The early prospects of Ashley’s career began when he was just 6 years old with the help of his Grandad, who was a self-employed electrician and general builder. Whether it was creating electricity with old batteries or knocking down walls and building kitchens from scratch, Ashley was unknowingly, watching his career begin. He watched and he learned.
Ashley became transfixed with construction and property. He had a thirst for knowledge and would watch Martin Roberts on Homes Under the Hammer every day. Not only did he love the building part of the renovations, but he was also interested in how you can totally transform the living space of a property, utilising lighting and interior design.
After excelling in college, Ashley qualified as an electrician at the age of 22 and was continually thrown into the deep-end with multiple large-scale projects. By 23 he was running large solar PV installations throughout Cornwall, taking control of the design, installation and commissioning of the installation.
“The fear of being totally out of my comfort zone and that dread of failure to succeed is something that has helped me progress personally and professionally. There is a solution to every problem, you just have to be focused enough to find it.”
Ashley loves running the business, although it doesn’t come easily, Ashley explains, “Running your own business is exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. It can get lonely. Working long, thankless hours on your own, missing out on socialising with friends and missing my young family grow so quickly, can make you question if what you are doing is right. However, the sacrifices I have had to make has allowed me to build the foundations of the business and help it grow to what it is today”
Once he believed he had gained enough experience in the electrical industry, he knew that it was time to take matters into his own hands and go at it alone. Ashley wanted nothing more than to be free to make his own decisions, to be the master of his own fate. When he was 25, he founded SWAYE Electrical Services Ltd.
The name SWAYE has caused many funny conversations. Some people think it is my last name and so call me MR SWAYE, which I love as it makes me sound like a Bond villain. Others think I am a huge Patrick Swayzey fan and I named the company after him! I am now known in social circles as Swayzey, which does make me chuckle. The name actually comes from a fortune cookie I was given at a local Chinese restaurant. The fortune cookie read “Your Success Will Astonish Everyone”. At the time I was in the process of starting the business and buying my own house, so I thought it had a great sentiment.
Ashley started off with mainly residential customers, but as he started to make a name for himself, he started to pick up commercial and industrial works, fitting out new businesses and office blocks. He also started to carry out work for management companies, who needed a reliable and professional company to carry out electrical testing in the rented properties and any remedial works that were needed.
After a year of hard work, Ashley’s workload had almost doubled and so it became apparent that he needed to take someone on. Ashley took Steve on, his first employee and registered him with the local college so he could eventually become a qualified electrician. It was a massive step for me to take.
“It wasn’t really part of the plan to grow this quickly, but I took the opportunity it created with both hands and ran with it.”
Alongside the progression of the business, Ashley has also been renovating houses. He has bought, renovated and sold 4 houses over the last 7 years and is just about to sell his 5th! The Full circle of planning, building and selling has given Ashley a massive amount of knowledge when it comes to property and construction. Whether it is new builds, extensions or renovations, Ashley has found he can help customers with their projects and not just from an electrical point of view.
“I can help customers with the design of their kitchens and bathrooms, the choice of décor and finishes as well as how to create the best space possible with different building fabrics and designs”
During the first two months of lockdown, he was able to furlough his staff and used the time away from work to build a cloud-based system for the business. Ashley didn’t sit on his lorals. He set up himself and his electricians on a cloud-based calendar system, which improves customer service and allows a smooth method of logging jobs and potential further works.
The foundations that Ashley built prior to the pandemic allowed SWAYE to grow even more during the pandemic. Ashley’s foresight allowed him to take on another electrician, Gary, and three apprentices, Brent, Dylan and Miles. Ashley also pounced on the opportunity to take on a commercial unit, which has an office, workshop and storage area. This move allowed Ashley to present his company in a more professional manner, allowing customers to pop in for a coffee and chat through current and future projects.
Ashley explains the merits of moving into their new premises,
“The commercial unit has enabled the team to be more efficient and professional by making it feel like a space where they are happy to work in. We can now order materials ahead of time and set up mock installations to ensure the work will go smoothly once transferred to site. During the pandemic, there wasn’t much to do socially, so I found myself working till midnight every Friday night for the last year. We are so busy, the work needed to be done, so what better way to spend a Friday night!”
SWAYE have been inundated with new customers and interesting projects. A recent law change in the UK meant that every rented property must have a satisfactory electrical report, similar to gas. The UK suddenly had thousands of landlords that needed our services. The work came flooding in and we couldn’t have handled it if we didn’t have the cloud-based infrastructure organised the year before. With the electrical testing came electrical faults, fuse board changes and re-wires. Ashley has built good relationships with several builder and property investors in Plymouth, Cornwall and the South Hams.
Commercial and Industrial – This can be anything from new business premises, shops and offices. They can help with 3 phase installations, CCTV, security alarms, fire alarms, electrical vehicle charging points and much more.
The team at SWAYE are professional, genuine and honest. They serve their customers with the utmost respect and love to help them with their projects, whether its small remedial works or large construction projects.
‘At the end of the day, all we want to, is to be able look every customer in the eye knowing that we did the best job possible.’ – Ashley
The service they provide is always of the highest quality, but they offer it at an affordable and fair rate. They are flexible and happy to go the extra mile to ensure the job is done properly and the customer is happy.
The reviews for SWAYE Electrical are always positive but above everything else, they pride themselves on being able to fix any problems that come their way and do it to the best of their ability. The construction industry is an industry where plans change all the time. We pride ourselves in excelling at keeping projects running smoothly, even if it means working out of hours or on weekends. Our experience in the construction industry allows us to see solutions before the problems even arise!
No matter how difficult the proposition is, Ashley and the guys at SWAYE will never say no to a challenge.
“What would life be like without challenges? Pretty dull if life always went to plan. Would Hercules be Hercules if he hadn’t had all those battles to win or would he have just turned over in his bed and gone back to sleep?”
In 2019, the Ridgeway Christmas lights were not working and the team at SWAYE got called in to help fix the problem… a day before the formal switch on! The SWAYE team managed to fix the faults and save the Christmas lights that year and the Plympton Chamber were very grateful. Ashley is now a committee member of Plym Chamber and now takes care of the light switch on every year and have adapted the technology so that all of the lights turn on at the same time with a touch of a button on Ashley’s phone.
Ashley is a people person and loves nothing more than to spend time getting to know his clients and meeting new people. He loves speaking to business people at local networking groups like NETWORK PLYMOUTH and PLYMOUTH BUSINESS NETWORK. He has found that as well as business advise, it is good to talk to like-minded people. Ashley also enjoys working with local charity to help those in need in the community.
SWAYE Electrical cover the whole of Devon and Cornwall and are currently doing a renovation project in Wales with Homes Under the Hammer presenter, Martin Roberts himself! Martin was impressed that over ten years ago, Ashley was watching him on TV and that now, he is working directly for him! The project consists of an old, haunted building in the Brecon Beacons which they are converting into a hiking lodge and SWAYE electrical had been recommended as the team for the job.
Ashley is planning on expanding the business over the next few years and is already asking for help in the office from his wife Kirensa. He is also looking at re-designing the office space, replacing the kitchen and bathroom and to incorporate a gym and shower, which will allow Ashley to keep fit whilst at work!
With the positive hands-on influence of his grandfather, Ashley has been able to provide the city of Plymouth with great service and amazing customer relationships. He hopes to continue his journey with SWAYE and grow the business, without ever forgetting how he got there.
ASHLEY – “Life is a journey and I am definitely here for the ride!”