The subject of our latest It’s My Business feature is former Newcastle United footballer Graeme Carter, who is now running his own successful business, Shred Direct.
Here we find out more about the Peterlee-based company’s growth since it was launched six years ago and Graeme’s plans for continued expansion.
Tell us more about Shred Direct.
We’re a shredding management and data destruction company, working with businesses and organisations across the North East and Yorkshire including banks, NHS centres and also, my former employer, Newcastle United.
Our trucks collect a client’s confidential waste, whether that’s paper documentation or computer hard drives, and destroy and dispose of them in an environmentally friendly way.
In the current climate, with GDPR still very much a challenge for businesses, our services have seen an increase in demand with many firms having mountains of highly sensitive information which they have to dispose of safely and securely.
Why did you decide to launch the business?
I’d worked in the waste industry for a number of years and thought, why work for other people when I could set up on my own. I spoke to East Durham Business Service which advised me through the process of launching my own business and in 2013, Shred Direct was officially set up.
You’ve grown a fair bit since you launched, haven’t you?
Yes, each year since launching we’ve experienced growth and we now have a seven and a half tonne truck and a van, which between them are covering hundreds of miles each day.
I have an apprentice, Callum, working for me, and he will this year complete his apprenticeship and will be staying with the business. He’s been a real asset to me, enabling me to get out more and bring in more business.
We also have two drivers who spend their time on the roads making collections.
Our portfolio currently stands at over 250 companies and that’s been added to all the time as companies are realising the importance of securing data destruction.
You’ve mentioned GDPR. How did that regulation coming into place last May affect your business?
I think it brought to the attention of a lot of businesses that they must handle their data security in a very secure manner or face the possibility of a heavy fine. Destroying confidential documents and data safely and in an environmentally friendly way is our core business., so it’s been a good thing for us.
Before working in the waste industry, you were a professional footballer weren’t you?
I was a central defender on the books at Newcastle United. However I was restricted to just three substitute appearances because of a persistent shoulder injury, which forced me to stop playing at a young age.
However, seeing my business growing each year, I can’t complain at the way things have turned out.
What are your plans for the future?
To continue to grow. I’d like to dd another vehicle to our fleet this year, and that could result in our headcount increasing.
I’m also aiming to another 20 per cent increase in turnover, which we achieved last year.
Another target is to add to our portfolio of clients on our doorstep – we have a long list of customers based in all corners of the region, however, we’d like to add more from Peterlee’s business community so that’s a priority for me.
I’m excited to see what this year will bring after such a successful 2018.
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