Faced with being “jobless and nothing to do” Turriff couple Calvin and Leanne Davidson made a decision that would change their lives forever.
They decided to plunge their £30,000 life savings in to launching a new competitions business.
It was jumping in to the unknown for them.
Calvin was confident it would work but Leanne took some convincing. They started off selling tickets for prizes such as lawnmowers, campervan hire and washing machines.
Fast forward four years and Bounty Competitions is getting ready for it’s biggest prize giveaway yet – £1 million cash tax free.
Losing their jobs during lockdown was a life-changer for the Turriff couple.
Calvin, who worked as a construction site supervisor, said: “Lockdown kicked in and I’d been telling Leanne for years before about competition companies.
“I’d seen it down in England and there was no one doing it in Scotland.
“She said she didn’t want to put her money into it as she knew nothing about it.
“But we both lost our jobs and I told Leanne that now was the time. We were sat at home with nothing to do and jobless.
“We had to think of a good idea. I said to give the competition company a go as I thought it would be successful.”
‘Barely enough money to buy baby milk’
The couple, parents to five-year-old Cobi, wiped out their life savings and invested £30,000 in starting Bounty Competitions.
Their prize draw business offers people the chance to win a range of prizes – from hair straighteners, iPhones, designer handbags and jewellery to luxury holidays. There are even fancy cars like a Ferrari worth £115,000.
Calvin, who was born in Dundee, said: “We combined all our life savings and got the website made and just went for it.
“At one point we barely had enough money to buy baby milk for our son before Bounty started due to losing our jobs.
“We got online and pushed the Facebook page. That’s how it all began.
“The first car we gave away was a Subaru Impreza and we got online and pushed the Facebook page and that’s how it all began.
“It was just an idea in my mind which I thought was a great idea. It’s now turned in to something crazy.
“We’ve went from having one or two people watching the lives on social media to up to around 8,000 viewers now.”
Since launching Bounty Competitions they have given away more than £60m in prizes and made more than 26,000 winners.
Raffle tickets for prizes range from 29p to £9.99.
With 250,000 registered customers it show no signs of slowing down.
Bounty Competitions started off based at their home in Bucksburn before moving to new headquarters in Turriff.
Bounty Competitions prize picking
When it comes to picking the prizes the pair, who married in 2018, know exactly what they prefer.
Leanne, 29, who used to work as a hairdresser, said: “Calvin usually picks the cars. We try and keep it what you would either see yourself driving or what’s popular at the moment.
“A lot of the time it’s more family orientated ones but we do like to do supercars to keep it fun.
“It’s a dream item that little people could afford.
“My favourite thing to pick is your jewellery and your handbags.
“We go for more luxury items than everyday items. It’s the latest of things.”
Supercars and Spanish villa
Out of all their prizes the pair each have their own favourite from over the years.
Leanne, who grew up in Stonehaven, said: “For me it was the Spanish villa in Quesada, Alicante. It’s the one and only one we’ve done so far.”
Calvin, who sources the cars from LM Autos in Turriff MW Performance in Wales, and said: “For me, because I love supercars and am a petrolhead, the Lamborghini Aventador was a dream car.
“A quarter of a million pound Lamborghini and for me that was the best car I’ve ever been in.
“We once did a Vauxhall Australian ute. It completely failed and we lost loads of money on it.
“I always said I wanted to drive one and offer one as a competition.
“It’s probably the most unusual prize we’ve ever done.”
Houses up for grabs
Bounty Competitions is also well known for giving away houses. Its first home was in Kincorth in 2021.
Calvin, 37, said: “We buy the property first with our solicitor and have to pay the LBBT on that and second home tax.
“It costs a fortune to run a house competition which is something people don’t see. They just see it as the price of the house but not the extra costs in the background we have to pay.
“We have to own it outright and once we have a winner we transfer it into their name.
“We are about to launch property number 10.”
At the end of the month Bounty players will have the chance to win a three-bedroom semi-detached Claymore Homes house in Oldmeldrum.
£1m cash giveaway
As Bounty Competitions approaches its fourth birthday in April the husband and wife team are gearing up for their biggest ever prize giveaway.
£1m tax free cash along with £20,000 to the winners chosen charity. Along with two runners up winning £10,000 cash.
Calvin said: “I don’t think we’ll ever do anything bigger than £1m.
“We just thought with the growth of the business it would be a big step forward for Bounty and show everyone how far we’ve come.
“It’s a landmark and marks our fourth birthday. We always do a biggie for every year we’ve been running.
“The last one was half a million but we thought this year we’d make someone a millionaire.
“Something to be proud of making someone a millionaire and completely changing someone’s life for the better.”
Victims of trolling
One of the downsides of running such a successful business has been falling victim to online trolling.
Something the pair have tried to ignore but Calvin admits it can be a struggle.
He said: “We are very much trolled on a daily basis, multiple times. It’s bad, it really is.
“Leanne deals with it a lot better than me. She lets it go over her head but I ruminate about what people say.
“Even though 99.9% of our lovely customers are very nice that point one percent, which is normally dozens of people every week, that say negative things and it does stick in your head.
“It’s about how much money we make. It’s bizarre as some people don’t get we’ve got taxes we pay, business running costs and some months we are £100,000 to run the business before we even make a bean for ourselves.
“But that’s what happens when you are on social media. Our Facebook alone has 208,000 followers now so you are going to have a small percentage of haters and people who don’t agree with what we do.
“It’s part and parcel but we are just happy that 99% of our lovely players are happy with our service we offer.
“The community we’ve got is almost like a family. That’s why we call them the Bounty family. We are forever grateful.”
‘Everyone can enter’
Despite business running well and numbers growing Calvin and Leanne are very much aware of making sure they keep the cost of entries affordable.
Calvin said: “There is some months that are really quiet and we totally understand.
“We know that not everyone can afford to enter all the time. On our quieter months we gauge it when things don’t sell out so we slow it down with less prizes.
“We have kept it cheap since we started. With 29p an entry for some things with the very maximum £9.99 which is for a house.
“But most of our competitions are 99p so everyone can afford to enter.”
Bounty Competitions currently has a team of six members of staff who are all family members.
One of the big aims this year for the couple, who appeared on Don’t Tell the Bride in 2018 and Couples Come Dine with Me in 2019, is to break the £1m mark in donations to charities.
Leanne said: “Our biggest goal is to donate £1m to charity. That’s our big goal.
“We’ve donated £502,000 to local charities during the past year.”
Reflecting on the success since starting in 2020 the couple hope to continue growing the business but always stay true to their roots.
Leanne said: “We can’t believe where we are today compared to where we were four years ago.”
Calvin added: “Of course our lives have changed and we’ve never hidden that fact. We are very humble people. We don’t flaunt what we’ve got.
“Not only have we changed tens of thousands of people’s lives but obviously ours have as well.”