After his father sold the firm, Alex stayed and worked for the new owners, before realising he could do it himself, and better. He approached a fellow businessman who dealt with hazardous waste disposal, and together they combined their skills to offer a complete package of waste management and recycling. “We put the hazardous knowledge from him with my recycling knowledge, and decided to go out and do it all ourselves,” Alex explained.
Total Recycling Services does exactly what the name suggests, handling liquid waste, recycling, and general waste. Alex said: “Basically there’s nothing on somebody’s site that we couldn’t collect and nothing that we couldn’t also handle ourselves.”
The business has seen year on year growth, working with household names like JCB and Nissan, and employing around 100 full-time staff.
Last year TRS took a £6.75m investment from the Business Growth Fund, an investment which is set to see the company acquire other businesses. Alex explained, “It has allowed us to invest more in the infrastructure of the company, but the bulk of the finance we took from them was to grow the business. We are now looking to make an acquisition, buying one or even two companies out.
“We are moving down the line with one particular company at the moment, and will definitely be making an acquisition in the next 18 months.”
This new acquisition won’t be the first that TRS has made, three years ago Alex bought out his family business. “I like being in control of where the business goes and how it grows. I’m one of those people who still enjoys coming into work every morning,” he said.
It is exactly this passion for business which has driven the company forward through some turbulent times. Alex told BQ: “We’ve really grown the business through the recession. We launched at a time when a lot of businesses were shrinking, and we were expanding at that time, which wasn’t easy to do.
“The industry as a whole has faced challenges. You only have to look at the news to see that. Like any business, we have experienced peaks and troughs, but luckily, it’s been mostly peaks.
“We are doing extremely well and we’re so confident that we are looking to make acquisitions and grow quite rapidly.”
Alex attributes the success of the company to planning ahead and always being prepared for those ‘troughs’, saying “We have always had a contingency and we always have investors behind us. We keep our overheads down to a minimum so when prices do fall or certain customers go through a bad period, it doesn’t affect us as bad as it would affect companies who haven’t planned ahead.”
Speaking of planning ahead, the company is already looking ahead at the next three years, Alex said: “Size-wise I’d like to think we will be at least double, if not greater. I’d like to think over the next three years we will double in size, double in staff numbers and double the number of customers we have. That sounds quite ambitious but when you look at what we have done in the last eight or nine years it does feel achievable.”