Aaron Arthur’s scaffolding business has allowed him to spend more time with his children as they grew up and has provided his wife with a job which works around the family. He now plans to scale it up as his children get older.
Aaron, a dad of three, is owner of Scafforce, which is based in East London, and he hopes the business may provide a potential future career for his children.
He learnt the scaffolding trade while he was still in school. He says: “I was never an academic child so I was never going to go on to university. Once I learnt the trade at such a young age I used it.”
Aaron, who has a son aged four and twins [a girl and boy] aged 12, added: “I never wanted to be a scaffolder; I wanted to be a PE teacher or a footballer.”
In 2002, having gained a lot of experience and realising that he preferred to be his own boss, he decided to take a risk and start his own business. He says:”I wanted the business’ name to relate to me in some way. I decided to call my business Arthur’s Scaffolding. After a while I started to think that the name sounded unprofessional. I wanted a name that sounds like it could one day be a big company. So I and all of my employees had a meeting. After many names were thrown around, the youngest of the bunch thought of the name ‘Scafforce’ and that’s how we decided on the name.”
He says that, although the benefits of setting up your own business include having time to see the children more, the drawbacks are the insecurity and the weather. “I find that it is hard not having a secure income and, being a scaffolder, you have to pray for a sunny day, as we don’t work in the rain. Living in England it is hard with the weather we have because if there is no work there is no money.”
Joanna Arthur, Aaron’s wife, began working for the business from the start, having been a manager of a clothes shop beforehand. In the early days, before her youngest child was three, she worked around him. When he was three he attended pre-school in the mornings and is now in reception.
Joanna deals with all the office work and is able to work from home. She said: “When the children were younger working from home was great. I got to spend lots of time with them. However, now all my children are at school I want to get my own office. That way I will not feel as though I am always at home and I can separate my work life and my home life.”
Aaron says the benefits of a family-focused business are many. “What I like about having a family-orientated business is that I have trust in my employees,” he said. However, he is ambitious and is looking to take Scafforce out of the ‘family business’ bracket as he feels that suggests a smaller business.
He would love for his business to become bigger and maybe even develop a chain of offshoots.
All in all, he is happy with his decision to go self employed. “When setting up your own business you have to be realistic as it is a risky move,” he said. “The hard thing is that your business can go down quickly. However, I think it is the best thing I have done.”
*By Chloe Smith.