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Motor homes business driving in the right direction

An art deco building on the outskirts of Poole, houses a thriving and expanding motor homes sales business.

Solent Motor Homes continues to grow as people seek safe and secure ways of enjoying touring holidays and staycations.

The privately owned company specialises in the Italian Roller Team brand of coach-built motor homes and is by some distance the largest Roller Team retailer in the UK.

Established in 2011 as a small rental business with just two vehicles, the business has grown to such an extent that it is on track to post a £10 million annual turnover at year end in January 2021.

“We’ve come a long way,” says Managing Director Susan Todd.

The company has held the Roller Team franchise for eight years, after Sue and partner Tony Chappell quickly discovered they far more enjoyed selling motorhomes than rental. In 2016, they sold the operation of the rental fleet and are still providing the new company with different models of Roller Team motorhomes every year for their use.

Based in Upton Road, Poole, since 2012, in a building once used to build WW2 aircraft parts and then the world-famous Seagull outboard motors, Solent Motor Homes now employs 10 people.

As the company has grown, the day-to-day running is now undertaken by the extremely capable General Manager Andrew Mathis, the sales team and of course, the all important technical staff.

As well as new vehicles ranging in price from £42,000 to £75,000, the business stocks a wide selection of approved and pre-owned motor homes.

Exploiting opportunities created by fluctuations in currency and varying tax rules, Solent Motor Homes also exports, not just to Europe but as far afield as New Zealand.

Susan added: “We are proud to be an independent business, as we like to offer a relaxed, personal and non-corporate experience.

“We have delivered close to 800 motor homes to customers and currently order around 130 a year. We must be doing something right!”

PKF Francis Clark has acted for Solent Motor Homes since 2013, with Poole office Managing Partner James Robinson leading the team providing services that include management accounts, helping to raise finance to increase stock of vehicles and taxation, along with ad-hoc business consultancy and annual accounting and tax strategic advice.

Susan said: “PKF Francis Clark has been of immeasurable help to us, particularly with our management accounting. Our ongoing relationship with James has been fabulous and he has certainly freed us up to get on with our key role of looking after the business itself.

“He is wholly responsive at all times and is the perfect sounding board for business development. We often fire questions at him, and he will quickly come back with opinions or recommendations based on his vast business experience.

“PKF Francis Clark were instrumental in helping us to claim when the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme became available. This enabled us to take the opportunity of increasing our stock of pre-owned vehicles, which is a vital part of the business, and we now have a capital plan for the next six years.

“Without hesitation, I would certainly recommend PKF Francis Clark to any other businesses because the amount of help we have received has been so much more than just accountancy.”

James said: “At PKF Francis Clark, we are experienced in looking after businesses across a whole range of sectors, including automotive, and we back family businesses and SMEs with the latest support and advice to help them achieve their goals.

“Our rationale is that we have shared ambitions and work in partnership with clients – looking at business strategy and development on top of regular accounting services. Every business we work with is different and has varying needs for which we always adopt a completely bespoke programme, but our fundamental belief is that relationships are the most important part of any such undertaking.

“We have now been working with Susan and her team for a long time. It gives us a huge buzz to witness how Solent Motor Homes has continued to grow over the last seven years while remaining family-run. We will continue to advise and help them to keep driving in the right direction.”

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