A family-run uPVC manufacturer in Leicestershire has been able to double its workforce and invest in a new factory after its online customisation tool qualified for research and development (R&D) tax credits.

Hinckley-based Burbage Custom Windows, established in 1994, received £158,000 from its two most recent claims for innovation found in the ongoing software development of their online customisation tool, which allows customers to design their own windows and doors. The window and doors industry is traditional, and Burbage Custom Windows has a strong online presence that is changing the way in which it makes its sales via their enhanced customer service offering. There is no other company offering a full customisation tool like this.

The company received the cash payment from HMRC across two R&D claims, secured by the firm’s advisers R&D tax specialists Access2Funding, who identified all aspects of the business’ recent projects that qualified for research and development tax relief.

James Meah, Managing Director of Burbage Custom Windows, said: “Developing and testing the customisation tool was our biggest challenge, employing a full-time programmer to ensure we can hand-hold the customer all the way through the process and continue to make the tool more intuitive, faster and with more functionality.

“We are really proud of our unique software and are currently working on developing the mobile app for the online tool, to make it more accessible for builders working outside and others who don’t have immediate access to a desktop computer.”

The online tool has brought massive success to the company and assisted its growth. Although they have always operated nationwide, it is now much simpler for them to bring customers in from all over the UK. The business began its first claim with the help of Access2Funding in 2016 and has used the money received to reinvest into the business – investing in a larger factory and extending offices, purchasing new machinery, redevelopment, taking on more staff and doubling the workforce.

James liaised with Charlotte Johnson and Rachel Hughes at Access2Funding to uncover the R&D in the business, following a recommendation he received from a friend in the construction industry. He had heard of R&D tax credits before, but it was only until his friend received a cheque from HMRC for doing his everyday job, that James first looked into a claim with Access2Funding.

He said: “I would absolutely recommend you, and I have done already. As small business owners, we are extremely busy and using an R&D specialist takes out all the hassle of the work involved in putting a claim in.”

Charlotte Johnson, regional R&D manager at Access2Funding, said: “Any company that is developing software could potentially qualify for R&D tax relief. If you have developed new software as there was nothing available that you could purchase which had the functions needed, or if you have tried to improve security of your systems to protect information, you may be eligible. AI and machine learning, cloud computing and robotics are some of the most common areas that qualify for software R&D.”

R&D tax credits are an HMRC incentive to encourage UK businesses to continue to grow by innovating. The incentive being a reduction in corporation tax or a cash payment.

If you’d like to find out if your business is eligible for R&D tax credits, visit the Access2Funding website.