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Helping Hi-Way Services with business growth

Posted: May 18, 2010

With more than 25 years experience, Hi-Way Services is one of the largest independent road marking contractors in the UK.

Operating across the UK and abroad – Hi-Way Services has carried out works in Kenya, Lagos and could soon be working in Morocco – the company provides road marking services to local councils, NHS trusts, supermarkets and even the Ministry of Defence.

It also offers a range of specialist services such as car park marking, coloured surfacing design on things like tennis courts and playgrounds, traffic calming, installation of Cats-Eyes and even chewing gum removal.

The business has changed in the last few years. “Since gaining sole control of the business four years ago, I’ve tried to return to some old-fashioned principles,” says Andy O’Reilly, managing director, Hi-Way Services Ltd. “We put money back into the business, look after our people and build up our good name.”

The company employs around 35 members of staff, although this figure tends to fluctuate depending on the season. It is this seasonality that has made working with Burgess Hodgson so important. “The winter months are generally very quiet for us,” says Andy, “but we tend to do the majority of our business from March to September. It’s paramount that we make the most of our opportunities during this period, because that’s when we will make our money. It could also see our staff numbers swell to as many as 60 people.”

Given the specialist nature of the work, you’d think the market wouldn’t be that competitive. Not so, reveals Andy, who says that poor pricing strategies from some of his competitors, and a failure to deliver the right quality, means Hi-Way Services is often called in to complete works that other companies haven’t carried out to the right standard. “Rather than try to compete on price initially, we’re happy to stand back and rely on our reputation and quality of work which will win out in the end,” says Andy. “This is where having the financial information at our fingertips makes a big difference.”

Previously, Hi-Way Services’s accounts had been looked after by another large local firm. But, following a conversation with another Burgess Hodgson client, Andy decided to switch allegiance to BH, based on what he says was a competitive quote and the firm’s ability to not only be able to provide timely financial information but the business support that he feels had been lacking from his previous accountants.

“Initially, we asked Burgess Hodgson to prepare our year-end accounts,” says Andy. “We were very pleased, because not only were they done exceptionally quickly – our previous accountants had taken five months – but they liaised closely with our in-house accounts team to push the job through. The information the firm provided was excellent, but it was the additional element – providing a five-year performance breakdown – that made the difference. It was simple, well-presented and extremely effective.”

Not only that, but Burgess Hodgson has identified several areas where Hi-Way Services could make significant cost savings. “They marked up the price we spent on gas, and we realised we were throwing a lot of gas away in half-filled bottles,” says Andy, “so we’re now putting in a gas filling station. We were also alerted to the significant amount of money we spent on paint. As a result, we are now changing our stock. It’s been a real eye-opener.”

Andy says the quality and expertise is the best he’s have found in 20 years of trading. “Burgess Hodgson ask for our input on all matters, all the way through to our end of year accounts. Often, people look at accountants and what they do as if it’s rocket science: it isn’t, but the difference is Burgess Hodgson show you it isn’t.”