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People’s Champion finalist 2018: H2O Hygiene

With a husband and wife team at its helm, this water hygiene specialist is achieving million-pound growth - the question is, does it have what it takes to be your People's Champion?

Start-up name: H20 Hygiene
Founder: Tom Davenport and Louse Davenport
Started in: 2017
Based in: Walsall
Business description: Water hygiene specialist that blends family values and 21st century practices

Shortlisted category:

Family Business of the Year

The H2O Hygiene story

It takes a lot of guts to leave a high-powered job and start up your own business, particularly with a young family. But Tom and Louise Davenport certainly aren’t regretting the decision.

18 months after the duo founded their own water hygiene business in the West Midlands, they’ve already rocketed past £1m turnover and their dream has become a roaring success story.

Having converted an office space in his garage, the Davenports started out with nothing more than a van, a laptop, a mobile phone and a contacts book.

In the first six months Tom clocked up 28,000 miles on the road to promote the business, which offers a combination of services from legionella risk assessments to plumbing and water tank installation. All the while him and Louise were was juggling work with their duties as new parents.

The proposition was, and is, simple. H2O offers a reliable and cost-effective service compared to the established market players and, as a family business, it strives to maintain the personal touch, its 24-7 customer service one its key points of advantage.

Davenport has 13 years’ experience in water hygiene and he has drawn on that bulging contacts book to hire a team of experts, building them into a ‘work family’ which is actually augmented by his own relatives.

Rather than seek rapid-fire growth through glossy marketing, the Davenports have been happy to progress steadily through word of mouth, taking pride in their high retention rate. Profits have been carefully reinvested in the business and new hires have been handpicked for their years of expertise.

Yet Tom and Louise have happily explored modern business practices to fulfill their vision.

Customer portals have been created online, allowing instant access to files; GPS technology allows H2O’s engineers to arrange visits by region; and an electronic paperwork system slashes the time spent on site. The company’s new fleet of vans is eco-friendly and staff are kept motivated with a plethora of incentive strategies, notably the ‘good idea’ scheme which rewards those who pull a killer idea out of left-field.

 The Davenports have swiftly progressed from sole traders to limited company, and the seven-figure turnover milestone has been smashed in just 18 months.

Now, plans are in place to migrate to larger business premises and invest in training, with Tom and Louise keen to develop an apprenticeship scheme. They are also hoping to create a network of ‘hot spot’ offices to build their brand nationwide.

Why H20 Hygiene made our shortlist:

The Davenports have brought their tight bond to their business lives and produced a business which stands out for its values and customer-first approach.

In an industry which is dominated by faceless corporations, H20 is charting a refreshing course.

Where to find out more about H2O Hygiene:

Website: www.h2ohygiene.co.uk

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