iRG Wins Family Business Of The Year 2019
So... this time last week something pretty special happened. We won FAMILY BUSINESS OF THE YEAR 2019!! We’ve been lucky enough to win many industry awards but this award in particular has been quite special!
Steve Peart, Managing Director of IRG founded his smart cosmetic paint repair business back in 1999 after doing some research but he was in the red and needed a £500 deposit for a ChipsAway franchise followed by another £10,000. With his son Dale’s permission he sold his son's 2nd hand KX80 motorbike so he could put down the deposit needed to secure the franchise but still had to raise a further £10,000. Every bank manager turned down his loan applications so he had to secure a high interest loan from Lombard Finance. He worked for the following year holding down 2 jobs until falling asleep at the wheel driving home from a night shift and knew he had to give up one of the jobs.
Thankfully he made the right choice and threw everything I had into my new full time business working 7 days a week 12 hour a day. After 2 years he decided that he didn’t need the burden of the heavy franchise fees and in 1999 he formed TST Cardiff Ltd which is the business that trades as IRG today opening a small 1800 sq./ ft. unit employing his first employee.
The business grew quickly to several mobile repair vans servicing car dealerships and retail customers and in 2004 he moved to a new premises 3 times the size, it was at this time his son Dale joined the business. As the business grew he leased adjacent premises and by 2008 he took out a £1.65m mortgage to purchase a 23000 sq. ft. facility on Whittle Rd (the old Ken Thorne World of Cars Centre). Then also winning his first insurance contract with Fortis Insurance. At this time he also took on the Fix Auto franchise and in 2010 & opened his 2nd site in Swansea followed by further sites at Pontypridd, Cardiff and Hereford.
In 2017 his daughter Nicola joined the business as Marketing Manager as they embarked on a rapid growth strategy adding a further 6 sites in 2 years. Today we have a total of 11 sites based in Whitland, Swansea, Bridgend, Pontypridd (2), Rhondda, Cardiff (2), Hereford, Newport and Bristol. We employ 275 full time staff with 15 apprentices, hold 40 manufacturer approvals along with British Standards 10125 and are the largest repairer of Accident damage vehicles in Wales and 10th largest group in the UK.
We have won several industry awards winning best Large Bodyshop twice, along with medium and small body shop awards for best in class and in 2018 we won the fastest growing body shop group in the UK.
Our group turnover has grown by over 30% over the last 3 years, our forecasted turnover 2018/19 is £23m growing to £28m in 2019/20 add in a further 28 full time staff along with a further 15 apprentices. We will add 2 further 2 sites in South Wales and 2021 will see IRG move into the North Wales region.
Today we repair approx. 20,000 accident damage vehicles a year!!!
Every decision Steve has ever made has always been with his family in mind! He’s like a stick of rock - if you cut him, you'd see 'family' written right through the middle! He has made some huge sacrifices, missing out on so many special family moments, just so that he can create something incredible to pass down to his family for many years to come! Steve... we are all so proud of you! You are an inspiration!