If you can’t find a job, you have to create it, was the philosophy that launched 24-year-old Adam Pilgrim into business in 2011.
That can-do attitude has led Adam to success, both in his fledgling garden maintenance firm ANP Services and in the Spalding Guardian’s Local Business Accelerators competition.
Adam was one of three winners that can look forward to mentoring from local business, legal and financial experts as well as an advertising package worth hundreds of pounds.
Adam – and fellow winners Glass By DnR and GiftsOnline4u – will also be put forward to win a national prize of a year’s mentoring by business ambassador Deborah Meaden, of BBC TV’s Dragons’ Den, plus a £10,000 cash sum from the Business Growth Fund.
Adam had been employed, first as a mechanic and then as an industrial furniture fitter, until redundancy in late 2010.
By 2011 he decided to go it alone, possibly influenced by his father and uncle who have always carried out lawn mower repairs.
Adam admits there are a number of people already doing garden maintenance, but says he can offer some services not offered by others.
For instance, some of his clients have set up automated payments, such as standing order or Bacs payments, so they don’t have to worry about paying bills.
On top of the usual garden maintenance he already carries out, Adam is constantly looking at ways to expand the service he offers.
Later in the year he will be offering more specialist services, such as weed control in lawns, and by the spring he should be licensed for weed control on driveways.
He says: “That’s another thing you have to take a test and be licensed for following a two-part course. I think a lot of people don’t realise how much the industry costs to be in.”
For instance, to comply with Environment Agency legislation Adam has a waste carrier’s licence, which allows him to get rid of anything except hazardous materials, such as oils, flammables, explosives and asbestos.
He said: “That means if I take down an old garden shed I can dispose of it. There is a big organic recycling place at Crowland that turns garden waste into compost.”
Naturally, there is a charge involved, on top of the cost of fuel and Adam’s time to dispose of the waste, something not always appreciated by the public.
Nevertheless, Adam takes pride in approaching the work in a professional manner, and says: “I want to grow the business from where it is now. Work fluctuates and is just starting to get busy again now.
“I’m hoping that by the end of this year I’ll be able to take someone on at least part-time because it’s a more efficient way of working.”