“I’m not trying to run before I can walk, but I want to build a solid, profitable company based on a reputation of good value and excellent customer service,” says Sam, who founded Burke Bros Recovery last year, even before he could hold a driving licence.
Now aged 16, Sam got the entrepreneurial itch at a young age, when he announced he wanted his own vehicle recovery business.
His father, Chris Burke, who owns a family furniture removal business, Burke Brothers Removals, based in Wolverhampton, thought it would just be a passing fad, but soon realised how serious his son was.
And Sam certainly had a long-term plan in mind.
Realising he would need capital to start his own business, Sam showed his entrepreneurial spirit by opening up his father’s lorry park to Wolves football fans on weekends, selling space for cars to park.
In order to learn more about the business, he also worked for a local recovery company, gaining the practical experience he would need to run his own business.
Sam finally took the plunge when he bought a second-hand recovery vehicle from nearby firm Recovery World, which they delivered to him just before his 16th birthday.
“It’s not been plain sailing,” says father Chris. “It was a minefield just setting up basic things like bank and trading accounts because of his age.
“Of course I’ve been totally behind Sam and given him encouragement and support. But he bought the truck himself with his own hard earned cash.”
Now, after spending many months cold calling potential customers, Sam has contracts with a dozen organisations including clubs, dealerships and body shops.
While he doesn’t actually drive the vehicles – as he’s still too young – he rides with the drivers, who work for his father’s removal company.
“But he runs it as a totally independent business, paying all his own bills and operating costs, including rent and storage,” his father explains.
Although Sam admits there were some teething problems to the business, he’s definitely in it for the long haul.
“I just love the work and am determined to make it succeed,” he says. “There’s still loads to learn and the only way is to get out there and do it myself.”
How can we disagree with such passion?
Britain needs more ambitious young entrepreneurs like Sam. He is living proof that age doesn’t have to be a barrier to success – it’s a question of self-belief and determination.
Best of luck, Sam!
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