Starting a business during the recession may sound like a risky move, but for Scott Watson and Daniel Donnelly, it was a risk worth taking. The co-owners of Donnelly Watson, the Ipswich-based carpet and flooring company, decided to strike out on their own in 2008, having worked together at a carpet shop for a number of years. “We just became good friends, and he’s got the same work ethic as me,” says Scott.
Up until that point, both had been supplementing their day jobs with evening and weekend work, so it made sense for them to share the load. “It just made life a little bit easier for both of us,” says Scott. And it wasn’t long before they saw an opportunity to take things a step further. “We realised there weren’t many companies in the area that specialised in supplying and fitting high-quality flooring,” adds Scott.
A commercial premises wasn’t feasible at first, so the pair bought their first van and launched a home call-out service for customers in and around Ipswich. “That van served us well for about a year until we needed a bigger van to support the sudden growth in business,” says Scott.
Over the next four years, Scott and Daniel put in some serious hours to get the business moving in the right direction – “we were working until 9 or 10 o’clock most nights of the week, and weekends.” Fortunately, they didn’t have to start from scratch. “I’d been fitting for 28 years, so I already had a number of repeat customers,” says Scott. “They followed me, and we gained extra customers through recommendation and providing a high standard of work.”
By 2012, the company had generated enough revenue to establish a high-street presence. However, with their business savviness and eye for interior design, Scott and Daniel weren’t willing to open “any old shop”. After purchasing a suitable premises, they rented it out to a hairdresser for around three years. This provided them with the funds they needed to create a stylish showroom, employee additional staff and store high-quality stock.
Ten years on from Scott and Daniel’s decision to go into business together, Donnelly Watson is a recognised name in Ipswich, with its team of employed fitters and designers delivering a first-class flooring service to commercial and domestic customers in the area. The company now has five vans on the road and can count Ipswich Town Football Club and Suffolk County Council among its biggest clients. It has even fulfilled jobs as far afield as Southampton and Peterborough. “This year has just been crazy – I don’t know where the months have gone,” says Scott. “One week feels like a day to me sometimes.”
While there are no plans to open another showroom, the current shop has recently been extended, giving customers more space to browse Donnelly Watson’s extensive range of carpet, laminate, vinyl and wood flooring – not to mention artificial grass. So, if you’re looking to refresh your home or business, why not pay Scott, Daniel and the team a visit today?
Growing over the past 10 years, we have grown from just two business partners to a large team of carpet and flooring fitters covering areas in and around East Anglia from our Ipswich showroom.