Edward Fanshawe on growing waste management company Skiptrips

Edward Fanshawe set up waste management bidding site Skiptrips in 2012 and looks to turn over £250,000 in his first year of trading.

How did you get the idea?

My wife and I were doing up a house and we noticed that it takes forever to get decent quotes for skips; there didn’t seem to be an easy way to connect good waste managers with customers and vice versa. Also, you often don’t know how good they are and what credentials they have. I decided to set up a marketplace where Environment Agency-regulated skip providers can bid online for jobs.

How did you finance it?

I have been involved in a number of different businesses previously so the majority is self-funded but we’ve just won £50,000 of backing from CO2Sense, a not-for-profit consultancy that helps businesses cut their greenhouse gas emissions.

How did you get the word out?

We had to get the suppliers on board to start with, and that was through direct contact. Finding them wasn’t easy, it’s not really an industry that’s heavily populated online. On the customers side, we did PR and online marketing, a lot of offline marketing and direct calling.

There are a number of ‘auction’ sites cropping up. Were you inspired by other businesses?

When you set these things up you don’t do them lightly and we did take inspiration from other companies with a certain setup. Still, this is a very specific industry and isn’t just about skips either, it’s about the waste management industry as a whole, from hazardous waste to metal recycling. We wanted to build a long-term supplier base that can support us as we grow into these markets.

Any challenges?

Getting the vision inside our heads onto a website. If you don’t have the skills to build the website yourself, which you are unlikely to have unless you’re a developer, taking your idea and translating it into a doable design and making sure that’s done properly is tough using external agencies.

What’s next?

Skiptrips will be an automated tender platform for waste management in the UK. Non-hazardous waste is a £9 billion market in the UK alone. International expansion is not applicable for many countries; there are some foreign markets to look at in time, but we’re very much focusing on the UK first.

Alan Dobie

Alan Dobie

Alan was assistant editor at Vitesse Media Plc (previous owner of smallbusiness.co.uk) before moving on to a content producer role at Reed Business Information. He has over 17 years of experience in the...

Related Topics

Business Growth

Leave a comment