12 years ago we started as one man, a mate and me in the office (housed in the loft with no windows). Since then we have survived a snapped Achilles tendon, a recession, 2 teenage children and a thunder storm that blew up our computer. After about 3 years we took on another lad and started employing subcontractors when we needed them for bigger jobs, whilst still running the office from the loft and holding meetings on the kitchen table surrounded by our dogs and the cat.
About 7 years ago we started talking about starting an electrical side to the business, but there was only one person we wanted head it and he worked for another company. We finally plucked up the courage to ask that person if he would leave the company for whom he’d worked for 13 years and join us. Much to our surprise and delight he accepted and Elliot joined us. We went limited at the same time and took on another electrician and an apprentice electrician to help Elliot. We also took on further fridge guys to help Steve. It all happened really quickly and relatively smoothly. Still only me in the office in the loft. We gradually increased our workforce, some moving on and new ones joining us.
We ran the business from home to keep the overheads low, our store was our garage. At the end of 2014, when it got to the stage where you could only open the garage door and throw stuff in, we decided we needed a bigger premises to run the business from. We had seen some smart new units going up in Wellington and asked the bank manager very nicely if we could buy one. He said yes! We watched the unit being built, calling in regularly to take pictures and see how it was progressing.
We took possession in July 2015, had a Mezzanine floor put in to maximize the space and an office upstairs. Everyone had a hand in the painting and moving, from the apprentice to the boss. After Christmas 2015 I finally left my loft and moved into the nice new shiny office in the unit. I did feel a little sad about leaving my old office, I had been there for 12 years and Culm Cooling was born there.
We have recently taken on a Technical manager and a Senior Refrigeration Engineer to help Steve. So now we have 4 in the office, 7 Refrigeration guys, 4 Electricians and 12 vehicles on the road. Our growth has been steady, scary at times, but fun most of the time. We try to instil our work ethic in all we employ, that being honesty, attention to detail and reliability. Things do get stressy now and again but I think we run a happy ship for the most part.