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85: CALL ASSIST

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When Richard Stevens left Hambro Assistance in the late nineties, he and three of his former colleagues – Linda Baker, Edward Wright and Christine Malkin – decided to set up their own business. Call Assist, the Colchester-based vehicle-rescue firm, was born. “We started off with a blank piece of paper,” recalls Stevens. “We knew there was a market for classic car and motorbike recovery, so we began with that and added new services one by one.” Today, the £15.3m-turnover business covers everything from horseboxes and cars to boats and commercial vehicles, working for intermediaries and insurers such as Kwik-Fit and Admiral Insurance. Although sales have jumped an average 36.8 per cent each year since 2005, 57-year-old Stevens remains modest: “Complacency is the road to ruin,” he says. “There’s a lot of price pressure out there. Our clients are squeezing their budgets and you never know what’s around the corner.” Stevens says he’s not bothered about making piles of money – he just wants to build “a really worthwhile business”. He adds: “Consultants always say you need to have an exit strategy in place but we don’t. Our focus is on launching new services, developing our computer system and offering a great training programme for our 120 employees.”

www.callassist.net

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