Nixey Insulation, Petone

Making your own mark on a family business

Wellington_CP_Gary-Nixey-webGary Nixey stepped into his father’s business, Nixey Insulation, in 1989 after working for himself writing jingles and experiencing the right-of-passage OE. He eventually took over in 1997, when Gary’s father John, sadly passed away.

John started the business just over 20 years ago. Like many family businesses, as a teenager Gary had spent numerous school holidays working in the business doing all kinds of odd jobs – whether it was crawling through a tight ceiling space or sweeping up a mess, Gary has done it all.

The business has always been focused primarily on industrial insulation and sheet metal fabrication, but in quieter periods they have explored the domestic home insulation market. However the changes to the domestic market several years ago, brought in so many rules and regulations that doing it as a sideline was no longer feasible. The decision was made to concentrate on core business and what the team does best, which has proved to be a good strategy over the past few years.

The business that Gary’s Dad operated is very different from what it is today. It’s an industry that has moved from no health and safety to highly regulated. Gary says, “Back in the day there wasn’t any health and safety and the boys would all clean up by washing their hands with kerosene. Dad was quick to remind them not to light a cigarette!”

Like many small to medium sized businesses, cash flow is king. Within the construction industry, as a sub contractor it can often be challenging to have bills paid in full. It’s not uncommon for a retention of 10 percent of the job to be kept for up to 12 months by the builder – putting real pressure on cash flow for those further down the chain.

“Our director at Moore Stephens Markhams, Bruce Stormer, has been a real help with our cash flow. He gave us some valuable advice around quotations and terms and conditions. Because of his advice we are no longer in position of waiting for the return of retentions. This is a real positive for our business,” says Gary.

Bruce has also been instrumental in moving parts of the accounting system to Xero where it is more time effective. Gary went on to say, “I appreciate that Bruce will come into my business and take the time to go over the analysis of my accounts. He walks me through it step by step.” As a result, Gary has a good handle on the financial running of his business, which is crucial in meeting the financial commitments of seven employees.

Gary believes the outlook for his industry is looking good both in Wellington and in Hawke’s Bay. He thinks there’s room for growth in manufacturing and pulp and paper and these are all good signs.

Gary is pleased with where he’s at and holds a debt of gratitude to his father for teaching him how to handle people. While the business may have changed somewhat in Gary’s time, the foundations of the business hold firm to what was originally established.

Published Spring 2015.

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