Classic Lifts – Experts in Elevation

Classic Lifts, a large independent UK-wide provider of professional lift maintenance, repairs, modernisations, and new installations is looking to increase its geographical coverage.

Classic Lifts Limited was established in 1990 and is celebrating its 32 years in business by going from strength to strength. From a once small local company, the business has grown to a seven-branch £30 million turnover operation, employing 220 people, and is looking to further expand its footprint.

In 2010, the original lift company was acquired by its current management team. Managing Director Adrian Crane says: “The company has built on its long history in the industry, and thanks to the hard work and dedication of the team the business has expanded significantly over the last decade from a local company to a fast-growing UK-wide business. We’ve kept local service provision and excellent customer service at the heart of what we do, with our teams in the Northeast, Yorkshire, Northwest, Midlands, Southwest, London and the Southcoast providing professional lift services to our customers.”

He reflects that their success is down to having a strong team that is both very well placed and very well informed within the lift sector market. He has extensive experience in the field, having joined the lift industry as an apprentice at the age of 16, and people around him boast a similar background and knowledge.

While the company employs a core team of experienced engineers with a longstanding history in the lift industry, one of Classic Lift’s principles is to invest in people and apprenticeships. Bringing new employees and engineers through from an early age – as well as providing ongoing training to its existing staff – provides the best possible service for its customers and helps ensure the future of UK lift engineering.

“I would say the core competencies of our people have been the key to our success – experience, knowledge and education. And of course, good customers who have helped us to grow; without good customers, there would be no business.”

Localised Approach

The company currently maintains approximately 8000 lifts under ongoing service contracts with customers ranging from household name retail brands, international hotel groups, facility management organisations, schools, offices, hospitals and universities to smaller nursing homes, residential developments, and commercial facilities.

Mr Crane adds that Classic Lifts installs or performs major modernisation on approximately 220 lifts per year using high-quality, specification-driven, open protocol equipment from its network of long-established and partnering manufacturers.

“Unlike some multinational companies which perhaps tend to have a less personalised and less localised approach to customers, we do the opposite, hence our regional branch network. We work closely with our customers with local people within the local vicinity and build customer relationships rather than just providing a service. That is one of our key strengths.”

The same personalised approach is applied to the company’s suppliers who have helped Classic Lifts to grow. “Some key suppliers have worked with us for many years, such as Kollmorgen, DAC, Wittur, New Lift and MP Lifts, and we have excellent relationships with them. If there is a problem with the transport of material, for example, we can talk with the suppliers and resolve it together. There will always be problems in the industry, but it is how people respond to those problems that is important. It’s that response that helps us deliver excellent customer service.”

Invisible Yet Indispensable

While lifts get, as a rule, very little attention from the general public who take their safety for granted and use them without a second thought, lifts are the very centre of attention for Mr Crane and his team. “Our maintenance routine is generally tailored to the lift itself, depending on its usage, type, age and the environment it’s in. Some buildings such as hospitals, hotels and similar require lift maintenance every month.”

He notes that one of Classic Lift’s specialities is the ability to work on highly specialised projects. “The large multinationals tend to rely on standard products being installed in new buildings. But we’d look at a lift shaft that may be an odd shape or a building that may be difficult to access and work with our customer and a consulting engineer to devise a specific solution.”

Examples of Classic Lift’s projects are numerous and varied and include both traditional and modern structures in prestigious locations. For example, Classic Lifts has worked with The Royal Opera House for 10 years as their maintenance and service provider, won a contract for a modernisation package for the two specialist lifts in the 146m high Towers of the Humber Bridge, as well as for major refurbishment of 10 lifts at Barnsley hospital.

“To name some ongoing projects, Classic Lifts has been responsible for providing lift maintenance at One Strand, London, a prestigious office building located in the heart of London and is part way through a major modernisation of all 11 lifts on site. We have also recently completed modernisations of lifts in Sheffield Children’s Hospital, another large, prestigious project,” says Mr Crane. “We’ve worked on some unusual buildings requiring highly customised solutions.”

Enhanced Local Coverage

That approach has clearly worked very well for Classic Lifts, which has just completed its 4th acquisition in the last 12 years, in line with its expansionist spirit. The purchase of Stour Lifts Limited completed in August 2022 is the company’s latest move to accelerate Classic Lifts’ growth strategy for the UK and extend its regional coverage to provide enhanced customer service.

Mr Crane says: “All our acquisitions, including this last one, have been very friendly. Stour, based on the south coast near Bournemouth, worked on behalf of Classic Lifts providing local service and maintenance in a partnering subcontractor arrangement, so we knew them very well over a long period of time. They have very similar values towards investment in people and their relationships with their customers and suppliers, and their location fits in very well to the Classic Lift expansion strategy.”

In conclusion, he affirms that enhancement of local coverage will remain an important objective, so potential future acquisitions are in the pipeline. Fast, expert response, provided locally by local people, will be the basis of the company’s further development.

“We take pride in providing a high level of customer service, a fast response, expertise, integrity, and value for money. This is done by the company being owner-managed, meaning that the management and staff are approachable, informed, professional and committed. We believe this ethos and openness will allow Classic Lifts Limited to remain a sustainable business for future generations.”

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