Ex Space man strikes out into plumbing

Richard-Adlington-RadlingtonPHS crop
Richard Adlington has established Radlington PHS plumbers.

Richard Adlington, ex-key account director at Space Group, has taken the plunge and started up his own plumbing business after being made redundant from the distributor.

He established Radlington PHS with the assistance of a £7,000 start up loan delivered by alternative lending provider Finance For Enterprise.

Adlington’s 20-year career in the catering equipment industry saw him spend stints at Lloyd Catering Equipment and the Airedale Group, as well as Space.

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But when the first national lockdown forced the closure of the hospitality industry, orders at the latter distributor fell from 250 planned projects to just one. Adlington was made redundant and faced an uncertain future.

Keen to build a new livelihood, the aspiring Penistone-based entrepreneur found inspiration after spotting a post in a social media community forum asking for plumbing advice. He continued scrolling through the forum and realised the desperate plea for help wasn’t a one-off. There appeared to be a shortage of qualified and experienced plumbers in Barnsley. Drawing on the skills he first mastered as an apprentice, he decided to explore running his own business to meet the rising demand.

Despite having a wealth of industry knowledge, Adlington knew that working as a plumber was different to running his own business. With many different things to consider ranging from managing finance to building a customer base, he knew he needed help to tap into the new business opportunity. Support came from Launchpad, a programme designed to equip new business owners in the Sheffield city region with the skills needed to set up and run their own business.

Through Launchpad, he was introduced to Finance For Enterprise and working with experienced investment manager Ian Howson, he presented his business plans. Howson recommended that his business would be eligible to receive a start-up loan: a specialist lending solution designed to support pre-start and new businesses, enabling Adlington to secure the £7,000 investment his business needed.

Adlington said: “I knew launching a business would be a big step, especially considering the impact of Covid-19, so I decided to speak to the Launchpad team for advice. I knew I had the technical skills and experience to work as a plumber, but I also knew running my own business meant getting the fundamentals right from day one.

“Launchpad helped me to gain a solid understanding of what was needed such as understanding my legal and financial responsibilities, finding customers and even knowing how to use social media for business purposes. At the top of my list was finance: I wanted to get a solid grasp of my figures and understand what impact another national lockdown may have on my business idea. Working with my business advisor, I produced a number of different scenarios, all of which revealed the business would require some investment. Through Launchpad I was introduced to Finance For Enterprise and as a result, I’ve been able to secure the funds needed to open my business.

“I was apprehensive about approaching Finance For Enterprise for funding, especially as you hear so many stories about viable businesses not being able to secure lending, but my Investment manager made the process really simple and straightforward. Within just a couple a weeks, I received a call telling me my loan had been approved, and I was able to secure the vehicle I needed really quickly. Since then I haven’t looked back and I’ve steadily built up a strong local customer base.”

Ben Hawley, business adviser, Launchpad said: “Richard came to Launchpad with a clear idea how he wanted to build and grow his business but he wasn’t sure what steps would be needed to help him realise the potential in his ideas and he spent time taking part in wide range of training sessions and it was clear during our meetings that’s he’d spent a great deal of time developing and refining his ideas. The business plan he produced clearly illustrated a need for additional investment and the work he undertook enabled him to secure the funds needed to give his business the best possible start.”

While Finance for Enterprise’s Howson added: “It was clear from our first meeting that Richard had spent a great deal of time planning his business. The financial projections he used to support his application were well thought out and by producing figures which took into account the impact of Covd-19, it was clear that the loan would not only help him to secure the vital equipment and transport his business needed to trade effectively, but crucially also provided a cash buffer to protect the business during the pandemic.”

Tags : businessSpace Catering
Clare Nicholls

The author Clare Nicholls


  1. Congratulations Richard, a bold step but one that needed to be taken. Your past plumbing experience albeit quite a while ago will help you make a success out of this move. Well done mate.

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