Family business of the year
The funeral industry within the UK is worth an estimated £1.7billion. Approximately 600,000 funerals take place each year through over 4,000 funeral directors. Despite the size of the sector within which we work, Wilcox Limousines has established itself as a name known throughout the trade as one that can be trusted to deliver both a quality product and exceptional service. Our innovative approach to vehicle design, combined with outstanding production techniques ensures that we provide a product that our customers can depend upon for years. The length of our partnerships with our customers – 40% of our relationships stretch back more than 20 years – further emphasises our reliability and quality.
Through intelligent management and sound business decisions, we have improved our turnover by 28% over a 4-year period. Staff numbers in that time have stayed at a relatively steady level. This serves to demonstrate our streamlined processes deliver consistently successful service, without the need to simply employ more people to stimulate growth. Our strategic investment decisions, such as building our state-of-the-art factory in Wigan and our development of the Jaguar XF hearse have reinforced our position within the market and strengthened our offering, ensuring that we will continue to be the leading funeral vehicle coachbuilder for years to come. At the core of this success has been the Wilcox family, which has provided a steady hand since 1948. Having retained the original ownership model the firm’s hard-working philosophy has been passed down from one generation to the next.
Paul Wilcox, alongside his brother Peter, until he sadly passed away in 2011, has been at the helm of Wilcox Limousines for the past 45 years. During that period, Paul has overseen the year-upon-year growth and positioned Wilcox as the market leader within its industry. He is due to step down from the business in the next few months to enjoy his retirement, but Paul has left Wilcox in an excellent position, providing his successors with firm foundations from which to progress and expand into international markets, having secured its position within the UK.
Throughout Paul’s time at its head, the business has been consistently profitable and as we reach our 70th year in operation, the Wilcox Group has achieved record pre-tax profits. From 2012 until now, profit has increased by 189%. Rising from £1,228,000 in 2012 to £3,553,000 in 2016.
Turnover has also improved considerably over the same period, seeing a 28% increase in that time, rising from £21,746,000 in 2012 to £27,769,000 in 2016. Paul joined the business part-time at 15 years old and joined full time at 18 years old, knowing then he wanted to take over the running of the business with his brother. When Paul joined in 1972 there were around 20 employees and turnover was less than £1 million, today there are over 160 employees with a turnover of over £25 million.
Wilcox has created jobs for nearly 400 people, a stable business and, for Paul on a personal level, seeing his children now take over the reins has to be his greatest achievement. Over the years, Paul has designed and built around ten ranges of hearse and limousines, equating to 20 cars in total. There are very few people who can say they have designed and built a vehicle and then sold it to the end user!
What town/city are you based in?
Chalfont St Peters, Bucks (South East)
Number of generations
Manufacturing – Other
Number of employees