Smart50 Awards 2014

35 Suntrix

Revenue

More than $26 million

Growth

65.56%

Founders

Jenny Paradiso, 38, and David Hille, 36

Head Office

Adelaide

Year Founded

2009

Employees

22

Industry

Renewable Energy

Website

www.suntrix.com.au

 

“It was a crazy time,” says Jenny Paradiso who founded the business with husband David Hille while they still had two small children at home.Adelaide-based solar company Suntrix experienced extraordinary growth in its first year of operation – ballooning from a business with a $250,000 turnover to become a $7.3 million company.

“We were just working so hard.”

A federal government rebate had swamped the solar market with demand and Suntrix soon found itself unable to keep up with orders.

“It was so frustrating, because we knew we could have grown even bigger,” says Paradiso, remembering how the company had to turn down installations because it didn’t have the resources to match demand.

She says Suntrix considered sub-contracting work or quickly bringing on new staff, but says she and Hille decided maintaining quality and proper employee training was more important to them.

The idea for the business was born after Paradiso and Hille began looking at installing solar in their home, but found the available offering was too expensive and service was poor.

“The reason we grew so quickly was because we focused on what was important to our customer base, that really set us apart from the others,” she says.

Working from their kitchen table, Paradiso and Hille began providing more affordable products, focused on educating their customers and provided exceptional customer service.

Riding what she calls the “solar-coaster”, Paradiso says some of the hardest lessons she and Hille learnt in that first year were about cash flow.

“We developed a weekly, sometimes daily, cash flow budget to track when cash was going in and out, and ensure we could pay suppliers on time,” she says.

Suntrix also diversified its offering, selling its products in residential, commercial and wholesale markets.

“When there’s a dip in one market, the other helps with cash flow,” she says.

The company also had to deal with the challenges that arose from unexpected changes in government incentives, which impacted the company’s ability to successfully plan, budget, manage stock and employ staff.

“It’s a tough industry. I remember seeing all these solar companies collapsing and I said to my husband, ‘are we missing something?'” says Paradiso.

They weren’t missing anything. They further diversified Suntrix’s offering with different products, expanding into new markets and forming strategic partnerships with different companies.

Paradiso and Hille say they have no intention of exiting the business any time soon and are now looking to expand the company interstate.

Advertisement
SmartCompany

SmartCompany is the leading online publication in Australia for free news, information and resources catering to Australia’s entrepreneurs, small and medium business owners and business managers.

We Recommend

FROM AROUND THE WEB