City firm helping businesses bring down their costs
THE rising costs of doing business has created an ironic win-win situation for one Hull company that is set to continue expanding.
Launched three years ago as the UK hovered between recessions, Procuria was launched to help firms save money and manage their overheads.
It has already taken its customer base from zero to 2,000 clients and has a turnover of £3m.
Managing director Ian Legard has expanded from a one-man operation to a team of eight, and he confirms he is on course with a five-year plan for a team of 35.
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The Melton company works to cut businesses' overhead costs and will look after anything from food to finance and from trollies to telecoms.
Clients counting their savings include 800 Costcutter stores.
Mr Legard, who established Procuria in early 2010, said: "We aim to cut the cost of buying anything that a business would consider to be an overhead.
"We have increased our buying power by creating our own group, we operate a central billing system and we can provide direct debit services to help our clients collect the money they are owed by their customers."
Mr Legard said Procuria is now strengthening its sales and customer service team to deal with these increasing numbers.
The company is also building its buying team and accounts team, as it expects to deal with more suppliers this year and put more transactions through the system.
The businessman said he believed setting up in a recession was ideal.
He said: "People said I was crazy to start a business in a recession but it was actually the perfect time to set up a business that takes the hassle out of buying while also reducing costs.
"From a turnover of £140,000 when we started, we increased to £1.5m in the first year and £3m now.
"More people are beginning to understand that there is something they can do to bring down the costs of what they buy.
"Someone might save 25 per cent on something and someone else might just save the time they spend dealing with a lot of different supplier contracts."
Procuria believes it can increase its customer numbers to 2,500 this year, as more people find out what the business does.
The presence of a growing number of convenience stores within the Procuria client base reflects Mr Legard's own background – he spent 19 years with Nisa in Scunthorpe – which helps independent retailers remain competitive in the food and drink markets.
Mr Legard said: "I had a team of four and we were buying for 2,500 sites around the country.
"I figured that a lot of businesses in other walks of life could benefit from what we were doing.
"We knew about volume buying and about the methodology and as we have grown larger and stronger, we have found opportunities to improve what we do."