Reflecting on being Open for 21 years with Peter Smith, Managing Director
When Peter Smith and Malcolm MacDougall began the company Open Contracts Ltd in Woking back in 2001, they shared the sales, estimating and project management between the two of them. They worked hard to establish and develop strong relationships in the industry and made the complex simple with their open and straightforward approach. As we’re now celebrating being Open for 21 years, we took a moment to reflect on those 21 years with Peter.
Tell us how the company began and how you and Malcolm met?
Malcolm and I met at a company called ODB where I was a Project Manager and Malcolm was Sales Director. We worked together for three years and then decided to start our own company. Malcolm left Open in 2020 to pursue his law career but he is still a much valued member of our team.
What was the vision for the company back in 2001?
The vision was to start a contracting company delivering projects ranging from £50k – £250k and that’s exactly what we started doing.
Why the name Open Contracts Ltd?
Because it reflects our approach of being open, honest, and straightforward.
What were your respective roles in the beginning?
We both found work and priced it, so we enjoyed a mix of sales, estimating and project management.
Who was your first client and where was the project?
It was for Jim Laity at Robert Shaw & Partners, 82 Portsmouth Road, Guildford and was an internal and external office refurbishment.
What do these 21 years mean to you and to the business?
It means a great deal that we started in the recession of 2001, experienced another recession in 2008, and then a pandemic in 2020, so I’m very pleased that we have not only managed to survive but have kept going from strength to strength.
How has the business strategy changed since 2001?
We’re now completing office and industrial refurbishment and fit-out projects ranging from £100k – £3million plus so that’s a significant change from 21 years ago!
What’s the key to managing a successful business for 21 years and making it thrive in such a competitive market?
Attention to detail, being honest and working hard to deliver great projects.
What are you most proud of the business having achieved?
We have a really good team of people, including our subcontractors and suppliers, who share our values and have completed some amazing projects together. And of course, the fact that we are still going strong after 21 years.
How will you be celebrating being Open for 21 years?
We have a few events planned so we can thank everyone we work with including our team, subcontractors, and suppliers as well as clients – it’s definitely a cause for celebration!