Residential and commercial electrical service provider, Adelaide Urban Electrical (AUE) has kept busy building its brand since Owner and Senior Technician Benjamin Colic founded the beachside-based Glenelg business in 2017.
In the last four years it has steadily grown having, as an essential service, consolidated itself last year during the onset of the COVID crisis.
The business, which services the Adelaide metropolitan area, responds to callouts from homeowners, brings older houses up to spec by providing a full rewire and performs standard upgrades from switchboards.
“A rewire on an old house can give it a new life for another 20 years,” says Ben.
“We also do data wiring installations for remote workers in home offices with everyone running a lot more data. Nowadays, it’s important that Zoom and other office communications platforms run smooth and there is no dropouts.”
In addition to providing LED lights for improved ambience in many cafes, restaurants and bars, AUE also secures and makes safe new audio and audiovisual equipment in night clubs. They’ll even install the disco ball.
The business has been prone to work on major projects, too. Recently AUE assisted one of the major infrastructure contractors by attending a late call out to ensure the machinery for steel work kept going through the night on the latest stage of the South Eastern Freeway.
These kind of emergency callouts when there are power issues or when storms cause outages require a reliable working van.
The business currently runs three vans, each from a different OEM. A Renault Trafic is the most recent addition having been added in April.
The six-speed Trafic uses an automatic transmission and comes with a long wheelbase to accommodate bulky loads.
An extra 400mm was added between the axle centres, making it an attractive modification for a business like AUE that doesn’t so much rely on maximising payload as it does carrying longer articles such as torpedoes, the colloquial name for capped cylinders that store conduit.
Although it’s the first Renault product Ben has introduced into his operations he says it’s unlikely, given how well it has been received, to be the last.
“Renault gave me a fantastic deal. The brand has come a long way since the first generation,” Ben says. “Now the standard model gives you a touchscreen and a reverse camera. It’s a good environment for the guys to cruise around in. It’s comfortable and spacious – that’s what we need so when we need to load it up we can.”
The extra cargo space saves having to tow a trailer and is crucial to the needs of daily operations in which larger data racks and ovens, for real estate, have to be carried to the job.
AUE’s Renault Trafic is fitted with roof racks, comes with a rear step, interior shelving and racking according to the specifications Ben requires. The standard large sliding side doors are also welcome.
One is used for loading up the van, the other Ben has converted to a section of trays that contain gear all neatly arranged, so it can be located without much of a search.
“It’s got a bit of a system to it as I like to keep things simple,” he says. “If you have multiple projects on the go, it’s good to know you can store it in there while being able to access other articles for different jobs as well.
“It’s Lego for big boys the way we can assemble and detach things.”
The last thing an electrician needs, according to Ben, when he is on the way to or from completing a job, is to feel squashed into the driver’s seat.
“For taller people there’s generous legroom which isn’t always the case with these light commercial vehicles,” he says.
The power to weight ratio is strong and it’s proven economical to date in regard to consumption.
Depending on services the business attends, the vans travel up to 500 kilometres a week, mainly within a 30-kilometre radius of Adelaide. As Adelaide has yet to succumb to any prolonged government lockdowns, business remains steady.
“Our turnover has gone up and our profit has been solid as well,” Ben says. “Not knowing where last year was headed, another financial year has flown past and it’s been hectic, but a real positive for us.”
Part of this growth saw AUE move into a new warehouse and office space. Resources have slowed of late to keep up with the demand in housing that has inevitably flowed downstream to businesses like Ben’s.
“What we’re finding is that with people largely restricted in their travel they have concentrated on upgrading their homes which has helped keep our business busy,” he says.
A sole trader prior to establishing AUE, Ben has given the new Renault to one of his sparkies who is impressed with the comfort it offers and the sound system, which is getting plenty of use, to judge by the music coming from it.
“I’m the lucky one who pays the bills and someone else gets to enjoy it,” Ben quips, noting he has driven it a few times.
“It’s a good set of wheels for sure. It’s definitely got good grunt and noticeable torque and that’s what we need when we’re loaded up. We’re not struggling at the traffic lights. I like the electronics on it, the windscreen wipers and lights. All it really needs is a coffee machine and a toaster in there. I can see myself eventually making all the vans in our fleet Renault.”