From my garage to our purpose built offices, our journey has been very exciting.
It was on my 30th birthday, in December 1996, when I decided to do things differently.
I had worked in an accountancy practice for five years and this was long enough to know that I could provide clients with better accountancy, tax and business advice with more than the usual ‘nine to five’ service.
Having just moved house, and with baby number two on the way, I convinced my wife Alison to convert our garage into an office so I could set up our own practice, and that was it! In April 1997 our firm had started, offering a fresh, sensible, no-nonsense approach for local businesses.
One Sunday afternoon (with builders busy behind me, converting the garage), our neighbour Anne, stopped to talk. While chatting I discovered that Anne and her husband Hughie ran their own business, Caldew Coaches. After a cup of tea she agreed I was the man who could help their business move forward. The following week I had a meeting with Hughie and his bank manager, who over the years has referred countless clients to me, this meeting marked the beginning of our business journey.
With Alison on maternity leave, she was able to man the office while I got out and about building relationships and gaining clients. In no time at all, having already moved twice to rented offices, we made the decision to build our own office on Barras Lane Estate in Dalston. By this time Alison was expecting our fourth child. During construction we tried hard to think of a name for the office. We eventually chose Dalmar House, which was the initial letter from David and Alison plus Louise, Mary, Amy and Robert (our children’s middle names). In August 2001 we moved into our purpose built office, which was a fantastic feeling. As our client base grew so did our team and with it the need for more space arose resulting in the completion of a three-storey extension in October 2007.
In February 2009 we opened our Workington office, this was followed by another in Penrith the following month and most recently our Dumfries office seen us expand out of Cumbria and into South West Scotland. The needs and demands of clients have changed over the years and the range of services we provide has evolved too. David Allen Financial Services provides independent financial advice across a wide range of products including pensions, investments, mortgages and protection; David Allen Recovery Solutions assists clients with credit control and recovery of outstanding invoices and David Allen IT Solutions supports IT needs, from software to hardware.
At times it feels like my enthusiasm is contagious! Our commitment, straight talking and no fuss approach, along with actually getting the job done, has got us to where we are today.
Our business has grown as the result of client recommendations. We recognise that everyone who walks through our door is different and has different needs and we ensure that they are teamed with a like-minded professional. Our organic growth has resulted from clients moving to us by choice, recognising that we’re different and that we make a difference to their businesses too.
Whether I’m in my wellies or a suit, I’m always contactable – my phone is never far from my hand!
It’s fantastic to look at how far we have come from our early days in the garage conversion, to today with a team of over 90 dedicated staff based in our purpose built offices in Dalston, Penrith, Workington and Dumfries. The success of the business is down to hard work, commitment, a fantastic team and doing a great job for our clients. Fundamentally, we still work in the same sincere way that we did from day one, with a genuine commitment to client care.