An innovative Gloucestershire family plumbing business is hoping to tap into demand from environmentally conscious customers, by sending its staff to call-outs pedalling electric cargo bikes.
West Country Heating and Plumbing (WCHP), headquartered in Cambridge in the district of Stroud, is so convinced its nippychecks business will succeed, it has invested £24,000 in two new cargo bikes to make it happen.
The move comes after a profitable year for WCHP – which employs 40 plumbers and engineers – seeing turnover rise from £1.4 to £1.8 million in the last 12 months.
It will launch its new ‘fleet’ in cycling-friendly Bristol before deciding on expanding elsewhere.
Sam Blakeney, who was born and bred in Wotton-under-Edge and is now managing director of the firm started by his father, Stephen, said: ‘There’s no reason why nippychecks can’t do for plumbing and heating what Deliveroo has done for food.
‘Nippychecks solves a number of problems – it does its bit to cut congestion and improve air quality in the city, it provides a service free from the constraints of traffic problems, it’s cost-effective and ethical, too.
‘We’ve often thought that using a half empty van to splutter its way around the city didn’t really make sense for anyone. In nippychecks, we think we’ve found an answer.’
The fully electric service will see a team of engineers riding to properties around Bristol city centre to maintain boilers, central heating and electrical systems and appliances, serving domestic homeowners, landlords and lettings agents.
With a range of 40 miles and a top speed of 15 mph, the bikes are cycle lane permitted and can carry up to 150 kilograms of cargo – easily enough for a toolbox and spare boiler parts.
The two new vehicles have been brought from Oxfordshire-based EAV Ltd and are made from recyclable and sustainably sourced materials.