At just 22-years-old, Tony Pringle from Cupar set up TP Outdoor Cleaning Services and has clients across Fife, Dundee and Forfar.
Q. How and why did you start in business? After leaving school I was unsure as to what I wanted to do career wise. I always had an urge to run my own business but didn’t know how to go about it. I did some landscaping work and enjoyed it, but I decided to go to college and get qualifications. However, going to college during the day and working at night in bars didn’t suit me, so I looked into what might be missing in the local market and decided I could fill a gap in the market for a power washing business.
Q. How did you get to where you are today? Once I set up TP Outdoor Cleaning Services and got my van, word-of-mouth allowed me to get some early work on patios, buildings and decking. From there, neighbours of customers began asking me for quotes and a lot of people simply saw my van and gave me a call.
Q. Who has helped you along the way? When I first had the idea for the business I went along to speak to Business Gateway. My adviser Marissa Yassen was brilliant and helped me with various aspects of the start-up process including my business plan, bookkeeping, marketing and finance. She also helped me access a grant as well as a loan that I used to buy my van and equipment. I also had support from my brother who has his own business and gave me great advice.
Q. What was your biggest mistake? The first month I spent too much of my earnings as there were things I needed. I quickly learned that being sensible with money is the only way to run a business.
Q. What is your greatest achievement to date? I’m absolutely delighted with how things have gone so far. I’m securing work outwith Fife in places including Monifieth and Falkirk which has been fantastic.
Q. What do you hope to achieve in the future? My goal is to grow the business and expand into landscaping, offering services such as hedge trimming. Customers ask me regularly if I do these so I know there is a market for it. I also want to increase the amount of contract work I secure.
Q. Do you want to recruit in the future? Hopefully, I can expand the business and if the diary keeps filling up I’ll be in the position to take someone on in the next year or so.
Q. What is the hardest thing about running your own business? At the start, I was unsure of pricing and I found it hard to judge how many hours a job would take me. But, as I’ve done more and more work, this has helped me get this right.
Q. Any advice to wannabe entrepreneurs? Be sensible with your money and use a good accountant. Also, get support from Business Gateway who can help you in all different ways. I would also advise that if you need equipment, invest in quality.
Q. How do you relax? I really enjoy going on holiday and socialising with friends. I also like playing and watching football.