Today, with 800 direct and indirect staff and a turnover of more than €50m, their Nightline Group has become the largest independent parcel and freight delivery firm in Ireland.
Things progressed steadily from there until, a year later, they were able to hire their first employee (Caroline).
That too became an important milestone in John's own life - as the pair later married.
"We have over 1,300 regular client businesses across almost every conceivable business sector from major retail brands and multi-national tech giants to large engineering companies and small to start-up businesses," he adds.
For every business, getting your finished product into the hands of your customers is key.
"We also found that many of our customers were trying to order products such as clothing or electronics from UK websites but would not deliver to an address outside the UK.
By providing our Nightline address in Belfast, a customer can have their purchased items delivered there where our vans collect them every day and deliver them to that person's nearest Parcel Motel here in the south," explains John.And like most start-ups, they tried to project that they were bigger than they actually were.In the morning, they would don their suits and ties and head to meet potential customers.Prior to taking up the job, John had spent two years completing a start your own business course with what was then known as Anco. It was also the first time I had ever heard about things like cash flow and marketing.In terms of enterprise training, it was visionary for its time," he adds."Our Nightline International division delivers packages anywhere in the world through a combination of our own depots and our international affiliations.