We’ve taken some time out to catch up with a few of our tenants – first up is Andy Clifford of Commercial Hot Water Solutions Limited (CHWS). Andy is the founder and Managing Director of CHWS, and has been based at The Hive since 2015.
What does CHWS do?
CHWS supplies high-quality commercial water heating products. Its extensive product range includes ProPak thermal-packaged plate heat exchangers, heavy-duty ProStor indirect cylinders, DHW buffer vessels and ProRapid semi-instantaneous DHW generators. These products are used to produce large quantities of sanitary hot water in commercial and industrial applications such as hotels, sports clubs, hospitals and food processing.
Andy’s Weston-based team can help clients size and select products. CHWS can also send experts out for site visits to ensure that complex jobs are flawlessly specified and completed. CHWS are patrons of CIBSE, the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers.
Meet director, Andy Clifford
Andy was born in Liverpool but came south at a young age when his father, a Serviceman, was posted to the South West. In a career spanning over four decades, Andy has worked for the world’s leading gas heating brands including BOSCH Commercial. Most people wind down as they edge towards 60 and retirement. Andy, however, said, “I’d be bored if I retired. I’ve already travelled extensively and I’m not a keen gardener. What would I do? I’m a social person and love what I do. At 59, I felt I’d gained enough knowledge and experience from my corporate career to start a business on my own terms. It was definitely a lifestyle decision and the work fits around my life in Weston.”
Why The Hive?
CHWS began life on Andy and Sue’s kitchen table in late 2013. With good planning and solid industry contacts, things quickly took off. With the work-life balance starting to blur, Andy took on his first office at The Hive in May 2014 to focus on business (and get out of the kitchen). This elevated the company from cottage industry into professionally respected brand. Andy said, “The Hive has been brilliant for us. I can’t speak highly enough of it and of Rob and the management team. Everything’s included, you know what your outgoings are and nothing is too much trouble.
“CHWS started with a small office on flexible monthly payment terms and with no long-term commitment. My company was growing but I didn’t need the space at the start so The Hive’s easy terms were ideal. To have had to sign a three or five-year lease in a traditional office would have been a risk. After six months I brought in an Ops Manager and, over the years, we’ve moved twice within the building. Our team’s now five-strong and we rent one of The Hive’s larger offices. Being able to move without relocating was key and startups shouldn’t underestimate the time, money and stress this saves. Flexible, serviced offices are the way to go.”
Hive Horizons – what next for Andy and CHWS?
Andy said, “We all love being at The Hive. It’s very social and we know everyone on our floor. We use in-house skills where we can, from financial advice to architectural drawing services. In the next 18 months, we plan to move to larger premises of around 3,500 square feet to bring our back-office, delivery and storage functions under one roof. There’s a lack of such units in the area so a move isn’t imminent and we’ll be sad to leave. I’ll make sure CHWS stays local as we all commute from the Weston area.
Andy’s Hive Five
- Flexibility. In terms of office size and payment terms.
- Organisation. Rob and team are consistently excellent.
- Location and parking. Convenient for customers and suppliers.
- Meeting rooms. Great to rent additional space only when needed.
- It’s social! Cake Wednesdays is a highlight of our work week.