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Audio interview: Norfolk fire safety firm eyes £3m turnover with van investment

09:45 09 January 2013

Roger Sparrow, left, and Gary Potter, directors at E-Fire at Wymondham. Picture: Denise Bradley

Roger Sparrow, left, and Gary Potter, directors at E-Fire at Wymondham. Picture: Denise Bradley

Archant

A Norfolk fire safety firm has invested £45,000 in a new fleet of vans and taken on extra staff as it strives to become a £3m-a-year company after witnessing “significant growth” in its alarms business.

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Wymondham-based E-Fire has nurtured a rapid turnover spurt from £250,000 in 2009 to a forecasted £1.5m this year by combining alarm sales with its long-established fire extinguisher business.

The company was taken in a new direction in 2009 when Gary Potter, Roger Sparrow and Graham Lewis joined owner Kerry Boyd.

And in addition to decades of experience in the fire safety sector, they are now hoping this success can burn even brighter, following the £45,000 investment in a fleet of vans, and a new customer management system, in a bid to hit a £3m turnover target.

The firm bolstered its workforce in December with the addition of three new alarms engineers, taking its staff numbers to 17 permanent workers at its headquarters on the Bridge Industrial Estate, and 12 sub-contractors nationwide.

Roger Sparrow, joint director of E-Fire, said: “To hit our growth targets we will have to expand, and the rough rule of thumb is to bring in an employee for every £100,000 of business.

“So, if we are going to hit those targets then it is going to mean an additional four or five members of staff.

“Within our alarms growth, we have had massive expansion in the installation and contracting for specialist alarm fitting. There was none of that before, and now it will make up 50pc of our alarms business.”

The directors’ fire safety experience dates back to 1993 when Mr Sparrow and Mr Potter held senior roles at Briton Fire, based metres away from E-Fire’s current location.

Mr Potter then moved to Norwich-based firm UK Fire in 2004, before they both joined E-Fire when the UK Fire was bought by the former property and financial services giant Connaught, which went into administration in September 2010.

Gary Potter, joint director of E-Fire, said E-Fire was keen to expand its regional reach, as well as taking on more national business.

He added: “We have seen such significant growth in the alarms side of the business that we are struggling to keep up with the pace, and we want to keep the service we provide with the current people we have.

“We had wanted to be up to £3m in three years, so we are a little short because some customers came and some customers did not. But we are now the national supplier for Ford UK – to think a little company like us could do that.”

E-Fire interview

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