Michael Hardicker has been a haleys customer for 15 years.
Entrepreneur Michael Hardicker is CEO of the Xscape Group that comprise three trading companies; Vantage Motorhomes, MasterCraft Boats UK and Signature Motorhomes.
The oldest of these companies is MasterCraft Boats UK, having been run by Michael since 2007. The sole importer from the USA of MasterCraft inboard wakeboarding, waterskiing, wake surfing and performance ski boats.
An established brand in the UK since 1978, MasterCraft Boats UK was established and has since supported their established customer base for sales, servicing, warranty and parts requirements.
Vantage Motorhomes is based over the Pennines in Leeds and is an award-winning manufacturer of luxury quality panel van conversion motorhomes.
Finally, Signature Motorhomes is a motorhomes dealership just off the M6 and to the northeast of Preston. A dealer for Adria, Globecar, Pilote and Le Voyageur, Signature Motorhomes offers a variety of brands, types and layouts for those in search of a recreation vehicle.
Each of the companies that Michael runs are serviced by haleys, each business has its own unique complexities, with Michael more than happy with the assistance he is given.
“The thing I find is that Tim and the team are always very accessible,” Michael said. “There seems to be a very good relevant skillset with VAT, tax implications or restructuring and we seem to have the support there for whatever advice that we need at the time.
“We have some quite complicated VAT implications at times with import and export. We always find them (haleys) to be very professional in their approach, yet big enough so that we can still get that level of personal service from the team and a big enough company to partner with, that can give us sound advice as we navigate through growth, challenges, opportunities, whatever it may be.”
Working in the leisure industry, Michael’s businesses were negatively impacted by Covid-19. But as the summer months drew closer and lockdown restrictions were eased, Michael has since seen his companies getting back into the full swing of things.
Much of this can be attributed to the limited amount of countries that people are free to visit without the prospect of a 14-day isolation period at home upon their return home. The staycation has been the choice for many, with Michael saying this has prompted much interest in his various enterprises.
“When lockdown was eased, we didn’t really know what to explain,” Michael explained. “We have certainly found that people are choosing more to holiday in the UK, which is relevant to our motorhome business because that facilitates people being able to do that (holiday at home), without having to stop in a hotel or anything like that.
“Effectively, anybody who wants to isolate, yet travel, they can pack it with their food and cook for themselves, without having to go into restaurants and that kind of thing.
“It has been a busy period because of the type of business that we are in, so we have probably found an increase since we have come back.
“We have noticed that it has changed slightly too, because we are getting customers that are new to motorhoming and that previously may not have considered that type of holiday.
“Then off the back of that, our boating business, MasterCraft, again we have found that has increased activity wise, certainly from June, through to August and September.
“People are spending more time in the UK, at the lakes, in their own bubbles. People have spent money upgrading their boats or buying boats for the first time and we have seen an increase in our activity through that period.
“Although we did lose part of the season, we have certainly had a busy spell since we have come back.”
Recently, Vantage Motorhomes have been showcased by caravans and motorhomes blogger and YouTuber, Andrew Ditton, who went on one of Vantage’s factory visits, where he saw various vehicles being fitted by employees.
Watch one of Andrew’s video’s below:
Like all of haleys other clients, Michael was kept abreast of the support available to him from the government by his business advisors. As a result, he was aware of how he could operate, as well as safeguard his companies to ensure that they would still be able to operate once lockdown was eased.
“haleys have kept themselves, as a company, up to date with the situation,” Michael said. “Not only with the support that has been available, but also have had the ability to back up that support. They have kept us in the loop with support that is relative and available to each of our businesses, because it does differ.
“We’ve had regular updates, either via email communications personal calls, Zoom meetings, whatever it may be. The main thing is that they have been there and have continued to be there, continuing to offer the right advice, being up to date and where we are.”