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Organic Growth 25 profile: Iain McCallister, CEO of Man Commercial Protection

Now with almost 2000 staff, a £50 million turnover and a £2.1 million EBITDA, Man Commercial Protection's growth has been impressive. From initially providing security for bands such as Oasis and Paul Weller, find out how the company has achieved its growth since.

Revenue growth: 109%

Sector: Security

Location: West Midlands

MAN Commercial Protection is a security provider specialising in all areas of manned guarding, including CCTV, keyholding, concierge and events. The company operates UK-wide across a variety of sectors, including logistics, transport, corporate, distribution, retail, and public sector. It attributes its growth to its excellent reputation in the industry, its passion for customer service and putting its people at the heart of everything it does.

How has your business evolved since it started?

We started in 1993 with some small guarding contracts, then 1996 was a big year for us. That was when we started looking after pop groups, such as Ocean Colour Scene, Paul Weller and Oasis. Because of my background in boxing - I boxed at a good level - we also started to supply security to the Frank Warren shows, which we still do to this day. It's been a continual contract all the way through the last 29 years. In fact, March this year was our 29th anniversary of starting the business. Since then, we have grown to just under 2000 staff, with a £50 million turnover and a £2.1 million EBITDA.

How have you managed to achieve such huge growth over the years?

So far, everything has been through organic growth. Our USP has always been making sure we do everything so the customer's happy. Our whole growth has been through word of mouth and continuing to work with companies that have grown themselves. In the early days, our focus was going out and winning contracts, then about 12 to 13 years ago, with our continued growth we employed a dedicated operations team. That was a big turning point for us: by recruiting and employing contract directors based around the country, we weren't just parochial around the midlands, but we could work on a national scale. We've got contracts all the way up in Scotland to all the way down on the South Coast and numerous sites around London.

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Iain McCallister, CEO

What have been your biggest challenges to growth?

Over the last 18 months it has been recruitment due to COVID and Brexit. Our business is people: we get people out on the ground. I've got a recruitment department that works tirelessly trying to fill slots and trying to get people in. It didn't help with Brexit and it certainly didn't help with COVID combined. But if you speak to any industry, whether it's chefs, distribution, supply chain, hospitality, they're all saying the same thing. Working really hard, keeping going and also paying extra - such as sponsoring recruitment adverts - is how we've managed to get through it.

It's an old cliché about having a good team, but it's massive, and a massive reason for our growth. And have passion - if there's no passion, there's no point!

How else were you impacted by COVID?

It's interesting because for us, we never had any of the government support - we had minimal amount of furlough and didn't take any of the business or recovery loans. We just continuously worked flat out throughout, and what we did more than anything was work even harder and even smarter throughout the whole pandemic. With lockdown, the events side of our business was impacted. But on the other hand, we also supply security to big distribution hubs. With people working from home and ordering online, those orders have to come through the supply chain, so a lot of the distribution centres we look after really grew so we were a lot busier. From March 2020 we were also working for companies that supported the NHS supply chain providing PPE. During 2020 and 2021 we had definite growth.

What would be your advice to other entrepreneurs on how to grow their business?

Work hard, stay focused and surround yourself with the best possible people. Whether that's in finance, HR, accounts, surround yourself with the right people that buy into the same ethos as you do. Because at the end of the day, it is an old cliché about having a good team, but it's massive, and a massive reason for our growth. And have passion - if there's no passion, there's no point!

What are your plans going forward?

I've said within the next five years that I want to double the turnover. So I want to get over £100 million and I believe we can do it. A lot of that will be down to acquisition and strategically aligning with other companies. But my big, big thing within the next five years is to double the turnover and continue to grow.

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