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    BigChange: Tell us a little bit about your background, how you got started in the industry and some of your most significant accomplishments?

    Jordan Woods: I left school at the age of 13 and joined a Work-based Learning programme in Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC). After persuading Daniel Robinson, a Director at Industrial & Commercial Heating in Leeds, to let me work for free for a number of years I was finally they given an apprenticeship at 16. Without Daniel giving me that opportunity, I would never have got into the HVAC industry. It just wouldn’t have been a possibility. I was named Apprentice of the Year at college and went on to gain a degree in Mechanical Engineering (HVAC).

    I was fortunate to launch Woods Building Maintenance nearly 8 years ago in 2011 after being made redundant in my previous position. I had a young family to support and times were tough. My first client was a plumbing job in Harrogate that made me a profit of £13. But I was determined to succeed and kept working hard to grow my business.

    Within 7 years I was employing 35 people and had transformed Woods into a £1.5 million-revenue business. I sold Woods to B38 in November but have stayed on as Head of Operations, so for all intents and purposes, nothing has changed and I am still the driving force behind the business. I am also currently recruiting up to another 20 gas engineers, plumbers and electricians.

    I consider the number of people I have employed as one of my most significant accomplishments, as well as hitting the one-million-pound turnover mark. Most companies don’t achieve this so early and it was a really big moment for me and the entire organisation.

    BigChange: How has your relationship with BigChange enabled you to give over your experience to young businesses and entrepreneurs?

    Jordan Woods:
     I am a young entrepreneur myself so for me it’s about being able to show young people that age is not a barrier to success. I truly feel that If you have a great idea and you have a real determination to succeed, then anything is possible.

    Working with BigChange meant being mentored by its CEO Martin Port. Martin guided me in the early stages of my business and I found it extremely beneficial. I have learnt from his extensive business expertise and knowledge about strategy. It has shaped how I view our business and its potential growth. Having Martin’s support behind me has been really productive in navigating the common challenges our business has gone through to grow even stronger.

    BigChange: Can you talk a little bit about your experience in Building Maintenance and how you have personally seen your industry evolve over the past 10+ years?

    Jordan Woods: I was apprentice-trained from the industry and, as a direct result of starting so young, I now have nearly 20 years’ experience and knowledge in the HVAC industry. I have seen HVAC change from paper to digital and have been fortunate to have been part of that big change. Indeed, Woods Building Maintenance was one of the first companies in the UK HVAC industry to go fully paperless with BigChange back in 2012.

    I’ve have also seen gas compliance change from CORGI to Gas Safe and witnessed how industry standards and enforcement have significantly increased because of this shift.

    More worryingly, I have witnessed a massive reduction in apprenticeships. I think this is something the whole industry needs to address. We need to support apprenticeships again!

    I also believe the government should get behind this and create incentives for companies to employ a percentage of apprentices in their business depending on their turnover and size.

    BigChange: How has your time working at Woods Building Maintenance shaped your vision to be more globally aware and receptive to diverse customer needs?

    Jordan Woods: On the question of diversity, I have always employed workers from diverse backgrounds. In my view, as long as they can do the job at hand and can drive the business forward, they are part of the team, no questions asked.

    From a customer point of view, we are fully digital, so our clients are not getting mail and other paper post potentially lost through the letterbox.

    We find we have better customer interaction with technology – and we can track our engineers and let our customers know when they will arrive.

    As we are fully paperless, it also means we can do our part in saving the environment. It’s something we should all be doing and at Woods, we are always looking at ways to reduce our carbon footprint.

    BigChange: What advice can you give to small and medium sized businesses trying to scale up operations?

    Jordan Woods: My best piece of advice would be to ensure you have an excellent implementation team behind your mobile force. It’s great to win business and to have engineers to carry out the tasks at hand, but you need to be able to streamline all your processes and systems to suit the clients’ requirements.

    One thing I have learned recently is that you should never be frightened of change. If one thing doesn’t work, just try something else. You will always find a solution, but if you’re not open to change, you will never succeed.

    I would also advise business owners to surround themselves with people who are smarter than them. It’s so important to find the right people who want to help you grow your business and who want to help others succeed in their careers.

    BigChange: What trends are most impacting your sector & how has Woods Building Maintenance taking steps to resolve and integrate these trends into your day to day operations?

    Jordan Woods: I would say the most common trend in the industry is how engineers move about from company to company to company, before ending back at the first one they worked for. I have had conversations with so many other CEOs and Directors who all say the same.

    In order to combat this and to retain the staff we train, we now carry out ‘exit interviews’ as a way of finding out why someone wants to leave and what we can learn from them about how we do things. Since doing this, our retention levels have dramatically increased.

    We also get all of our staff to interact with each other more – so we get our engineers into the office to spend some time with our accounts and administrative staff and similarly the office staff have been going out into the field to see what our engineers do every day. By getting everyone to understand all aspects of the business and what issues each role may come up against, it makes for a much happier workplace which can only be good for business!

    Leeds based businessman Jordan Woods now runs a thriving Property Maintenance business, but just six years ago his future didn’t look so bright.

    Click here to watch our video interview with Jordan.

    Jordan started as a Plumbing Apprentice at the age of 14, since regular schooling hadn’t worked out for him. He worked his way up to Operations Manager for a large maintenance business. Trouble struck in 2011 when he was made redundant by the firm along with many others. As a young father to a newborn baby boy, this couldn’t have happened at a worse time.

    Jobless and struggling to support his young family, enterprising Jordan borrowed a few hundred pounds from his stepfather and bought a van and insurance. Eager to put his Plumbing and Heating qualifications to use, he listed his services on a free trades directory in the hope of gaining paid work. Jordan was ecstatic to receive his first call from a home in Harrogate where a leak was causing havoc. After putting fuel in his van and paying for parts to do the job, he came away with £13 profit, which he spent buying fish and chips and baby food for his family.

    In the weeks that followed, the phone didn’t stop ringing and Jordan started to generate strong referral business. The real breakthrough came when he gained a small contract with a Leeds based property management firm.

    Jordan Woods, Managing Director for Woods Building Maintenance said:

    “The reality was, I was just a one-man band going from job to job to make ends meet. But I dared to dream and had big ambitions for my family. People told me I was just a dreamer and to ‘get real’. At that point I put together a simple business plan for what I wanted to achieve over the next five years. Today it sits in a frame inside my kitchen as a reminder of those tough beginnings.”

    With a growing business, Jordan worked around the clock and was able to take on another engineer and an administrator, working out of a small unit in Leeds. But things quickly spiralled out of control. Reliant on manual planning and paperwork, the brisk pace of work meant important information was getting lost in the system. Jordan knew he needed to find a better way to manage his business.

    Serendipity meant that Jordan crossed paths with well known Leeds based Entrepreneur Martin Port, who had recently founded his new tech business ‘BigChange’. Jordan’s company became one of the first users of Martin’s new JobWatch platform, an all-in-one management system for any business with a mobile workforce. The technology makes it easy for companies to plan, manage, schedule and track their operations and the system was just the growth accelerator that Jordan was looking for.

    Starting with 3 mobile workers in 2011, Woods Building Maintenance now manages a team of 18 engineers on the system that manages the entire Woods business.

    According to Jordan, the technology has been a revolution for his operation:

    “We’re about to hit a very special milestone this year; we’re on track to reach revenue of £1 million by the end of 2017. When I look back at where I’ve come from, it’s a very special feeling. The BigChange system has enabled us to grow very rapidly between 30 to 40% every year. I’m a very humble person, but our growth has been immense and we are profitable. I couldn’t have grown like this if it wasn’t for the BigChange technology. It has been priceless.”

    BigChange has gone on to become one of the fastest growing Technology Businesses in the UK and was ranked 12 out of 100 in the Tech North 100 that profiles the fastest growing tech businesses in the North of the UK. Martin has also gone on to be a mentor to Jordan Woods.

    Commenting on Jordan’s achievement Martin Port, founder and CEO of BigChange said:

    “I am so proud of what Jordan has achieved for his 30-strong team and for his family. It’s a truly inspiring story and just goes to show what can be achieved when you apply yourself with dedication, hard work and tenacity. Woods Building Maintenance is a pleasure to work with and we look forward to working with them as they continue to grow and push past many more million pound milestones.”

    Already covering Yorkshire, The Humber and the North West, Jordan’s next foray is into the Midlands and London. The company has significant contracts with four of the largest insurance companies in the UK and also works with the NHS and leading national hotel and restaurant chains.

    Download the Yorkshire evening post story on Woods Building Maintenance founder Jordan Woods.

    BigChange

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