We dropped out of school at 16 and have made £2million with pizza business at 22 – it started in our mum's garage | The Sun

EDUCATION is not for everybody, no one understands that better than Luke and Owen Buckmaster.

The 22-year-olds based in Maidenhead started out as school drops and now they're running a million-pound business. 

The pair both decided at age 16 that they were done with school and opted to head straight into the working world. 

Luke told The Sun: “We both really hated school.

"More so myself, I found it quite constricting and I was never a natural academic so as soon as I got the chance to leave school I did.”

Both of the twins took on apprentices after leaving school and completing their GCSEs.

Luke said: “I went work in a kitchen to start earning money while studying part-time, Owen did an apprenticeship with a construction company product in management administration.”

Although both the twins enjoyed earning money they started to realise there wasn’t much development in their roles. 

“We were both working long days and hours, seeing what we liked and didn’t like," he added.

"But eventually, we realised while working for a management company that we working much harder than our employers.”

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“We asked; what is the point of spending all your time and effort fulfilling someone else dream and not getting anything out of it?”

Luke remembers his grandparents had always encouraged him to adopt a business mindset and take risks, so the pair came together to see if they could find a business problem that they could solve.

“A friend of mine was running a successful pub but she was struggling to recruit chefs so she couldn’t cook food to order for her customers.”

And Kirsty wasn’t the only one, there is a constant lack of chefs available in the hospitality industry.

More often than not restaurant owners accommodate by compromising on good food quality or massively reducing their food selection.

After taking a trip abroad Luke and Owen were inspired to launch a business in the hospitality industry, trading premade pizza bases.  

There were tons of niche artisan manufacturers in Italy that made authentic handmade pizza, that could be stored and ready to order, these would then be sold to pubs and bars that wanted to serve food along with drinks. 

Not only would these restaurants be saving money from no longer needing to hire a chef but they would also be profiting off the new range of food they could provide. 

'We understood the risks'

Luke and Owen reached out to an authentic manufacturer in Italy to ship their pizzas to businesses in the UK. 

Both Luke and Owen saved up £10,000 each to start to business.

Luke said: “As we both didn't have many financial commitments aside from helping our mum with her mortgage, our money was our own.

"We were both pretty savvy with our money and where our peers were going out or planning holidays we were saving up. 

“We understood this was a huge risk, we had only been saving for about three or four years at this point but we were confident in the business idea.”

But the bright-eyed businessmen faced their first hurdle just one month after they launched their business.

“We first launched in February a month later the pandemic hit and the UK went into lockdown, almost everything was closed so we couldn't sell anything.”

“We couldn't trade for months and had no choice but to abandon the business.”

But the hard workers didn’t give up, both taking up two jobs each in supermarkets to save more money to put back into the business.

Luke said: “It was relentless, I’d have a morning shift at Tesco from 5am till about 11/12pm, then I’d go home have a break and head to my local M&S for an evening shift from 1pm till about 11pm. 

“There were massive days with a ridiculous amount of hours but they were very easy jobs and easy money.”

A stroke of luck came with the government's Eat Out to Help Scheme in August of 2020.

Under the new scheme, diners were allowed to claim 50% off more than 160million meals at a cost to the Treasury of about £850million.

At this point, any business wishing to operate in the UK needed to provide essential food in order to trade.

Suddenly there was a huge demand for businesses that could provide quick and affordable food to bars and pubs desperately wanting to open back up. 

Despite storing all their pizzas in their mum's garage, Luke and Owen’s business took off and they turned over their first £300,000 in just 12 months. 

Since then the business has continued to grow with the pair raking in more than £2million so far. 

“We now have a proper warehouse, and supply thousands of pubs, restaurants, hotels and stadiums with pizzas," Luke said.

"This year we are on track to make another million.”

Doughboys Pizza has launched its first retail range in Ocado in another huge breakthrough. 

Despite the big earnings Luke and Owen are only taking home a reasonable £40,000 a year each and putting money back into the business to grow it further on the advice of their accountants.

Luke says: “I get to work with my brother every day and my mum too actually.

"She hated her old job and jumped at the opportunity to head up our customer service daily operation.”

“I love working with family. Me and my brother have a great dynamic, we have different views and opinions but it means collectively we don’t rush into anything until we’re both in agreement.” 

“Neither I nor Owen regret not going to university or doing A levels, it probably wouldn’t have made much of a difference to where we are now."

"If anything it would have only meant we would have lost a few years starting the business. Although I’m sure we would have enjoyed the social aspect of university.”

Tips for starting your own business

And for anyone else looking to start a business Luke says to not let the haters get you down.

“I would say anyone interested in starting a business should take the risk.

"As long as you are willing to put in the effort don’t let fear of the unknown stop you.” 

“And don’t let the judgement of others hold you back.

"People always assume young people are too naive but it doesn't mean you can’t be successful ”

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