Herts Review caught up with Jim Huntington, the energetic and friendly founder of Ironwood Flooring Services Ltd to talk about his 15 year old flooring business which he has positioned as the leading supply and installation flooring company covering Hertfordshire and surrounding areas of Buckinghamshire and London. You see Jim is a people person. He loves the experience of meeting new people everyday and working on a diverse range of projects.
Jim got into the flooring trade in 2005, after he had completed University and had worked in the Food industry in various role. He has an agriculture background and was always itching to get outside and back to nature. The flooring business was one way of achieving this goal. Setting off as a sole trader but working with a mate, he worked on smaller residential floor contracting projects in Hertfordshire but soon wanted to challenge himself a little bit more. With time, he focused on the London area undertaking a lot of midsize to large scale flooring projects as well as subcontracting which he thoroughly enjoyed. In 2012, the business became a Ltd company, as the staff strength and range of services continued to grow. It moved from just floor installation services to a bespoke supply and install business in St Albans and he and the team have never looked back.
Jim loves spending time with his family and never wants to miss out on family life. With changes in his personal circumstances as he had a young family, 6 years ago he decided to put down some roots opening a workshop/gallery for the business on a site at Great Sarratt Hall, Rickmansworth. This location has served as the base from which flooring projects are delivered across Radlett, St Albans, Kings Langley, Rickmansworth, Watford, Hitchin, London and other locations across Hertfordshire, London and Buckinghamshire.
Jim has successfully built a strong team that imbibes his values of honesty, hard work, transparency and putting the customer first. If you had a choice between Ironwood Flooring Services and other similar sized businesses, he is confident that Ironwood’s personalised and friendly approach will make them the obvious choice. He says “it is always important to have a connection with the customer. Once that connection is established and people trust you then they would do business with you”. Sounds simple huh!
It has not all been plain sailing though. When the business was in its infancy, he recalls committing to a massive project with a big company. Unfortunately, the company was too slow making payments and his working capital was stretched. These were difficult times and he has learnt never to place all his eggs in one basket. He has also mastered the art of building a strong team which means the business is stronger, more flexible and capable of adapting. He says, “it is important to have a team as it is never wise to do everything yourself”. In addition, it means he can take on more work and undertake various projects simultaneously. Some of the team have been with him for 10 years.
Ironwood Flooring Services have undertaken various projects – floor restoration, reclaimed flooring, supply and install of vinyl, laminate and wood flooring, luxury vinyl tile flooring amongst others for offices, shops, residential properties, schools, churches and village halls. They undertake both residential and commercial projects.
And how do they win business? Referrals. 80% of their business has come from referrals from previous clients and this is why they put the customer first in all their operations. The internet, social media – Facebook and Instagram have also been vital to the growth of the business. Not surprisingly there a lot of great reviews of the business across various platforms.
So, what does the future hold? Jim always dreamt of running a personalised business that offers bespoke services to his customers. He has nothing against being big or having a massive showroom in London or St Albans. The picture of his dream business is very clear, and the journey has already started. And while he covers all of Hertfordshire and surrounding areas, he is looking forward to doing more projects in the local area of Sarratt, Rickmansworth where the business is based. Adapting the business to be lean and efficient is also big on the agenda as covid has changed our way of life and the way businesses operate. He is also working on some exciting things in the background to be released in the last quarter of 2020. So, watch this space.
If he had to start all over again what would he do differently? He will be more strategic. He would put more time into planning and sourcing finance. With more strategic planning and funding, he believes he would have accelerated the growth of the business and perhaps achieved more in a shorter period.
If you are in or around Hertfordshire and you have a flooring project, then call on the friendly team at Ironwood Flooring Services for an affordable bespoke service. The team undertake both big and small projects. See photos of some of the great work they have done or check out their website.