For as long as he can remember, Ben Daly has wanted to be his own boss. “My dad’s a builder and as a young kid, I always want to go off with him to help,” he says. “Working for yourself, whatever you put in you get back - it’s hard work but I wouldn’t change it for a minute.” 

Ben, 33, set up his own roofing company six years ago. Since then, he’s worked tirelessly to build up his reputation within South Wales and Bristol, where he’s based. At the start of last year, he was all set up for a busy Spring and Summer. But when lockdown hit, everything stopped. 

After a month of living on savings, he needed a solution. His wife Rose, who usually works as a nurse, was on maternity leave with their second child. It turned out that his business wasn’t entitled to any government grants.

“A Facebook post changed everything,” he says. After hearing Rose chatting to a friend about how to tackle the problem of collecting waste, while the tips were closed due to the pandemic, he sent out a post to friends and neighbours asking if anyone had any waste they’d like collected. Within an hour, he’d received 65 messages. 

As a roofer, he already had a waste carrier licence, meaning that he could still visit the tip while it was closed to members of the public. His new business, BRD Waste Solutions, has been a phenomenal success. He makes more from collecting waste than he did from roofing and has doubled his monthly turnover, less than a year after launching the business. When he first started, he covered a five-mile radius. He now covers a 30-mile radius.

“The most important thing I’ve learnt is to be quick with responding to potential customers and to try and bring your passion for your job to the customer. Most will return many times after if you show you care.”

Growing his business

In July 2020, when Ben was allowed to start roofing again, he ran both businesses simultaneously. But since November, he’s stopped roofing altogether so that he can put all his time and energy into his waste collection business. “It’s much safer being on the ground than up on a roof and I get paid instantly, which makes a big difference.” 

Ben collects payments from customers using his SumUp card reader, which he’s connected to his Starling business account. This means that he can see key information, such as the value of the latest payout, directly from his Starling app. SumUp is part of the Starling Business Marketplace, a space where customers can seamlessly connect to third-party products and services.

Ben aims to recycle at least 90% of what he collects. “All timber we receive gets sent to a company that shreds it down and burns it to power a factory. All our green waste is sent to be made into compost and all cardboard and plastic is sent off to be recycled.”

BRD waste solutions van
Most of what Ben collects goes for recycling

In January, he launched a campaign to encourage people to recycle their Christmas trees. He donated 50% of the fees to local conservation centre, Wildplace Bristol. “They’ve struggled big time with people not being allowed to visit and they’ve still got to feed the animals and employ people.” 

Saving time with Starling

Using Starling for his business banking has saved Ben both time and money. “I used to get a bank statement from my old bank every three months and go through them after work - Starling has saved hours compared to how it was before,” he says.

He found out about Starling through fellow Starling business customer Ash Phillips. “Starling feels more personal than a big corporate bank,” Ben says. “The notifications and the balance in the app mean I can budget without any delays. Having everything linked up to Xero has helped massively - I can do everything on my phone when I’m out and about.”

Ben uses Starling for all his banking - personal, joint and business. “It’s just easier. And when I went from being a sole trader to a limited company, it was so quick - I just did a new application for a limited company business account, updated my invoices and within a couple of days everything was set up and ready to go.”

To find out more about BRD Waste, search for the Facebook page @BRDwaste.

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