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By annabelle dickson Business writer
Thursday, October 11, 2012
The founder of King’s Lynn-based Network Waste has seen its turnover rise to £10m in its first decade in a growing market for waste disposal.
Chris Dear, who set up the waste brokerage business in 2002, has seen dramatic growth since he started as a one-man band in a prefabricated building in a builders yard.
The business, which has its headquarters in Bergan Way, has won work with big national companies including social housing repair group Mears and insurance company Liverpool Victoria.
Mr Dear said that about 90pc of the business was with other businesses, but it did have a private skip hire business which accounted for about 10pc of its sales.
Mr Dear, who employs about 30 people in Norfolk, sends all his staff to the College of West Anglia in King’s Lynn to complete an NVQ level two in customer service. He said customer service is a key philosophy for the company and partly accounts for its success.
He moved from the food and drink industry into the waste industry.
He said: “I had worked in the waste industry for a short period of time and the customer service levels were terrible.”
“The shock I had was dramatic; I realised there were opportunities in the waste industry to operate with a much higher level of customer service.”
And he said it is his reputation which has helped the company to grow.
He said: “Part of the reason I have grown is through word of mouth. I have done very little PR. We have worked hard to develop relationships with existing customers.”
As a broker, the company does not have its own sites or vehicles, which Mr Dear said allowed it to be more flexible.
He uses a network of 12,000 approved suppliers.
He said: “We have got a system that allows us to use our most local supplier and we are particularly good at paperwork. Our customers have a responsibility to record who their waste carrier is.”
He also stressed the importance of recycling for the firm, which he said only sends about 5pc of waste to landfill sites.
With a reputation as one of the toughest people in business, many stores would shudder at the thought of getting the Mary Portas treatment.