Paul Currell started out in horology (the art of making clocks and watches) ten years ago, as a hobby. In December 2012, he launched his own business, P.D. Currell, Clock Repairs and Restoration and now runs a busy workshop catering for the repair, servicing and restoration of clocks.
Mainly working with antique clocks, but also worn-out quartz (battery) movement clocks and mains powered clocks, Paul loves the jobs that other clockmakers can’t do. He also offers a clock finding service for customers who want a specific type of clock, finding what they need and doing any work needed to fit within their budget. The business has clocks for sale and even offers a house call service if required.
Paul’s decision to launch his business originally came from circumstances conspiring against him. Having been at home for almost a year with an ongoing back problem he began, when he was able, to repair and restore clocks for his friends and family – building up a collection of his own in the process!
When it was time to get back to work Paul found that he still experienced occasional back problems which necessitated him needing two to three days rest until the pain subsided. Trying to find a position with any company that could be so flexible would be difficult Paul decided; so the idea of starting his own business began to form.
Paul began by doing a lot of research to see who his competitors would be, looked into costs such as rent and equipment, identified his customers and what they needed. From that, he built up a business plan.
He also turned to North Somerset Enterprise Agency for help and advice.
“They gave me plenty of information on starting out in business and helped me work out projected figures for the first year’s business so I could get an idea of how much I should be turning over.” says Paul. “I also had help from an advertising specialist.”
Paul speaks highly of the support he received.
“North Somerset Enterprise Agency’s business advisor Terry Gilbert is a mine of information with a wealth of contacts and will help in any way he can.”
PD Currell Clock Repair & Restoration opened for business on December 1 2012. Since then Paul has been kept busy, attracting business from both clock owners and from clockmakers who may not have the tools or experience to do the job themselves.
“In my first month I had one customer who brought in a clock for a service. The second month I had three clocks to service.” recalls Paul. “Now, at this moment in time I have 3 clocks on test stands, one on my bench which I am currently servicing and another 12 in the queue waiting to be done – and that’s not including repair work I do for another clockmaker!”.
Paul has found his services to be in demand, with family heirlooms to be maintained and collectors who want to keep their clocks running as well as general clock repairs.
He has set himself apart from others in the market with repairs being made to a very high standard.
“When a customer brings a clock to me, we discuss exactly what the customer wants and also what is best for the clock.” explains Paul. “Work is carried out to the highest level and everything is covered by a guarantee depending on what work has been done. I refuse to do anything detrimental to an antique clock however, no matter how much the customer is willing to pay!”.
Just over one year on, Paul is delighted with his enterprise.
“Running a business isn’t easy – you never know what is going to happen and in my case there was some considerable investment to be made in the early stages, from renting a workshop and paying a deposit to investing in machinery and some additional tools.
“I was under no illusions and knew that businesses can fail, especially with the economy being in dire straits. So to be more than one year in with a busy workload, doing what I love, is a great achievement.”
However Paul is far from resting on his laurels and is pursuing his ambition to build an excellent reputation.
“So many of my customers tell me they have been unable to find a clockmaker or when they do the person who works on their clock is not always up to the job. I have seen some terrible repairs that have made me cringe!” Paul says.
“With my business customers know they are getting a good job done, as I take photographs all the way through the service or restoration, which are stored in a service file with a detailed description of any repairs carried out – almost like a car service book”.
Paul’s other ambition is to one day take on an apprentice.
“There is a severe shortage of youngsters taking up clock repair and most of the current clockmakers are on the verge of retirement.” he explains. “My hobby has become my business and I would love to teach someone else the joy of clock repairs and restoration.”
Paul’s top tips for start-up businesses:
- Use your money and your time wisely. Before you make a big purchase have a good think about it and make sure it is absolutely necessary and what you need.
- Research everything – premises, products, customers, services, prices – before you start your business. It will save you time and money.
- If you need to rent premises make sure they are what you need – and never be afraid to make the landlord an offer.
- Keep a diary to make notes and record telephone numbers – when you get busy it’s easy to start forgetting things.
- If you are dealing with older customers then seriously think about having a landline installed. Although the cost of calling a mobile has come down, it can still be perceived by the older generation as expensive and they may try elsewhere as opposed to calling a mobile number.
Visit P D Currell Clock Repairs and Restoration at Unit NU2, BW Estates, Oldmixon Crescent, Weston-super-Mare, North Somerset, BS24 9BA Tel: 01934 221810 or 07590 6885. More information at www.clockrepairs1969.wordpress.com.