Peppard building Supplies

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Building on customer demand

Having started as a gardening services firm almost four decades ago, RJ Symes is a great example of how a business can grow by listening to its customers.
Offering groundwork, landscaping, demolition, carpentry and brickwork alongside gardening, the 12-strong company added services to fulfil its trade and domestic customers’ needs.
MD Greg Symes explained: “We started off in garden maintenance, with three people, but as the years went on people’s gardens got smaller and the hard landscaping took off.
“We now have bricklayers and a carpenter alongside our landscapers and work with a number of different service providers including architects, garden and interior designer Jennie Herrington from The Green Room and conservatory specialist Alitex.”
Based in Henley, Greg’s team works on projects across the Thames Valley, Buckinghamshire, Gloucestershire and London, thanks to its trade relationships and domestic customers.
“We cover quite a wide area as we have managed to keep our customers even when they move house,” he added.
“Some of our customers have been with us for 25 years and when they downsize and move out of the area, they come back to us to provide services.”
The diversity of the RJ Symes business helped during the tough years post-2008.
“Those years weren’t particularly bad for us,” he said. “Developers needed to finish projects and at the other end, they were buying land at good prices that needed landscaping.”
The key to the firm’s longevity is Greg’s focus on building long-term relationships.
He believes in pricing fairly, but realistically, delivering on time and to budget.
This has led to great feedback and has helped the company develop those key relationships that have sustained it over the years.
He has a similarly long relationship with Peppard Building Supplies. We are proud to have been able to count RJ Symes as a customer for 25 years.
“Peppard has always been good at sourcing products,” Greg explained. “When we need something quirky, they will always find it for example Neil (Bryant) is currently sourcing dry stone for a wall.
“Most other builder’s merchants would only supply the products that are on the shelf, but Peppard always goes that extra mile.”
Looking to the future, Greg plans to stay busy with ‘three or four’ projects a week and steady growth but is keen to be able to balance managing the company with getting his hands dirty.
“I don’t want to grow the company to the extent I can’t get out on projects, which is the part I love,” he said.
“It’s hard to say what type of project I enjoy best. The larger projects are good because we are there at the start of a development doing demolition and groundwork, in the middle for any brickwork and at the end for landscaping. It means that we get to see the complete transformation, which is very rewarding.
“Equally, I enjoy the smaller projects because we get to discuss ideas with customers and then work on making that transformation for them.”


Posted on March 23, 2016 by Claire Savage