IN THE COMPANY OF: Rob Whellans, Managing Director of Harrogate Access Platforms Ltd

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In this week’s edition of ‘In The Company Of’, the Harrogate Advertiser speaks to Rob Whellans, Managing Director of Harrogate Access Platforms Ltd.


Name: Rob Whellans

Age: 54

Rob Whellans, Managing Director of Harrogate Access Platforms LtdRob Whellans, Managing Director of Harrogate Access Platforms Ltd
Rob Whellans, Managing Director of Harrogate Access Platforms Ltd

Birthplace: Sunderland

Job title: Managing Director

Company name: Harrogate Access Platforms Ltd

Company address: 30 Hookstone Grange Way, Harrogate, HG2 7BW

Rob Whellans, Managing Director of Harrogate Access Platforms LtdRob Whellans, Managing Director of Harrogate Access Platforms Ltd
Rob Whellans, Managing Director of Harrogate Access Platforms Ltd

Company founded: 2007

Turnover: £200,000

Number of staff: 2


In a nutshell, what does your company do and how did it start?

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Following a varied career from being a professional footballer, to launching a window cleaning company, I eventually launched Harrogate Access Platforms in 2007 after identifying a gap in the market.

I have worked in both leisure and health and safety and realised that whilst companies supplied platforms to hire, few provide a full service.

Saving companies and people literally thousands instead of having scaffolding, our platforms enable us to access even the remotest areas on buildings and roofing, and our reputation in the area has fuelled our growth.

What's the most surprising thing about it?

People see my role as a specialist, but I simply love my job and enjoy what I do.

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We enable people to keep the pound in their pocket, by resolving maintenance issues both immediately and effectively.

Some of our clients are even changing the exterior of their properties to enable us to access difficult parts as they know the difference it makes longer term saving money.

What do you do in the business?

Literally everything, but as a result I have learnt so much.

I am a people person and that is what our foundations are built on.

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People know they are in good hands and will be looked after.

Working with my son, I am also able to show him the ropes and we make a good team running a family business.

How did you end up here?

My career actually started as a professional footballer, leaving school at 15 and going to play for Leicester City.

I subsequently played for Bradford City, Hartlepool, Rochdale and Harrogate Town.

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My aim was always to score thirty goals a season and I usually managed it.

After getting divorced, I needed a change in direction for a career and set up a window cleaning business which ended up having over 1,800 clients and a fleet of vans.

Managing people was not my preferred role though, so I branched out into maintenance initially, but soon realised platforms were the way to go.

As I am fully trained in fire regulations and health and safety, this forms an integral part of my job when inspecting buildings and property.

If you weren't doing this, what would you be doing?

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I would probably work in leisure as I am always active, despite having a heart attack last year.

My spare time involves jogging, keeping fit and park runs.

What motivates you?

Having grown up in care, I have learnt a lot from not having a supportive family around me.

I also grew up in a very rough area in Sunderland, so when I did have children of my own, it not only changed my world overnight, but my family are also the most important thing to me.

Everything I do is for them and revolves around them.

What one thing do you wish you had known when you started out in business?

The amount of admin and VAT that it would involve.

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I am a doer, not a desk worker, so I am glad that I can now hand that side of the business over to my accountants.

What excites you about business?

My reputation and being the best.

As a footballer I always wanted to excel and at one point I could have gone to any club.

My business is the same – built on my reputation – because if you are good at something then the money follows.

We provide a unique and personal service in the area.

What is your pet hate in business?

The standard phrase ‘while you are up there can you just…’.

I always survey the whole area we are working on anyway and would always advise a customer if additional work needed doing anyway.

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Unlike others, we photograph all the work we do, so clients are never in doubt as to the extent of the work we have carried out.

What advice would you give to people just starting their careers?

Knowledge is power.

Learn, research and make yourself the expert in the field you want to work in.

Who in business do you most admire, and why?

I have complete respect for Blade Access as they graft for their money, and also never let me down.

What moments of your career so far stand out?

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Buying my 33 metre platform and basket as it has transformed the work we can do.

What sets your company apart from the competition?

Our personal service, level of knowledge and running a satisfaction led company.

We always deliver unlike many of the nationwide companies whose focus is only on profit not the customer.

What is the most difficult challenge your company has faced? And what challenges are you experiencing at the moment?

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The first 6 months in business and getting the hang of running my own company.

Now we are the leaders in the area with four attempts to buy us out last year.

Have you got a five-year plan for the company?

I would like to grow the company to expand to the Leeds area, but all in good time.

I love what I do and do not want the company to lose that personal touch.

Why is it good to do business in Harrogate?

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This is my home and one I am proud of after a difficult childhood.

Yorkshire folk also like saving money and that is exactly what we are able to do for them without unsightly scaffolding and with immediate access to resolve their roof issues.

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