At just 22-years-old, Tony Pringle from Cupar set up TP Outdoor Cleaning Services earlier this year and now has clients across Fife, Dundee and Forfar.
How and why did you start in business?
Since leaving school I was unsure as to what I wanted to do career wise.
I always had an urge to run my own business but didn’t know how to go about it.
I did some landscaping work and enjoyed it, but I decided to go to college and get qualifications.
However going to college at day and working at night in bars didn’t suit me and I realised that further studying wasn’t for me.
I thought back to what I enjoyed and I liked landscaping and working outside.
So I looked into what might be missing in the local market and decided I could fill a gap in the market for a power washing business.
How did you get to where you are?
Once I set up TP Outdoor Cleaning Services and got my van, word-of-mouth allowed me to get some early work on patios, buildings and decking.
From there, neighbours of customers began asking me for quotes and a lot of people simply saw my van and gave me a call.
I quickly set up a Facebook page but majority of work I get is still from referrals.
I secured a contract during the summer months with Cupar Community Council which was fantastic and a real confident booster.
Who has helped you along the way?
When I first had the idea for the business I went along to speak to Business Gateway.
My adviser Marissa Yassen was brilliant and helped me with various aspects of the start-up process including my business plan, bookkeeping, marketing and finance.
She also helped me access a Prince’s Trust grant as well as a loan that I used to buy my van and equipment.
I also had support from my brother who has his own business and gave me great advice.
Your biggest mistake?
The first month I spent too much of my earnings as there were things I needed.
I quickly learned that being sensible with money is the only way to run a business.
Your greatest achievement?
I’m absolutely delighted with how things have gone so far.
I didn’t expect to get quite as much work this early on, so I’m really proud that I’ve already built a customer base.
It’s also been fantastic that I’m securing work outwith Fife in places including Monifieth and Falkirk.
Hopes for the future?
My goal is to grow the business and expand into landscaping.
My idea is to start by offering services such as hedge trimming then start on larger projects.
Customers ask me regularly if I do these so I know there is a market for it. I also want to increase the amount of contract work I secure.
Do you want to recruit in the future?
Hopefully I can expand the business and if the diary keeps filling up I’ll be in the position to take someone on in the next year or so.
What is the hardest thing about running your own business?
At the start I was unsure of pricing and I found it hard to judge how many hours a job would take me. But, as I’ve done more and more work, this has helped me get this right.
Advice to wannabe entrepreneurs?
Be sensible with your money and use a good accountant.
This doesn’t have to be expensive and it’s definitely worth it.
Also get support from Business Gateway who can help you in all different ways.
I would also advise that if you need equipment, invest in quality.
Don’t go for the cheap option as in the long run it will cost you more money and potentially lose you work.