How Appleton's Began...

The main aspect of professional decorating is being trained up to the required standard. As a general rule, this is getting the officially recognised qualifications such as NVQ’s, City and Guilds and the like.  When I left school and became a decorating apprentice, from early on I decided, that for me, the way forward was eventually to be self-employed.  I did feel that it would be wise to wait until I was about 30 to make the break.  I wanted to make sure that I had enough experience and expertise to gain respect in the business world. 


In 1986, I felt the time was right to try and set up on my own.  I put an advert in the local paper and made the decision that if my first job paid the same or more than a weeks wages I would take the risk and resign from my job with the Local Authority.  Within the first week I had my first job, which paid well - and so I resigned my paid employment and started the commitment to self-employment.  I have never needed to advertise for work since. 


I set up on my own working from home and used my car with a roof rack for ladders.  I quickly built up a clientele of satisfied customers and so I purchased a van and employed an apprentice.  The apprentice is now my Contracts Manager having stayed continuously with me since 1987. 


As a sole trader, my first major commercial contract was with United Co-operative – refurbishing shops, funeral homes and travel agents.  I worked for them for a number of years, and obviously their work formed a large percentage of my workload.  I had been approached by other companies but, declined the offer because of the workload of the Co-op. 


As the years passed the business was growing and I found it restricting to work primarily for one major customer.  I then decided to branch out a little and accept other tenders.  This expanded our customer base and I soon realised how restricting it had been working for one Company (eggs in one basket and all that).  The company steadily grew until it got to the point where it was no longer a one man band but was fast becoming a small business in its own right. 


By 2000 to 2001, I realised that I could not carry on both running and working in the Company so I began to change my role.  I became more of a Manager.  This enabled us to grow even further but because of the foundations that were laid our work ethos did not change.  The company was getting too large to operate on day-to-day running and needed proper administration and organisation.  I rented an office and warehouse in an industrial unit and upgraded our office systems to include computerized accounts and payroll packages – all a long way from an office in a bedroom, garage and shed. 


The company became limited, we purchased our own premises (which include offices, warehouse and yard), we employ 24 people and have two apprentices.  We are contracted to work for:- The Casey Group, Jackson Lloyd, Bramhall Construction, Pilkington’s, Hughes Brothers, a number of local authorities, Helena Housing and many others.  We also still work for a large number of smaller companies and private customers. 


To help with our environmental policy, all left over paint is donated to various organizations like schools, colleges etc, also, the Prince’s Trust which they use on various projects throughout the St Helens Borough.  If anyone would like to benefit from this please get in touch and we will be only too willing to help. 




We believe that the way forward is to move with the times and continually improve where possible, trying to keep one step ahead of the competition.  Our attention to detail is second to none.  We expect staff to be smart, courteous and professional at all times.  We provide uniforms to promote a good image and encourage individual morale and pride.  We have always promoted equal opportunities.  Clients expect a high level of standard and in order to try and maintain this level of quality for the future, we always like to have at least two apprentices at any stage.  Our company has always had an apprentice scheme and many apprentices have worked their way to full employment here and are still with us.  (Our current apprentices are seen above, during an apprenticeship assessment).  We stay in close contact with the college ensuring that all their work is completed diligently.  Hopefully, we can guide these young men through successful careers within the trade.  In a further attempt to encourage young people, the company also sponsors an annual award at the local college for Apprentice of the year. 


Appleton Painting Ltd does not advertise for work – we do not have to.  All of our work comes from repeat work, referrals and recommendations, including some referrals from the Horizon Group.  We care about our work and reputation and this is reflected not only in our standards but also in the growth of the company which has increased year to year.  We have a business plan which expects this growth rate to continue for the foreseeable future.


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