As it continues to expand with the addition of four more staff, along with its relocation to two offices in Preston and Chester, the company’s founders have set out its future ambitions as the firm approaches its 10th anniversary.
With the addition of four hires this month – Rachael McMonagle, Simon Gummer, Daniel Lawson, and Lone Bech Nielsen – the property and construction firm has taken its staff numbers up to 20, marking a significant milestone for the company.
Founded 10 years ago by Gary Melling and Ken Jones, the directors describe the transformation of the business as a “sea change”; as Melling says, “to go from being based out of a back bedroom to where we are now is phenomenal”.
Formerly based in Warrington, the company secured a six-figure funding deal from the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund to support its expansion to two separate offices; one in Chester, and another in Preston.
These offices opened in September last year in a deliberate choice to improve the company’s coverage regionally and to focus on key clients, rather than moving to a single central office in Manchester or Liverpool.
Melling says the move has made it “easier to attract staff to the business” with three hires also joining last year from JLL, Cowan & Co, and MJ Mapp, and the directors added they were still on the hunt to add around three more to the team after a year which has seen the company’s turnover hit £1m.
“There’s a big change between being based on an office park and being part of a community like we are in Preston and Chester, and encouraging local spend and closer relationships with local businesses”, he adds.
Asked whether the growth of the company has been tough to manage, Jones said the expansion has been “methodical” rather than “rushed” with both directors “conscious we’re responsible for people’s livelihoods”.
“Growing too fast can dilute quality so we are making sure we put all the necessary quality management processes in place as we do that”, says Jones. “We want to be known for being a quality firm, not necessarily the cheapest, across all of our service lines. Our staff are our best asset and we don’t want the business to just be about churn”.
Clients the business currently works with include Renaker, where it is party wall consultant on the developer’s Deansgate Square scheme, while its largest client is care sector property developer Fairhome Group, where Jones Melling began by providing advice on acquisitions before expanding into project management.
Other clients come from a variety of sectors and include Debenhams, Topps Tiles, the House Crowd, and M7 Real Estate, as well as a number of law firms.
“The business has to be fluid, and based on how well our clients perform,” added Melling. “We have very close relationships with clients and these are stepping stones onto bigger platforms. But we need to remain flexible and open minded, and to make quick decisions.”
Adding more service lines beyond project management, building and residential surveying, and quantity surveying, is something the company is exploring, including looking at expanding its 3D imagery offering along with adding architectural technologists.
Projects the company has helped deliver include finding a site for Haydock Commercial Vehicles; the company has now relocated to Warrington. It also supported First Recruitment’s relocation and refurbishment of its 20,000 sq ft office in Cheshire.