The Steadfast Group is a security and facilities management business based in Peterlee, County Durham. Founded 25 years ago, the business now employs more than 150 staff in the North East and owns large warehouse facilities and premises near Peterlee.
Mike McGaun, Business Development Manager, The Steadfast Group, talks about the business’s recent experiences of submitting bids for public sector tenders.
What does your role involve?
I’m the Business Development Manager and, along with our Director of Operations, Terry Jones, I am involved in all aspects of day-to-day running of the business. I also take the lead on procurement, including submitting our bids for tenders.
What kinds of clients do you work with?
We work with both commercial and private clients, providing security, electrical, storage and haulage facilities. Steadfast has grown to be a multi-million pound business and we work with a lot of clients who are based here in the North East – not only in County Durham, but also stretching into Teesside, Cleveland and Tyne and Wear. We work with businesses across the full spectrum of sectors and we like to work with clients who are looking for a long-term partnership.
When did you start submitting for public sector tenders?
I returned to the North East and joined the business about 20 months ago. I’m a former army officer and my post-army career has been in security, so when I took up this role I wanted to gain more knowledge about procurement and writing tenders. I attended a number of one-day courses and lectures, including NEPO’s workshops delivered by Garry Stone, which have been excellent. Within three months of attending my first NEPO Business Club event, we secured a contract worth nearly £2 million.
What other support did you access?
I’ve made use of the various courses available through North East business forums and support organisations and it’s really paid dividends. If you look at North East organisations like NEPO, Business Durham, the North East Chamber of Commerce and the Derwentside Business Network, they provide excellent training for free or at a low cost.
What difference has it made to your business?
Having the skills, knowledge and confidence to go for these tenders has made a massive difference to the business. It’s resulted in our turnover increasing by at least 60% and it’s secured the jobs of our team. Many of our team are veterans and it’s important to us that we continue to provide employment for local people and ex-army personnel. These successes have secured the long-term future of the business, our team know they have a future with the company and we’re building our reputation with new clients.
We’ve recently won a number of pieces of work with Durham County Council, plus other contracts totalling £3.5 million in the last 15 months.
What would you say to other North East businesses considering going for public sector tender opportunities?
I’d say that you have to put the hours in and put the effort in to every tender you go for. You get nothing for coming second or third. Have the confidence to go for them but at the same time, you have to be aware that you won’t win them all.
I’d also say that it pays to attend the right training events. I’ve worked all over the world and the support available here in the North East is something I haven’t seen elsewhere. People want North East businesses to do well and the support we have, and the friendliness of the people, stands us in good stead. Take advantage of the help that’s on your doorstep.
What’s next for The Steadfast Group?
We’ve recently taken on another business, Complete Security (Europe) Ltd, and we’re expanding our footprint into new areas of the North East. We’re due to hear the result of more tenders in the next few weeks and it’s a really positive time for our team and our business.