A Templepatrick-based landscape and maintenance company has invested £1m to add 43 new vehicles to its fleet in response to a series of new contract wins. Danske Bank provided a six figure sum towards the investment.
Out There, which has recently rebranded from The Landscape Centre, was set up in 1981 with a strong focus on retail. Since then, the company has been taken over by Steven Thompson in 2006, growing turnover from £1.5m to £9m and currently employing 200 staff. The business has been diversified and is now a leader in the maintenance and landscaping sector.
Mr Thompson said: “Most of our work is in the public sector, with 80 per cent maintenance and 20 per cent landscaping. We took the decision to rebrand the company because we wanted to create an identity that would help us stand out from the competition, especially when we are working outside of Northern Ireland.
“Recently we secured our first contract in London with Viridian Housing Association. The contract will see us maintain 100 properties for a five year period. We’d like to get a foothold in Great Britain and have been tendering mainly in the south east. Breaking into new markets can prove challenging, but with those challenges comes opportunities.”
Northern Ireland is still a key market and the company has been awarded six Northern Ireland Housing Executive contracts for an eight year period. Out There has also successfully renewed a number of contracts with NI Water and Choice Housing in the last few months.
He added: “These new contract wins and renewals means we have safeguarded the jobs of 200 staff and we’re in a healthy position to grow the business steadily as we expand overseas.”
Looking ahead Mr Thompson said: “We want to see steady growth year on year and we’re currently targeting between 15%-25% per annum. We may be a small company but we certainly have big ambitions.”
Ellen Matthews, business banking manager of Danske Bank, commented: “Since taking over ten years ago, Steven has transformed the business from a local company into a multi-award winning firm.
“The decision to undergo a complete rebrand was a brave decision but it has paid off. The business continues to grow and under Steven’s management we are sure the company has all the right tools to make its mark overseas.”