Redundancy sparks new business idea for electrical engineer

Being made redundant two days before Christmas forced Ross Henderson to consider his options – wait for the oil & gas market to recover or set up his own business.

Having already established a small hobby enterprise selling accessories for handheld GPS units, such as USB cables and digital mapping software, the 46-year-old from Inverurie, decided to launch Donside Property Services in January.

Since then the business, which specialises in portable appliance testing (PAT), DIY and property photography, has worked with a range of local clients, including Instant Neighbour and most recently the Rhythm Box.

Now, Ross, who has accessed support from Business Gateway Aberdeen City & Shire, hopes to secure a wide range of clients keen to use his skillset, with the ultimate aim to create jobs in the future.

He said: “I had worked in the oil & gas industry since 1998, repairing sonars etc and thought my position would be okay. However, when the consultation period started and I saw that the work I was doing was being outsourced, I realised my job wasn’t as secure as I’d hoped. Two days before Christmas I was called in and made redundant. I spent the next few weeks wondering what to do.

“I thought about applying for jobs but they were threadbare so decided to give setting up my own business a go. I looked at what sectors were more stable than oil & gas, and having spent the past three years doing up my own house, property stood out. I then went to Business Gateway because I wanted to set up my business correctly.

“My adviser has given me a lot of moral support, guiding me through the start-up process which has definitely built my confidence and knowledge. Setting up in business was a bit of a knee jerk reaction but I am enjoying it. Getting enquiries from prospective clients is very exciting as it shows there is a need for the services I offer.”

Gillian Burley, Business Gateway, said: “Oil & gas had always been considered a safe sector that provided long term job security, however, the recent crash in the market has resulted in a lot of redundancies. This has inspired many to think about becoming their own boss. With our help we’ve been able to guide people like Ross through the start-up process, providing them with expert advice, knowledge and support. Redundancy, although a scary prospect for most, can open new doors and highlight opportunities, like self-employment, that may not have been thought of before.”

Using his electrical engineering knowledge, Ross rolled out his PAT testing service initially, testing electrical safety and undertaking functional testing on anything that had a plug.

He said: “Anybody who uses an appliance, whether it be an office, shop, a landlord who rents out property, should PAT test at least once a year otherwise they can be held responsible should a problem arise – such as an electrical fire. It’s something people don’t think about but it is essential, and that’s why I volunteered to help local charity Instant Neighbour undertake its PAT testing of devices that are donated to them.”

For more information on Donside Property Services visit:

Find out how Business Gateway Aberdeen City & Shire can help your business by visiting or call 01224 968174.