6 ISSUES FOR JUST £6 Subscribe to Business & Professional Life today CLICK HERE

The Growth Hub Talks: Matt Cleevely, Cleevely Motors

PUBLISHED: 11:00 17 October 2018 | UPDATED: 11:00 17 October 2018

(c) Cleevely Electric Vehicles

(c) Cleevely Electric Vehicles

Archant

Taking over the reins on a well-established 50 year old family business, third generation family member Matt Cleevely has taken his own passion for sustainability and put in place a business vision that marries the heritage of Cleevely Motors and a future commitment to all things electric

Here Alex Cottrell, Marketing Manager of the Growth Hub in Gloucester finds out how he is transitioning the business and why he has such faith in a sustainable future.

Many of us in Gloucestershire will know Tivoli based Cleevely Motors; a family owned garage that has been the go-to for car servicing, MOT and repairs for more than half a century. Having built their business primarily through reputation and word of mouth, they are testament to the power of outstanding customer service and the benefit of building a loyal customer base, also having just won Family Business of the Year at the Gloucestershire Live Business Awards.

In this third instalment of the Growth Hub Talks series, we meet the man with the plan to take this service experience to a new kind of level and who definitely isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty.

Where did the plan for Cleevely Electric Vehicles come from?

As a family we have always been committed to sustainability and limiting the impact we have on the environment. A couple of years ago I realised that I was constantly having to do repairs to my wife’s car due mainly to the fact that it was only ever being used for short runs and school drop offs. It just didn’t make sense to keep running that vehicle so I set about finding an electric vehicle (EV) that we could use instead. I wanted to buy a Nissan Leaf but literally couldn’t find anyone in the area that could sell me one. With small margins, garages didn’t want to retail and there was still a lack of real understanding or opportunity for me to find an expert and get the advice I needed. So I thought if I’m struggling others must be too. And the idea for Cleevely Electric Vehicles was born!

This is still a relatively new market? What research did you do to minimise the risk?

First we profiled the likely customer type. Someone with a commitment to sustainability, who’s money wise and happy to invest in a longer term payoff. Then we also approached brand leaders in the sector, namely Tesla, to get feedback on the regional adoption of EV. Gloucestershire was confirmed to be in the heart of the region most interested in EV adoption. So geography and socio-economic stats aligned enough to give us the confidence to move forwards. In addition, the future economic impacts for EV speak for themselves. Zero road tax, reductions in BIK (Benefit in Kind) and significantly reduced fuel costs – everything points towards an EV future. But as important as the trend forecasting, the sheer belief and determination we had to make this work helped us to power on.

Where did the Growth Hub step in?

We set the business up in January 2018 and at that time knew we wanted to look for some additional support. We completed the online support request form on the Growth Hub website and were invited into a Discovery Meeting with Agi. From this initial diagnostic we quickly established where we needed to place our focus in order to achieve what we set out to do and it became apparent that the move to a new premises was absolutely key. We then went on to work with Andy Kime, one of the Growth Hub Business Guides, who apart from being a total petrol head which helped hugely, was also able to give us expert guidance around the financial and operational aspects of the business plan. We wanted to build the business without massive borrowing and Andy, with his banking background, was the absolute best person to have on our team. From helping us secure a prime new site through advice and negotiation with our landlords to the constant stream of referrals that Andy points in our direction, the help he and Agi have provided has been absolutely key and it now feels like dealing with a friend.

Other than premises and financial issues have there been any other major challenges that you have had to overcome?

Getting the keys to our new site on June 18 2018 we were all ready to get going and start putting everything in place to be open for business within eight weeks. What we hadn’t planned on was the entire site being flooded with 1” deep water throughout the 4000 sq ft site. So I picked up a broom and spent many hours sweeping through the whole site, armed with dehumidifiers, broom and vacuums. And I am delighted to say that we were still able to open a fully operational, signed off MOT station on schedule. You’ve got to be prepared to get your hands dirty to keep business moving forward.

And what about the team?

This has been another challenge but one that we have overcome. With electric motors still being in their infancy, finding skilled workers has been hard. With only 2% of mechanics being trained in high voltage, we have to pay our staff well and also entice them from other businesses. This means we have to prove that we have a real commitment to the future of the business and demonstrate that we are building a business that is here to last. I am delighted that we now have a team of nine made up of technicians and administrators and I see this team carrying us through for years to come.

OK, so looking to the future what does success look like for Cleevely Electric Vehicles?

I want us to be the go to place for any customer considering a move to an electric vehicle. Our business will be firmly positioned as the trusted expert and partner for all things electric, whether someone is looking for an introduction to electric vehicles, or a business wants to switch their fleet but needs the stats to back up the change, or perhaps a person who would like to hire for a while so they can see the benefits for themselves before committing to a purchase. We will provide a total end to end service from education through to retail through to servicing and maintenance, building on the solid reputation we already hold but equipping ourselves and our customers for the future. We know that there are still a lot of questions surrounding EV and we see education as a key part of the service we will deliver. Dispelling the myths and showing the practical benefits that a move to electric vehicles can bring.

And lastly, what’s the one piece of advice you’d give to someone considering growing or diversifying their business?

Without question I would say go and get the right advice and never lose the determination to succeed. Speak to the very best people that you can and keep your focus on the plan. You have to have total faith in the vision and always remember to keep one eye on the future, because if you haven’t truly bought into your own vision, the road to success will be so much harder and in all likelihood you won’t make it.

And a closing word from Business Guide Andy Kime...

Working with Matt and the team has been a real pleasure. To find a local business with such a strong heritage and an equally strong commitment to a clear future vision is impressive. I have absolutely no doubt that Cleevely Electric Vehicles will go onto achieve their ambition and I am proud that the Growth Hub has been able to play a part in helping them towards this.

See if a move to electric might be for you – visit cleevelymotors.co.uk.

For more information on the Growth Hub and how it might help your business – visit thegrowthhub.biz.

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Cotswold Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Cotswold Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Cotswold Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Cotswold Life

11:53

Helping clients through divorce, separation and disputes over children, we talk to 8 divorce lawyers in the Cotswolds

Read more
11:52

We’ve some extraordinary, and inspiring, women in business in the Cotswolds. We talk to 7 female trailblazers in local industry who offer the business advice they’ve lived by

Read more

The Cotswolds are abundant with picture perfect locations ideal for a ramble. Gather loved ones, wrap up warm and blow away the cobwebs with one of these winter walks in the region

Read more
Wed, 16:26

Swan Lake. We know the music, we know the iconic imagery of the beautiful ballerina dressed as a swan, but I’m guessing that without reading the libretto in the program, most people don’t know the story. Which is why the audience relies on the dancers to tell us.

Read more
Wed, 11:00

Tom and Louise are being joined by other new academic appointments that have been made as part of the RAU’s £2.5 million initiative to help meet the future needs of the land management and agri-food sectors

Read more
Wed, 10:46

“To win this prestigious award is a real compliment to the wider team in Renishaw’s manufacturing services operation, particularly when we consider the achievements of the other excellent shortlisted companies.”

Read more
Tue, 17:16

Stepping up to receive the world’s first MBA Leading Business degrees at the ceremony were Sarah Bryars, Chief Executive of Target; Luke Freeman, Joint Chief Executive of MF Freeman; and Linsey Temple, Chief Executive of Gloucestershire Engineering Training

Read more
Tue, 17:04

“I am thrilled to see InfoSec People win this fantastic award which is a testament to the brilliant team we have built in the past few years.”

Read more
Tue, 16:36

After a stress-free shopping experience browsing designer brands this Christmas? Look no further than the luxury offerings of Mailbox in Birmingham

Read more
Tue, 10:24

This year sees the 40th anniversary of the publication of Raymond Briggs’ original picture book The Snowman. With three performances of the animated film – with live orchestra – coming to Gloucester Cathedral next month, we thought we’d catch up with Rachel Whibley, managing director of Carrot Productions (and occasional snowman), to find out more...

Read more
Mon, 14:10

It’s the season of terrible puns, magic lamps, and generous genies: Aladdin, the all-new panto at the Everyman, has been written by none other than legendary Blue Peter presenter Peter Duncan, and stars everyone’s favourite clown, Tweedy. The Barnard family from Nailsworth - mum, dad, Harriet (12) and Lewis (6) - made a Wishee (Washee) for tickets; grabbed their car (Window Twan) keys; and dashed off to see A Ladd In Cheltenham

Read more
Mon, 13:45

Crispy, frosty days and perhaps even a dusting of snow, winter is a magical time in the Cotswolds. If you’re thinking of tying the knot during this beautiful season in the region, here are six winter wedding ideas to help you start planning your special day

Read more

Christmas in the Wilson household is a heartwarming, traditional family affair

Read more
Mon, 13:15

Tracy Spiers takes an impressive, if hypothetical, budget on a shopping spree in Cheltenham’s independent stores

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory A+ Education

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search