Construction Q are award-winning quantity surveyors based in Bramhall, Stockport. Founded by Fiona Hull in 2010, she approached our Excelerate Labs in Manchester for helping getting off the ground, and has since grown a team that’s delivered on all kinds of successful projects, with budgets ranging from £100,000 to £30,000,000.
Before becoming an entrepreneur, Fiona worked for a number of years as a Quantity Surveyor, employed full time by a main contractor. But she found it an increasingly bad fit for her life and her goals.
“After having two children I found the juggle between childcare and a full-time job to be impossible. By working for myself I could have flexible working.”
This need for flexibility, combined with her love of construction, gave Fiona the nudge towards self-employment. After a lot of careful planning and support from the Excelerate Labs, Construction Q was born and has gone from strength to strength ever since.
Excelerate Labs supports men and women running business-to-business enterprise in the Greater Manchester area – anyone looking to innovate, diversify and grow, while creating new jobs. It was the perfect fit for Fiona, giving her the confidence and connections she needed to see her vision through. Much of this support came through her Business Growth adviser, Mike Marsden.
“Mike has been fantastic. A great sounding board for ideas but also supportive and full of suggestions. A key strength for me has been the contacts that The Women’s Organisation have and the connections that they have made for me.”
Working with Excelerate Labs allowed Fiona to access much wider networking opportunities, which has accelerated Construction Q’s business growth. From a team of just one, Fiona has turned the company into a real presence in the area.
Since their first-year trading, Construction Q has increased its turnover by 750%, and now a team of six are responsible for delivering work to clients all over the country. Fiona’s strategy of building links with key brands has allowed her to put several contractors on retainer contracts and secure repeat business from 12 different architect practices.
“These regular clients are hugely important when looking at business growth and the value of the company…A lot of our success comes from repeat business and word of mouth. I spent a lot of time networking in the early years, so brand awareness was crucial. We also sponsor local football and cricket teams and support the local schools. If you give time generously to your community then it will come back.”
Pro bono work has always been important to Fiona, and she believes that putting charity before profit helps to set Construction Q apart from its competitors.
“Despite our expansion and extremely busy office we have carried out three Pro Bono projects this year for local charities. One of these, The Joshua Tree Foundation, we continue to support, and all Quantity Surveyor services will be provided free of charge over the next 18 months for this £2m respite centre. These are the projects that excite me. It feels great to have become so successful that we can do this. It’s not all about the bottom line for us.”
Despite their impressive growth, it has not all been plain sailing. Construction Q has dealt with a range of tricky issues, including clients going into administration whilst owing them substantial sums.
But they have weathered it all together, and their success and profile speak for themselves. In 2018 Fiona won ‘Woman in Construction Business’ at the Excelerate Labs Celebration of Success awards. Then in 2019, the Construction Q team received the Small Organisation of the Year Award at The Northern Power Women Awards.
Fiona has lots of plans for Construction Q’s growth, and with several large commercial projects in the pipeline they are now recruiting for two new Quantity Surveyor’s. She also plans to continue her work raising the profile of females working in construction, all while raising two children, running another business and helping out on a wide range of charity projects.
“What is hugely important to me is that we continue to have values and be an ethical business…It has been tough, I have a lot more wrinkles and grey hair than when I set out eight years ago but if you believe in your product, are fully committed, and always put your customer first then you will succeed.”
Fiona accessed business-growth support through Excelerate Labs. Funded by the European Regional Development Fund, Excelerate Labs supports residents of Greater Manchester working in the business-to-business sector to start, innovate, diversify, grow and create jobs.
If you are based in Greater Manchester and interested in accessing business support, contact our team to find out how we can help.