When father and son Rob and Geoff Hill met the Dragons in August 2008, they provided one of the most hilarious, comedic turns ever seen in the Den. They struggled with their figures, talked across each another and exasperated each of the multi-million pound investors in turn.
It took Duncan Bannatyne to cut the levity and rebuke the pair in a way Rob remembers as like being taken into the “headmaster’s office”. So aptly it is the Scot who travels to Blandford in rural Dorset to see if the famous five Dragons were right in ejecting the Hills from the Den without the £100,00 they were seeking for their Ladderbox.
A year on, they have moved on to Ladderbox Mark II, a redesign of the original tool tray that multi-fits to the top of all ladder types. The pair tell Duncan they eventually sold all of Ladderbox Mark I but posted a paltry £7,000 profit against their £100,000 investment. “The great thing about losing £93,000 is you don’t pay tax on it”, quipped Duncan.
Undeterred they have ploughed a further £50,000 on product development and Duncan is impressed when he tries out the latest model. But, he asks, will it make any money?
Rob and Geoff reveal they are hoping to secure a license agreement whereby they would receive £1 for every unit sold. Duncan advises that they should get the agreement signed as soon as possible but reveals afterwards that he is very doubtful they will, in fact, secure such a deal.
“It’s amazing how people get obsessed with an idea and keep ploughing money at it when it is obvious it won’t work” he reflects on leaving the irrepressible pair.
As the show went to air in September, the Hills are still waiting a draft copy of the hoped-for contract. Whilst the Ladderbox may not have been the most successful ladder accessory product please see our extensive range of life saving ladder accessories at Accessories