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The voice of the skip hire, recycling and waste industries in the UK & Ireland.

Skip Company of the Month

#SaferlorryName of business: O’Donovan Waste Disposal

 Location: London

 Number of employees: 140

 What is the history of the company? Who set it up, and when?

O’Donovan Waste Disposal is one of London’s leading waste management companies, specialising in construction  and demolition waste. It is an independent, family-run company with roots dating back to the 1950’s. The company  was started by the late Joe O’Donovan, but was taken over by his four children when he passed away suddenly in  1985 aged 51.

All four siblings worked together to keep the company going and today, with Jacqueline O’Donovan as managing director, the company has grown to employ 140 staff, have a fleet of 85 vehicles and a turnover of over £14m.

Is there anyone in the business who deserves a special mention?

During Jacqueline’s tenure as managing director, the company has grown significantly in terms of turnover, number of staff, number of vehicles and has gained an even stronger reputation within the industry.

Jacqueline is extremely passionate about the construction, waste and logistics industries and about making these sectors safer. She has worked closely with Transport for London, Construction Logistics and Cycle Safety (CLOCS) and vehicle manufacturers to identify the best ways to improve vehicle safety and the company has been hailed as exemplar for her work in this field.

In addition to this, Jacqueline is also committed to upskilling her workforce and giving everyone the opportunity to thrive in their job. To that end, there are currently 60 members of staff being put through the NVQ Level 2 & 3 Waste Management Industry Training and Advisory Board (WAMITAB) training courses, a huge investment for a company of O’Donovan’s size.

Not only is Jacqueline committed to investing in her own workforce, she has also made a significant contribution to training those outside O’Donovan in an effort to raise standards across the industry as a whole. As an example, she has recently launched a specific Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) course. Developed internally, it is believed to be the first course devised by a waste management company and is open to other companies as well as O’Donovan employees.

Her dedication to operating a sustainable and safe business has seen the company achieve FORS Gold for the fourth year in a row and Jacqueline herself has recently won the London and South East Institute of Directors Award for Family Director of the Year.

What services do you offer?

O’Donovan offers a wide range of services including skip hire, roll on/off bins, waste management, tipper and grab lorry services, recycled aggregates, roadsweepers, wheelie bins and demolition services. It’s a ‘one stop shop’ for the construction industry.

What areas do you cover?

O’Donovan Waste Disposal has a strong network of loyal clients across London and the South East.

What are the hardest things you face as a business?

Initially finding good quality staff is always difficult, it has been well documented that there is a shortage of qualified drivers in the UK and this remains to be the case. Once we have staff on board we then have to invest a lot of time, effort and money to ensure that they are trained up to our standards and feel like they are part of the team.

What are the best things about working there?

As O’Donovan is a family run business there is a really strong team ethic amongst the staff and every single person is valued and invested in. O’Donovan is committed to training all members of staff, from waste handlers, to drivers and management.

Because of its commitment to developing its staff and the supportive environment it provides, O’Donovan has an extremely low staff turnover with many employees having been with the company for more than 30 years.

What do you like best about the skip hire industry?

The skip hire industry is full of interesting characters and no day is ever the same. O’Donovan is focused on customer service and we relish the challenge of meeting the demands of clients working in the increasingly cramped conditions of the capital.
We work hard as a team to meet client requirements and its success as a team that keeps us coming into work with smiles on our faces every day.

What do you like the least about the skip hire industry?

Although we welcome any rules and regulations that make our industry safer – O’Donovan has been recognised as exemplar by both DVSA and CLOCS for its efforts in regards to fleet safety – we would rather those responsible for making the rules work more closely with the industry so decisions made are better informed and practicable. A reduction in red tape for our industry and ease of process would be most welcome!

What one change would you make to the industry?

Less red tape!

What is your relationship like with the other skip hire companies in your area?

There is healthy competition between other skip hire companies in the area and the team at O’Donovan, but we all get on well. Everyone in the industry is facing the same challenges and restrictions so there’s camaraderie over that too.

We’ve recently developed our own Driver CPC course which we’ve been delivering both internally and externally, strengthening our relationships further.

Has your company developed any new parts of the business in the past few years?

In the last two years we’ve invested £500,000 in new recycling equipment at one of our facilities meaning we can be more sustainable, efficient and cost effective for customers.

Additionally, we’ve just invested £15 million in a new processing facility in west London enabling us to handle increasing levels of material and minimise the distances that waste is travelling across the capital. Around 50 jobs will be created across a range of operational roles, including drivers and waste handlers.

What makes your company stand out from your competition?

We think our commitment to investing in every single member of the O’Donovan team makes us stand out. Staff development is core to what we do.

We’re also extremely passionate about fleet safety and have invested heavily in this area too. With new legislation around HGVs operating in London coming into effect in September, which we helped to launch, it was important to us that we led the field in terms of safety. We were one of the UK’s first Construction Logistics and Cycle Safety (CLOCS) Champions by actively implementing rigorous safety standards designed to further protect vulnerable road users. We’re very proud of our work in this area.

What do you like most about Skip Hire Magazine?

Skip Hire Magazine represents the vibrant UK skip hire industry perfectly. It’s informative, interesting but also fun. It’s also growing month on month which is another sign of its success. It’s great to keep up to date with what’s going on in the industry and helps us keep abreast of important sector developments. Thanks Skip Hire!

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