To take a company and triple its turnover is no mean feat. To do it in four years and keep a good sense of humour is impressive. To also have two children in the same space of time, is, frankly, amazing, writes OM’s Duncan Little.
Yet that’s exactly what husband and wife team, Sarah Haseler and former Royal Marine, Travis Chiddle, have done.
It’s been nearly two years since I first met them having walked through the doors of their business, Right Price Windows, based in the Newnham Industrial Estate, Plympton.
“The time has flown past, hasn’t it!” says Sarah as I take a seat in her well organised office (home to a number of light hearted and colourful posters). We chat generally about how life has changed for them both since 2013.
“We started with one staff member making windows and we have now expanded to the point where we have an excellent core team here. There’s been increased automation with state of the art computer systems to keep track on every part of the business.”
The software allows them to be more efficient than their competitors, keeping them ahead of a constantly changing industry (where their standards meet the exacting requirements set by developers).
The company’s good fortune has been down to the dedication of the team. Travis says being successful is nothing to do with luck but is achieved through sheer hard graft.
“When we first started we would be here until ten at night,” says Travis. “The record was to finish work at four in the morning having started at seven the previous day.”
He has a succinct message for budding entrepreneurs seeking advice: “Success only comes about through hard work, determination and your passion for the business; together with strong motivation and a belief in your ability to be the best.”
These are the key ingredients which have helped them on their way to achieving a strong company grounded in solid ethics and good working practices. The predominant factor has been sacrificing their personal time and investing it in the firm’s growth.
“You stay at work on a Saturday night and you never have the chance to switch off even though you’d like to do so,” continues Travis.
Being a proud mum and dad is also a key part of their drive. (Theo is their youngest and is just three months old. He’s nestled into his dad’s arms as we quietly chat over mugs of coffee. Their eldest, Aneila, is coming up to her third birthday).
“The real secret to success is not losing focus on your family life and your children and so to remember the important things in life which helps you to drive forward on a daily basis.”
It’s the company’s enthusiasm and its youthful approach which is getting them noticed in the wider building industry. It’s allowed the independent retailer to rapidly grow and so set their sights on the goal of moving into new, bigger premises later this year.
Their expansion has also led them to be a Eurocell approved fabricator – which is the leading brand for UPVC windows in the UK.
As such, the standards they can provide are exceptionally high as the product’s qualities are its robustness, durability and its long lifespan. It’s also environmentally friendly with a low carbon footprint, and consists of parts constructed from recycled material (tested to rigorously high standards). It’s something which is certainly excellent news for the environmental conscious consumer.
Helping people is very much at the core of Right Price Windows’ business plan. And, with the recent cold snap, more and more clients are turning to Sarah, Travis and the team to ask them to replace conservatory roofs with cost effective Guardian Conservatory roofing.
Not only does the end effect look good but it’s also great for keeping conservatories warm during the cold winter months (and also cooler during the warmer summer weather).
The domestic market is growing for Right Price Windows as home owners opt away from selling their property and are increasingly deciding to invest money on having better insulation or on improving the appearance of their properties.
It means that Right Price Windows are the number one ‘go to’ people in the area and, due to their high standards, products are manufactured on-site using British hardware to ensure consistent and excellent quality in their work.
It’s seen repeat business from customers (some going back to more than 20 years ago when the company was under different ownership).
Travis and Sarah are always keen to see the profits being reinvested back into the firm so they can nurture its continued growth. As such, there are now 16 members of staff with access to a fleet of six vans.
The expansion has led to an increase in their patch as their work is being sought across Devon, Dorset, Somerset and Cornwall.
It’s a far cry from their original professional backgrounds. Travis trained as a Royal Marine and did five and a half years’ service in the military – which included a stint in Northern Ireland.
He left the Service ten years ago and is very proud to have served the Nation. It means the family are keen to support the current and former military community of Plymouth (and so offer a discount for them).
Travis reflects on his time on the military and says he believes the training to become a Royal Marine, together with the wearing of the coveted ‘Green Beret,’ gave him the confidence, and ability, to do what he is doing today.
Sarah’s past was based with one of the country’s leading television production companies, located in Plymouth, where she worked in marketing, multimedia production and account management.
“Their way of thinking had a big effect on me,” she says. “Many of my former colleagues have built up their own businesses by working in what was an entrepreneurial atmosphere.”
“We soaked up the type of thinking which leads to success and it gave me an insight into how to run a business, with an open way of thinking, being aware of the possibilities which are out there. It made me want to be successful.”
Looking back to her previous workplace allows Sarah the chance to reflect on where she is today. “I never thought I’d be doing what I now do but am so pleased that my life has taken this pathway which has allowed me to prove myself in what is traditionally seen as a male dominated industry.”
Sarah’s one piece of escapism from her strong work ethic is her performances as a singer. Her group, Jaded Angel, has been consistently popular over the past six years. They perform a variety of classic rock and pop hits at weddings and functions across Plymouth and the surrounding area. She practices in the workshop area and the team’s factory manager also joins in (upon occasion)!
With an expanding business and a growing family, Sarah and Travis certainly have their work cut out! Yet, one thing is clear, their business acumen, sheer hard work and dedication to customer satisfaction means this year will surely be one of their most successful yet.
Call: 01752 344052 | Visit: www.rightpricewindows.co.uk | Find us: 15 Kay Close, Newnham Industrial Estate, Plympton, PL7 4LU