless and easily preventable damage.
How did you know there was a market for it?
By listening to contractors and working with them to understand the cost versus risk benefit for a range of levels of protection for different surfaces for medium and larger projects.
What were you doing before starting up?
In 2003 I became MD of a fast growing building company carrying out premium residential and commercial works, and then in 2010 I started my own project management company.
Have you always wanted to run your own business?
Yes! I love the daily interaction with such a wide range of people as well as the diversity and complexity of the job. I’ve been self-employed for so long I wouldn’t do anything else.
How did you raise the money?
This venture has been extremely cost effective to get going. I have done as much legwork as I can in my own time before setting up and have used various outsourcing websites to help keep the costs at the right level.
What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?
The biggest challenge has been educating the target customer base of the benefits of taking action. My approach has been to get face-to-face with as many building contractors as I can.
Describe your business model and how you make money:
The business model is direct sales. Prices for our service include supply of the required materials and labour to install. We make money from our expertise and the quality of our installation service.
What was your first big breakthrough?
Winning a job for the protection of window glass in a very large refurbishment project in a private house in London. From that there has been interest from a number of other similar projects and I’m now looking to progress into new-build projects.
What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
Get off your backside and get going. You can plan and analyse until the cows come home but what really counts is action and sales.
Where do you want to be in five years’ time?
Being the go-to company for all quality contractors that are serious about delivering pristine jobs on time.