It's thirteen years since Pitchcare was first launched and it amazes me that so many people within our industry still think that Pitchcare is 'just a magazine' with a handful of staff involved. Whether it's a Groundsman, Greenkeeper or the Managing Director of a large company coming to visit us, the absolute look of disbelief on their faces after a tour of our facilities always makes me smile.
The business has grown well, remaining firm in our commitment that knowledge and education will help bring the recognition that our industry so deserves.
Whilst the overall business is now called Maxwell Amenity, the business primarily trades under the names of ALS and Pitchcare.
The company employs sixty-five people and we have been tremendously successful at progressing apprentices to full time employment. Our staff in key positions are all highly qualified, with many being former head groundsmen or head greenkeepers.
We operate out of a thirteen acre site that includes nearly 55,000 square feet of insulated warehousing. One of the seven warehouses is BASIS approved and annually inspected, and this contains our chemical and wet sale stock - liquid feeds and paint as opposed to beer, unfortunately!
The business is split into editorial, product and equipment sales (turf and landscape), contracts for end of season works, drainage and chemical application, Spray CDA for controlled droplet chemical application and education and training.
Every day, between 200 and 400 boxed deliveries are picked, packaged and sent out via courier, whilst the pallet network takes another one or two lorry loads of larger palletted orders. Again, these are picked, packed and distributed every day of the week.
The stock levels vary throughout the year but, in the height of summer, we will usually have around £1.5m of ready to go stock across more than 2,000 product lines in the warehouses.
We pride ourselves on our customer service and, at the end of 2013, enrolled with Feefo, Google's preferred independent consumer survey analyst. We have maintained a high 90s percentage satisfaction rating from nearly 3,000 customer reviews, a ranking better than most of the High Street names that also use the service.
Our menu of educational courses continues to expand, most of which are accredited through LANTRA (National Training Organisation for the Land Based Industries) and NPTC (National Proficiency Tests Council and part of the City & Guilds group). Some have been developed specifically to meet the needs of our ever changing industry and new legislation that we all need to be aware of. Throughout the year we run in excess of seventy-five courses. Our range of courses covers everything from Supervisory Skills for Head Groundsmen and Greenkeepers to one day basic pitch maintenance for volunteers and part-time staff.
Our website hosts the most comprehensive, industry specific, technical reference library in the UK which is constantly being updated. If, by chance, you can't find what you are looking for then our myriad articles (over 11,000) may offer specific details via a quick search.
To service the websites and the hard copy magazine, we have IT, marketing and editorial teams, in total numbering nearly twenty people ... and I still don't seem to be able to get anything done that I specifically want, because they are always very busy!
Definitely not just a magazine!