In 2017, Mike Chapman co-created Builders Bay, an online marketplace for builders, renovators and DIYers helping them to build and renovate for less, buy and sell surplus materials and salvage ex-display stock. Here, Mike tells the story behind the online marketplace that is saving renovators and landlords money while helping the environment.
What was the inspiration behind Builders Bay?
The original concept for Builders Bay was based on an idea from a professional builder who was fed up of the amount of wasted products and materials left over on building sites. The £110bn building and construction industry is the UK’s largest user of natural resources and tonnes of leftover materials are dumped everyday. Each year around 400 million tonnes of material is used in this industry, 100 million tonnes of waste is produced (more than one third of the UK’s annual waste) and 25 million tonnes of construction waste is disposed into landfill. Once we realised the magnitude of the issue, we were inspired to develop a solution that benefited both the building & DIY industries as well as the environment.
What is the Builders Bay concept?
Builders Bay is essentially an online community for builders to buy and sell surplus materials, large retailers to get rid of ex-display stock and DIYers and renovators looking to save costs and maximise profits in this booming market to pick up a bargain. Products bought on buildersbay.co.uk cost a fraction of the usual price with some brand-new appliances up to 45% cheaper than anywhere else on the internet. There are thousands of products available on the site from doors and hobs to washing machines and windows.
In the early days what were the challenges?
Growing a two-sided marketplace is always challenging as you’re effectively developing two businesses at the same time, a buyer proposition and a seller proposition. Our primary challenge was stock acquisition as the builders were initially slow to adopt the platform and list their left-over items.
How did you overcome these challenges?
With stock acquisition in mind, we approached a handful of nationwide brands within the building supply chain and discovered a huge surplus issue that gave us access to millions of pounds worth of surplus and end of line products, all new and massively discounted. With such a huge range of fantastic deals available alongside our marketplace listings, buyers now visit the site in their tens of thousands every month.
How has Builder’s Bay been received in the market?
Builders Bay has had an amazing response from the market. Anyone can come visit and list their left-over products for free, turning them into cash while giving our buyers a great deal, all whilst helping the environment.
What has been the most rewarding part of the project so far?
In 2018 Builders Bay won the UK’s largest ever seed funding competition run by The Start-Up Series, to qualify for £150,000 funding. We were thrilled to win the competition beating 87 other businesses, it gave us great confidence as well as a financial platform to drive the business forward.
What’s next for Builders Bay?
We are now scaling out the business across the UK and have signed three significant deals with nationwide brands resulting in the addition of £6m of exciting new stock items available on the platform.
What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs starting out?
It’s all about the execution. There are a million and one good ideas out there, but you have to take action. Do not be afraid to fail as the learning is invaluable, just go for it, make sure you learn, adapt and keep going.