When Andrew Renwick wrote out cheques and invoices aged nine for his father, he would never imagine that one day he’d run the business.
Today, Andrew is managing director at Caltech Lifts, set up by his father Howard in 1978.
Howard specialised in calibration of instruments on oil rigs and in factories. The lift business fell into his lap when a local lift engineer needed his help.
Andrew recalls: “My dad had a couple different businesses. He was in plastic recycling, so he was ahead of his time really.
“It is massive now, but back in the seventies it wasn’t much.
“He worked on some oil rigs and factories, calibrating all their pressure gauges. That’s where the Caltech name comes from, it’s calibration technology.
“Dad took on the lift company and subcontracted stuff out, and the company grew organically from there.”
Repeat clients from the eighties
Caltech Lifts is still based in the premises where Howard started doing plastic recycling. It specialises in supply, installation and maintenance of lifts and stairlifts.
Today, brothers Andrew and Fraser run the family business.
While Fraser was Caltech’s first apprentice, Andrew went to university and did a graduate training programme before joining in 2007.
He says: “We started developing a good reputation in the lift industry, then we were finding a lot of repeat business. Some of our clients date back to the early eighties.
“I think that’s just a testament to us being in this family business, with these core values that we’ve got of integrity and honesty.
“We’re doing our best for our clients and I think that just shines through with a lot of our customer base.”
Since Howard retired in 2014, the company has continued to grow. It has 20 staff, as well as four subcontractors.
Andrew says: “When people have a family business, the founder can often struggle to let go, but dad quite enjoys his retirement.”
Ambitious targets for Caltech Lifts
Andrew and Fraser are currently growing the company further, looking to hire two new staff members soon.
Finding enough lift engineers to sustain their growth has not been a simple task.
Because it’s such a specialised industry, lift engineers are hard to find. Despite recruitment challenges, the Renwick brothers have built a solid team.
Andrew says: “That’s how you grow a successful business; you surround yourself with people who are better at various things than you.
“It’s a great team and it’s exciting being in the family business.”
Looking ahead, Caltech Lifts is close to fulfilling their goals despite being impacted by the pandemic.
Within the next five years, Andrew would like to see the company reach a £6 million turnover.
He says: “We’ve set a goal for the end of our financial year in October, we’re trying to hit £2.7m and we’re getting close to that.
“We want to keep going on the goal of providing value for money, being a reliable and efficient service in terms of maintenance and be a company that clients can trust.
“We’re doing that now, we just want to do it on a grander scale.”