Tag Archives: hose

Hose Solutions Ltd: An eBay Success Story

6 Aug

Do you sell your unwanted stuff on eBay?  Have you ever thought about just how easy it would be to start an eBay shop?  Ben Viner did just that, working out of his spare room at home selling hoses.  Three years on Hose Solutions has premises in Exeter and employs five full time members of staff.  Here he shares how he (and his wife) did it.

What does your business do?

We specialise in the manufacture of replacement hoses for cars, bikes, buses, trucks, central heating systems… basically anything that requires a hose to pass fluid from one place to another!

What made you decide to start your business?

The business started up as a hobby whilst I was at university, the idea springing simply from a problem I had with my car at the time, and a friend I had who worked at a local hydraulics outlet.  This then developed into a series of self designed products and a small number of branded hoses from suppliers I found and set up accounts with in my own time.

How did you start your business?

I contacted Business Link and HMRC who provided me with all the necessary information I needed to set up.  I also contacted a local accountant who advised on the best way to start up according to my sales predictions for the 1st year, ie sole trader, limited company etc.

When did you know your business was a success?

I guess this was only when we took our first employee on.  At that point I knew the business was sustainable and growing at a rapid rate to the extent that we couldn’t cope on our own anymore.

How did it feel taking on your first member of staff?

We were definitely nervous initially of being able to afford extra staff, but the benefits of fresh ideas, new working practices, and simply someone else to ‘bounce’ ideas off proved very helpful.  Three years ago we worked alone in a spare room at home, and we now employ 5 full time staff.

How did it feel getting your first premises?

It was fantastic moving to our first business premises in Devon.  We’d worked for 2 years previous to that out of what soon became a very cramped spare bedroom as the business grew!

What tips would you give anyone wanting to start an ebay business?

Do plenty of research.  eBay has virtually every product/brand known to man listed – you are likely to have stiff competition whatever you sell, so getting a clear and professional listing and photo of the product you are selling is as important as your pricing and the product itself.

How do your market your business?

We have 3 websites each selling various different products/categories, we have an eBay shop, and we advertise on online forums, in magazines, and at events/shows around the country. We also use social networking sites like Facebook and twitter where we have a combined following of over 10000 at present.  We believe strongly in brand awareness, so getting our name ‘out there’ in any way possible is very important to us.

Do you still have an eBay shop?

Yes, we’ve just ‘re-skinned’ it this year actually (eBay shop).  It’s important to keep the shop up to date with it being the first thing the customer sees when he looks for our products.  We have seen a massive increase in eBay sales since we put time into our listing and shop designs which were previously just the basic and standard ebay templates.

What is the best thing about having your own business?

There is nothing better than being your own boss, and seeing your hard work pay off.  Yes times can be hard and stressful, but those times are soon forgotten when you look at all the positive aspects self-employment brings you.                      

www.helcarkits.co.uk                             www.hosesolutions.org.uk                             www.helperformance.com