‘How we’ve become one of Yorkshire’s fastest growing companies’

It has been described as one of Yorkshire’s fastest growing companies.

Tuesday, 17th September 2019, 6:44 pm
Updated Friday, 18th October 2019, 10:41 am
RF landscape Products have been added to the fastest 50 Yorkshire list. Pictured are staff members l-r Roger Wood, Yard Manager, Gill Williams, Accounts manager, Steve Poole, Deputy yard manager, Amy Andrews, RF Tiles Manager, Tom Thomson, Transport Manager, Hannah Thomson and Craig Smith, both Sales Executives. Picture: Marie Caley NDFP-12-09-19-RF Landscapes-6

And the bosses at RF Landscape Products have their eyes set on getting even bigger as the younger generation of the family based company near Askern, Doncaster, look to the future.

Commercial law firm Ward Hadaway listed the firm in its Yorkshire Fastest 50 earlier this year, which lists companies by their growth in turnover.

It follows a rate of growth over the last four years which has seen its annual turnover rise from around £2.5million in 2015, to £6 million in the last year.

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Hannah Thomson, Sales Executive and Amy Andrews, RF Tiles manager, pictured in the Tile Showroom. Picture: Marie Caley NDFP-12-09-19-RF Landscapes-4

The growth has come after major changes for the company, since it first moved to its current site on the A19 at the end of 2002.

Set up by Rob Andrews and Fred Carroll as a haulage business, the firm was initially based in Darfield, near Barnsley, before moving to its current site.

The site on the A19 initially saw the firm selling railway sleepers for the transport industry, but over the years has expanded the range of products it sells, as well as its workforce.

Now it sells a range of tiles and paving materials to clients all over the country.

RF landscape Products have been added to the fastest 50 Yorkshire list. Pictured are staff members l-r Craig Smith, Sales Executive, Gill Williams, Accounts manager, Roger Wood, Yard Manager, Amy Andrews, RF Tiles Manager, Tom Thomson, Transport Manager, Hannah Thomson, Sales Executive and Steve Poole, Deputy yard manager. Picture: Marie Caley NDFP-12-09-19-RF Landscapes-3

Customers using the products it imports from India have included England international footballers and former boxing world champions.

Until a few years ago, RF Landscape Products was a single brand – now it has three sections in RF Paving, RF Tiles and Contemporary Paving.

It means in addition to the natural stone paving they have been importing and selling for many years, they are now selling tiles, that can be used in kitchens and bathrooms, and new modern styles of porcelain based paving – two-inch thick tiles that do not stain or weather.

Fred retired from the firm in 2010, with Rob taking over the running. And his his 26-year-old daughter Amy Andrews is now heavily involved as the interiors manager at the firm.

Amy said over the last four years, the firm had become more depot focused. Many of the products they import which would once have been delivered to their base bear Doncaster are now taken straight from the ports to the customer. It has help save on costs and made products cheaper for the customer.

It has also freed up space at the main depot to expand the offices and create a showroom, which has opened up the site to the public.

What was once a single story building is now two floors, with the offices on the upper floor and the showroom on the ground floor. The grounds display some of the wide range of products they stock, most of which are brought into Doncaster via the railport on Doncaster Carr.

The sandstone and limestone paving products are imported from India, arriving in Felixstowe before being taken to Doncaster by rail. The contemporary paving products are shipped to the UK from Italy, via Hull, then brought in by road.

The expansion of the range of products over the last has coincided with changes to the firm’s website, which has served to increase its profile in the UK. It means orders now come from all over the country.

In 2015, there were seven staff. That has doubled, and they now empty four drivers, two staff in the yard, and eight in the office and showroom.

It has been used in a number of high profile projects including black Indian limestone which was used to pave an outside terraced area at Pontefract Racecourse. Current fashions are seeing people order tiles indoors that march directly with those outside.

“We decided to push for growth a few years ago when it became clear that the family business was going to continue, with my involvement and also my younger brother,” said Amy.

“We brought in a head of sales and developed the trade team.

“Since we did work on the website that has become a big selling tool. Hits have doubled in the last year. You can’t order directly from it, but you can contact us via the site to put in an order.

“We have also built a new warehouse to cope with the increased range of tiles that we now offer. More staff also means more sales.

“The plan is to continue growing – we want to expand all aspects of RF including the tiles. We are also looking at the possibility of building an second depot, although it is early and we do not yet know where that would be.

It is also likely to mean more jobs.

“But it is important to make sure that any expansion that we have is sustainable.”