By Rachel Sixsmith
Fountains’ ballooning grounds maintenance division has helped put the company back on track, its new chief Richard Haddon has said.
A year ago the support-service company mainly focused on its rail track work, such as removing trees from the lines, and was losing money. But Haddon has told Horticulture Week that a host of multi-million-pound grounds maintenance contracts gained last year have quickly boosted profits.
Haddon, who joined Fountains last year, said: “A year ago we were losing millions. We had some terrible contracts because the customers and the dynamics of the market changed — and we didn’t change with them. It really opened our eyes. We realised that we needed to offer a broader service. We always focused on quality — we just weren’t making money out of it.”
The company realised that its clients preferred contracts that included a range of services, from on-the-spot cleaning to tree cutting and grounds maintenance. Haddon said: “Our operations had to start mirroring what our customers want, which is to have control.”
In the two years since it changed its approach to cover a broader range of services, Fountains’ grounds maintenance division has grown from its smallest to its largest sector. Long-term contracts have taken its value to £16m — compared with the £10m rail division.
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