Conversations of Inspiration: Sarah Linskey

by | Apr 1, 2021 | Business, Community

The Teesside construction company making their mark on the industry.

The family-run construction company, Ace Concrete Flooring Solutions, are accredited, trained and insured installers of flowing screed, concrete and underfloor heating. With years of experience in the construction industry, they provide a high quality concrete and screed pump and fit service to their clients across the UK. Last month marked their fourth year in business and in that time they have seen impressive growth thanks to their hard work and resilience in a tough and competitive industry.

Owned by Shane Parkinson and Sarah Linskey, the couple certainly didn’t have the easiest of starts to their journey when they launched the business in 2017 and have faced many bumps along the way, however their passion for what they do and ability to persevere through the start up business challenges mean they are now In their strongest position yet and have some exciting growth plans for 2021.

We chatted with Sarah to find out a little more about her inspirational start up story and what her and Shane have learnt along the way. It was so refreshing to hear such honest answers from Sarah about how hard business has been at times and the resilience It has taken to get to where they are today. Here at The Tees, we’re sure many people will agree that owning a business is often glamourised and people can be given unrealistic expectations of just how hard it is to make a business work. So it really is nice to hear true and honest words from Sarah…

Tell us a little about your start up story, Sarah

What a rollercoaster journey this business has been so far. Especially as we didn’t set up Ace Concrete Flooring Solutions by choice! My partner Shane had ambition to set this kind of business up, but never did we think it would happen. He was working for a professional and successful Screeding Company based in Richmond, which was where he learnt this niche trade and gained all of his work experience over a number of years. Unfortunately, when the day came that he was let go from this company with immediate effect, we had a tough decision to make as to whether we give his ambition a shot or he just applies for work elsewhere. As a couple with two young children, a house to run and no other source of income, it was a scary thought.

We sat at the kitchen table one day, our second child in my arms only seven months old, me on maternity leave and the realisation of no immediate steady money from Shane’s job. I wasn’t due to start back at work for another few weeks and was due to work a month in hand before receiving some money worth little more than the current maternity pay I was on. We put Shane’s last week of wage towards buying tools and equipment along with selling our car (a blue Fiat Punto worth a massive £800!). We managed to get a second hand Volkswagen caddy van to put tools in and travel to jobs.  We then sourced a pump company that would come to our jobs and pump in the concrete or screed each time whilst Shane laid the floors. This was really costly to do but at the start we had no choice. To buy a new screed pump it’s £30,000 and £110,000 for a concrete pump. Given we had £0 to our name as it was all in the back of a caddy van we didn’t have much choice. Nevertheless, Shane began training me about the products and the industry so I could work on the sales, admin and business development. This must have been hard for him as I had zero experience in this industry and my background was in the food production industry! I made thousands of phone calls and constantly got confused about the products for some time. But we just gave it 100% each day and worked as hard as we could which us led us here today. At this stage, we had no idea we would still be around. It’s crazy when we look back and see how far we have come in such a short space of time. We have still kept our first leaflet and our magnetic van signs to look back at!

You recently celebrated your fourth year in business… what factors do you feel have contributed to your success?

Determination, hard work, resilience and lots of lessons learnt. It really hasn’t been an easy ride for us as we didn’t start with a large pot of money or equipment. We had to build our business from nothing and it grew in such a short space of time. Setting goals throughout our journey has given us something to achieve and after the success of each one, we then set another one to work towards. Our first achievement was to purchase the smaller screed pump.

What challenges have you faced and what have been your business highlights so far?

I’ll give a very honest answer as it really hasn’t been easy for us. We have been very unfortunate and had quite a few customers go into liquidation/bankrupt in business from very early on, leaving us to clear up the mess which is something we have always done and never walked away from. We have also had some bad experiences with suppliers who have walked away from their mistakes and left us to sort things on our own which we are proud enough to say we have stood by and sorted. We aren’t the type to just give up and walk away. 

The highlights are the amazing projects we have been on, the amazing customers we deal with and how much return business we get. We are also proud that we have been able to purchase a Putzmeister screed SP20 pump and a Putzmeister Roline Concrete pump all within two years of business! It has been nice to be able to give back to the community. We have given to charities and also sponsored people in charity boxing events, one of the Darlington children’s football teams and one of the children’s Yarm Rugby clubs.

What do the next four years look like for Ace Concrete Flooring Solutions? 

We are currently in the process of being accredited for a new product on the market which I don’t want to discuss just yet as we are still learning about it and putting the feelers out to our customers. It is really exciting for us because if it takes off it can save a lot of time and money. With the pandemic ongoing, we are hopeful to still be standing strong in another four years and possibly be able to own our own unit and yard. We also have brilliant projects coming up and we are looking forward to starting on another care home project this year.

Any advice to others looking to be a success in the construction industry?

Although it seems daunting, just give it your all and take a leap of faith. If you’re good and passionate about something and if you work hard you can make it a success.

If you would like to find out more about Ace Concrete Flooring Solutions and their services, you can contact them on the methods below:

Website: https://aceconcreteflooringsolutions.com/

Email: aceconcreteflooringsolutions@outlook.com

Call: 01642 801 599

 


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