Preston-based construction firm Tranco is reaping the benefits of enlisting one of the University of Central Lancashire’s free business support projects, Digital First.

Tranco was established to assist businesses in the construction industry with the management of all aspects of structural alterations and builders works. The company’s services include the supply and installation of temporary works, needling and propping, facade retention works, insertion of steel and concrete lintels, insertion of concrete padstones, diamond drilling, diamond sawing, abrasive wall chasing and soft strip demolition.

Its wide range of clients include multi-million-pound turnover construction firms including Conlon Construction, F Parkinson and Eric Wright Construction.

Director Darren Penn bought the business in 2003, which at the time was operating as a sole trader. Now under his leadership, the business employs 22 people, has a turnover of £1 million and has been involved in the construction of several buildings on UCLan’s campus, including the Oasis Faith Centre which opened in May, the student Social Spaces and the Media Factory. It has also carried out work for Sir Tom Finney Community High School, Eden Boys’ School and Leyland Trucks.

Since he bought the business Darren’s vision was to ensure the business grew in a sustainable manner, while providing a first-class service to construction firms across the region. One of the key requirements that helped his team grow the business was to develop a new website through which Tranco could accurately communicate what its offering was and promote its services.

Darren enlisted the help of the Digital First Project, a team of digital specialists and students from UCLan that helps promote and achieve growth through a range of digital tools and tactics. The Digital First Project is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and supported by Boost; Lancashire’s business growth hub.

The team, led by Daniel Livingstone, Project Manager, embarked upon a four-month programme of support to produce a new responsive website, which would work across a range of devices.

Completion of the project resulted in a more effective platform to promote the services Tranco has to offer. The new website features improvements in layout, functionality and customer experience, enabling the company to display promotional tools such as client testimonials and case studies.

It has led to an increase in the amount of traffic through to the site and the number of enquiries received, in addition to greater awareness of the business and the specialist skills of its workforce.

Darren said: “Digital First has given expert advice and guidance every step of the way. The new website reflects what our company is about, what we have achieved and really showcases our unique selling points and the added value we provide to clients.

“I’m confident that we have been able to increase our client base and awareness of our services thanks to the new website. We’ve been getting a much better response from tenders, and enquiries have increased too. Our previous website didn’t allow us to effectively promote what we can provide, but now we have something that reflects the expertise and quality services we offer.”

During the four-month project, Darren also completed his studies for a degree in Project Management from UCLan and will graduate in December 2018.

Darren added: “Three years ago I had six employees, and I now have a workforce of 22. I genuinely believe that since achieving my degree and gaining support from Digital First there has been a huge impact on the business and my aim is to keep building on this growth.”

The Digital First project provides services including digital strategy, app development, website evaluation and redesign, social media support, CPD and training systems, videography and camera drone photography.

For more information, contact Daniel Livingstone, Project Manager at Digital First, UCLan. Call 01772 895855 or ddlivingstone@uclan.ac.uk or visit https://www.uclan.ac.uk/business_at_uclan/digital-first.php. For more information about Tranco, visit https://www.tranco.ltd.uk/

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