An electrical business set up by two former apprentices who met in college is enjoying a boom thanks to a surge in security work.
Electricians Ryan Griffiths and Nick Dacey teamed up last year as RN Electrical and Security after forming a friendship as apprentice electricians at what is now Coleg Cambria’s Bersham Road campus, in Wrexham.
And now half the pair’s business is taken up with installing security systems and cameras for businesses and homeowners across a wide area of North East Wales and the border counties.
It has seen them expand quickly so they have now taken on an apprentice of their own and are looking for another qualified electrician to help keep pace with their workload.
Nick, 28, from Acton, in Wrexham, said: “I don’t know whether people feel more at risk now but security, installing alarms and CCTV, is becoming massive for us, mainly at private homes but also at businesses.
“We’ve put in systems here in Wrexham at several businesses and it now makes up nearly 50 per cent of what we do and we’ve been surprised at how much demand there is for it.”
Ryan, 27, from Caergwrle, added: “I think it helps that we can do both security and the electrics so we can offer a whole package but I think the fact that there seem to be more break-ins happening has encouraged more people to go for security measures.”
They have also been helped by a decision to use a storage container at the Lock Stock Self-Storage Park on Ruabon Road, Wrexham, as a base to operate from and Ryan said: “It has made a big difference to us because we are able to carry more stock.
“It also means we can buy more and more cheaply because we’re buying in bulk – we can organise the work the day before and load up first thing next morning and head straight out.
“It’s a great facility because it’s secure – they’ve got their own comprehensive security with lighting – and we have everything we need there without having to call in at the supplier during the day.”
Both Ryan and Nick were interested in careers as electricians and did their apprenticeships together in Wrexham and worked with local firms before deciding to go into partnership.
Nick said: “We both went to the Bersham Road campus where we met. It’s really good there and they give you an excellent grounding.
“I think the businesses we were with went through a quiet time and we decided to team up so last summer we set ourselves up and made sure we had work to do and we’ve been busy ever since.”
The pair started by rewiring a big, six-bedroom house in Wrexham and have been in demand throughout and Ryan said: “We organise what we’re going to do the previous day, do quotes at night and then meet up at Lock Stock in the morning.
“We’re growing the business and we’ve been busy from the start but we want to continue to grow – we’re not working 60 hours a week to carry on running a couple of vans for 20 years.
“We have taken on Will Davies, who is from Chirk, as an apprentice and he’s doing well and we’d like another electrician which would mean another van but we’re busy enough for that.”
Nick added: “It is difficult to find qualified electricians and that’s true in all the trades in the building industry, there’s a definite skills shortage.
“But I think we’ve gone about the business well. Our overheads are low and we’ve grown by recommendation so people are not just pulling your names off a website.
“It means someone has put your name forward and endorsed you and that is a positive for us and it’s also a responsibility for us to always do a good job.”
Ryan said: “If you wanted three words to sum us up it would be efficient, reliable and clean.
“You have to be organised and turn up when you say you will and not let anyone down.
“We’re going into people’s homes so you have to be clean and if someone came into my house I’d expect them to take their boots off.”
Nick added: “The customer is the most important thing because without them you don’t have a business but you can be as nice and pleasant as you like and as clean as you like but you do have to know what you’re doing.
“We are busy and anyone who isn’t is doing it wrong. If you’re willing to work hard and do a good job then people will use you and recommend you.
“I think the secret for us was not to go too big too quick because it’s a mistake to get overextended and not to be able to deliver what you promise.
“You need to build the business from the bottom up, set your foundations and employ people who turn up on time and do a good job.”
Ryan said: “In business you have to admire anyone who has made it from nothing to something and people who see an opportunity.
“I admire Lock Stock because they saw an opportunity for self-storage and they have built on that and seen how using a container can benefit a business, or how it can make sense to hire vans from their sites or even sell fireworks.
“You have to enjoy your work too and we do. The only downside is that when we’re on site the power is off so you can’t make a cup of tea.”
Nick said: “The reward at the end is when you finish a job and you know it’s awesome. When you start with a blank canvas then you can make it a work of art.”
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