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‘In Conversation’ with our Managing Director, James Ferguson.

23 April 2024


Fuel Oils News popped in to catch up with our Managing Director to discuss our 5 year anniversary!


Congratulations on your 5th year anniversary James and the United Fuels team! Please can you give us a brief outline of the development of the business from the beginning to your current day operations.

We started with one 4 wheeler tanker, a driver (my brother n law), myself and another office member (my nephew) and a whole lot of enthusiasm. I will never forget the first day we opened for business, we sat watching the phone at 8am; We had done some hefty leaflet dropping announcing our opening and so it was a great delight that at 8.07am on our first day that we received our first order! Since then, we have grown to 6 tankers a handful of office staff and still have the same enthusiasm we had when we started!

(Our first 4 Wheeler)

What have been the main company milestones of growth and change during the last 5 years?

Just as we thought things was starting to go well, Covid 19 came, businesses shut over night which massively effected our commercial growth plans. The biggest milestone was when we came out of the other end, thankfully the customers we had started to engage with didn’t forget us and as a result it has seen a steady increase in volumes.

How many members of staff were there when the company was founded 5 years ago and how many members are there now? Tell us about the team – who makes everyone laugh the most? Who makes the best cup of tea? Who has the best ideas?! 

We started with 3 staff and one truck. We now have 10 staff and 6 trucks. From day one we had a real ‘one family ethos’ mentality and this still maintains today. Our staff are the backbone of the company and we all work extremely well together. However, I am very much an ideas man, I’m very happy but rarely satisfied. When I come into the office and say ‘’I have a new idea’’ I can see eyes rolling and giggles as to what it might be this week! I encourage my team to challenge mine and their ideas collaboratively which always makes an interesting debate in the office!

(We have grown considerably since 2019)

  1. You are currently based in Skipton, North Yorkshire. Has that always been your main depot? Any plans to expand your site or acquire other depots?


Skipton is local to where I live and it is the gateway to the Yorkshire Dales so it was an obvious choice of location to launch the business. I love dealing with customers on a personal level and I want to maintain that discipline. We don’t want to be an over commercialised company and I think the vast majority of customers see the value in dealing with a smaller player in the industry as they get that personalised service, particular on occasion when it is the MD himself sometimes delivering their fuel.


  1. What do you think makes your customer choose you as their supplier?

Our people, beyond doubt. From our drivers to the office staff we get to know our customers and build relationships with them and as such we have enjoyed going to many customers weddings, christenings and sadly, even funerals.


  1. What have you enjoyed the most about operating in fuel distribution?

No two days are the same, the challenges are daily which keeps me busy and makes it interesting.


  1. What has been your proudest accomplishment in the business?

Creating job opportunities and seeing my team grow with the business.


  1. What was the best piece of advice you have been given in this industry?

‘’Ears mouth – use them in that order’’


  1. Tell us about your most memorable day at work.

Although their has been plenty, one in particular day stands out the most. I received a call at 4.30pm to say that an elderly couple, one of which was on end of life care, had been let down by their supplier and had no heating for the night. It was October 2022 and the temperature was sub zero. After hearing their plight I jumped in a truck and drove 2 hours to get to them. When I arrived I didn’t realise just how poorly one of the individuals was and he was being kept warm by blankets. I delivered the oil (at cost) and they wrote me a letter a few days later telling me how they couldn’t thank me enough.


  1. How do you plan to celebrate the 5th anniversary?

Probably with a staff curry night!!


  1. Looking to the future, what is the vision for the company as it moves forward and plans for the next 5, 10, 15 years?

We are in a ever changing industry so usually plans are re aligned as time goes by. However, our plan is to grow organically and keep to our company ethos. We will never compromise our service over growth.