Funding puts alloy wheels specialist on the road to expansion

A Lancashire company which uses cutting-edge tech to refurbish alloy wheels is expanding after a funding injection.

DA Techs, which has just relocated to bigger premises in Adlington, offers diamond-cut and painted alloy wheel refurbishment for trade and private customers after developing a portable lathe to deliver on-the-spot services.

It has also developed a custom-built wheel pod which has all the necessary equipment to repair a wheel, including a lathe, spray facility, wheel balancer and tyre change, which it plans to lease to clients, including franchise dealers and car auctioneers.

Founders Jamie Baxter and Phil Barnard have continued to invest in the business thanks to support from Access to Finance Lancashire (A2F Lancashire), funded by Lancashire County Council and the European Regional Development Fund.

Through this support they were able to access a grant from the Made Smarter programme to digitise operations and a finance facility last year from the county’s Rosebud Fund to develop the first pod.

Together with Access to Finance the company has secured additional investment to fund the move to larger premises, buy a new powder coating machine to speed up the repair process, as well as supporting the development of the new pods.

DA Techs, which employs 21 staff, is in the process of installing its first pod in the North West following the success of one deployed at a car auction site in Colchester. It plans to build more pods and lease them to clients, including franchise dealers and car auctioneers.

This should help achieve a 30% increase in revenues in the next financial year.

Phil Barnard said: “Following the initial lockdown we were closed for a few weeks as most of our customers, such as car supermarkets, had to shut.

“We were in a much stronger position going into the second lockdown as we continued to invest in the business.

“So far we’ve invested £100,000 since we reopened in June. This meant we were able to acquire new equipment including a van and in the ongoing development of the business which has ultimately helped to speed up our operations.”

He added: “Our aim is to be in a stronger position so that when we come out of the pandemic, we’re in a good place to scale and grow.”

Phil has worked with Access to Finance specialist Caroline Turley since 2019 on funding support.

Access to Finance Lancashire was established in 2009 to simplify the diverse funding options available to local businesses and help inform sound financial decision-making.

Caroline supported DA Techs through providing access to the Made Smarter programme, Rosebud and CBILS funding schemes.

She said: “DA Techs is a focused, efficient and forward-thinking business which is open to new ideas and has huge growth potential.

“There are a vast number of funders in the marketplace at this time. Navigating this complex arena can be difficult and time consuming. We helped them tap into different types of funding and worked closely with the founders to make sure they were the right fit for the business.”

Access to Finance is a partner of Boost, Lancashire’s Business Growth Hub. Boost is backed by the ERDF, led by the Lancashire LEP and Lancashire County Council and its purpose is to help Lancashire businesses grow.