A VAN dealership in Cricklade has recruited more staff and seen its best-ever turnover of more than £30 million in one year.

Mike Austen of Big Van World has seen the company’s annual turnover and staff intake increase by 15 per cent each through 2021.

The team has grown to 85 employees who now sell around 2,200 vehicles each year. Since the dealership opened in 2002, it claims to have sold 30,000 vehicles.

During the pandemic, they saw a sharp rise in sales of minibuses when social distancing rules were in place, courier services which faced more demand needed more vehicles for their fleets, and staff spent a lot of time and effort improving the store’s online presence.

Three quarters of the vehicles sold are delivered to customers’ doors, sometimes without the buyers ever visiting the showroom, only seeing the vehicles in photos on the website.

Mike said: “We have bucked the trend and had a record year, had record turnover and profits, and kept expanding very quickly.

“We looked at what consumers want and how Covid has changed what they’re looking for. We’ve built up a lot of trust with our customers so they feel confident in buying from us.

“It’s a big business but small enough so that you can make changes immediately without having to go through several levels of management.

“We employ people with the right skillset from the Swindon area. The town took a hit after the Honda closure and we are trying to help with that and still looking for people to come on board with us.”

Group operation manager Neil Scott said: “We see a lot of the same faces again and again. Our regulars help us grow the business.”

Big Van World’s land portfolio has increased as well, and the main offices now have a new client waiting area for vehicle handovers and collections.

Mike added: “One of our biggest goals this year is to reduce our carbon footprint because we feel this is a win for both us as a company and our loyal client base by helping them achieve their environmental aspirations.

“To facilitate this bold move, we will be increasing our electric vehicle stock considerably. We are only seeking to buy Euro 6-compliant vehicles. January has already shown a promising start.”