Entrepreneur Interview: with Kevin Brown, Pacifica Group
Posted on the 3 December 2018
Tell me about your background in business?
I started my working life as an apprentice electrical engineer after leaving school at 16. Upon completing my apprenticeship, my career progressed at the North Eastern Electricity Board as I worked my way up to become its operations director.
It was in 2003 when my business career really started, albeit by chance! I was made redundant from my role at the electricity board and, along with Scott Pallister, finance director of Pacifica Group, we co-founded the company. This was my first foray into running a business and the experience proved to be very challenging, while at the same time extremely rewarding.
From starting with four members of staff then, we are now turning over in excess of £40m with more than 450 colleagues and operating nationally from our headquarters in Houghton-le-Spring. Our team are currently completing in excess of 230,000 service calls each year, which demonstrates the Group’s strong growth.
What was the inspiration behind Pacifica Group and how was it formed?
The retailer division of Northern Electric closed down, resulting in my redundancy. As Scott and I both knew the aftersales sector well, we decided to form a company to service the needs of customers, who are primarily in the brown and white goods
Pacifica Group was formally established in 2006 and developed to offer a whole house approach to clients in the B2B2C market, who require approved tradespeople to fulfil requests from customers we held manufacturer or extended warranty products.
In your own words, describe what Pacifica Group does?
Pacifica Group is primarily an aftersales support business, which provides three main services: the repair and maintenance of domestic appliances, in-home heating, insulation and renewable energy installations and maintenance, as well as extended warranty solutions.
Our divisions comprise of:
· Pacifica Appliance Services – brown (TV, Hi-Fi, etc) and white (washing machines, refrigeration, etc) goods in-home repair services, along with return-to-base refurbishment of returned products to sectors including manufacturers, insurance companies, retailers and grocers.
· Pacifica Home Services – heating (gas, LPG and oil), installation and repair services, as well as home insulation and renewable technologies to sectors including social housing providers and utility companies.
· UK Warranty – white label insurance products, service contracts and administration services to the manufacturer, extended warranty and retail sectors.
How has the company progressed and grown, and what do you attribute this to?
The company has grown from a start-up established by two colleagues with no business experience, to a Group that is one of the leading home services firms in the UK. Our team work with a range of clients that includes leading manufacturers, energy providers, insurance companies and social housing providers, and securing these high-profile contract wins has helped support our organic growth.
We have an experienced team of industry professionals and an extensive network of talented engineers that ensure our core values are upheld, which has supported winning new contracts and providing further services to existing customers.
What is your proudest moment with Pacifica Group?
Developing a North East-based business that now offers national coverage to all clients, while providing employment to more than 450 colleagues. I’ve grown up in the region and am very passionate about it, so I am proud to have overseen the growth of Pacifica Group to become a major employer in the North East.
We have a come a long way in a relatively short period to the position where the company is now, and I am also incredibly proud of the entire journey.
The company has also collected a number of awards along the way, which is humbling as it is always nice to be recognised among your peers in the North East business community, as well as throughout the industry. I was also honoured to have won the Entrepreneurs’ Forum’s Scale-up Award this year!
What is Pacifica Group’s USP?
85 percent of the services we provide are undertaken by an employed engineer on a national scale, making use of the largest independent company in the sector. This ensures we can offer a first-class level of service to our clients by managing the whole customer journey.
We pride ourselves on delivering excellent customer service and this has helped to support our continued growth. There are other companies like us around, but it is our emphasis on customer service and our core values that helps to secure new work and deliver more services to existing clients.
Throughout your business career, have you ever made a mistake that you have learnt from? And how did you overcome it?
There are probably too many mistakes to remember! But it is how you learn from them that forms part of your resilience and knowledge moving forward.
Do you live by a certain motto?
In business, I always like to view a problem from the customer’s point of view. If we can design a solution that meets their needs, then it usually results in a good outcome for all parties.
What are your future plans for Pacifica Group?
We are looking to develop each of our subsidiaries over the next four years, which will include creating new, skilled jobs, expanding further and entering even more markets. I expect the Group to exceed its planned turnover of £100m during this period as well.