Dereham motorhome business offering Latitude comfort thrives

Whether it's offering a dry place to sleep for Latitude festival or a support vehicle on a long distance bike ride, a motorhome business has grown to become a major player in the region by making the most of its opportunities.

Fundays Hire was set up four years ago by Peter Lattimore, after he spotted a gap in the market, and is based in Fakenham.

'I worked for a local mobile home dealership and they were taking three or four calls a day for motor home hire and they refused to do it so when I left I thought it was a niche worth exploring,' he said.

'I did a bit of research and had another job at this point but I wasn't enamoured with it and I realised I could run the motor homes business alongside it.'

Mr Lattimore bought his first four berth motorhome, a �22,000 2004 Autoquest 100, in February 2007 with the aid of Business Link, a government backed group set up to help companies like his own.

But his first big break came when he got in contact with a London based motorhome firm who also were turning down enquiries. After contact was made, they started referring their business to him, and by the end of that first summer he was getting three to four enquiries a day and finished the summer season with a turnover of �11,000.

Since then, things have taken off for the business. Aided by his partner Sarah, and other firms ended their own motorhome hire services, he slowly expanded his fleet by a process of selling off one older home and replacing it with two.

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The 61-year-old, who lives in Guist, said this was key to his business plan.

He said: 'It's a gradual progression of increasing volume, because if you go in too quickly and don't get the demand you can end up with �40,000 motorhomes sat not doing anything.'

And now, with the help of another business group, the Fundays Hire his fleet has grown to five, with a predicted turnover of �70,000 for this year.

Mr Lattimore discovered a more cost effective route to expansion at a Finance for Business conference hosted at the St John's Innovation Centre in Cambridge.

Finance for Business mentor, David Byford, introduced Peter to an asset finance specialist who helped him secure his two most recent mobile home through leasing, meaning he could pay back the cost of the �35,000 motorhomes over four years.

Now, with the biggest fleet of motorhomes for hire in Norfolk, was inundated with books for the Latitude festival and is looking forward to a rosy future.

'You don't have Glastonbury next year but there is the Olympics, and the thing about mobile homes is they're a convenient and flexible accommodation offer.

'Things have gone better than I expected and every time I replace one motorhome with two it's a gamble but then again business is a gamble.'