We are incredibly excited to announce that we have won Service Industry of the Year at the 2022 Great British Entrepreneur Awards!
After setting up Climbingvan just a year and a half ago, we have already grown to a nomadic team of nine. We our proud that our electrical design service Nomadic Energy has been recognised as a game-changer for off-grid energy.
In 2019, tired of daily commutes and living for weekends and holidays, we decided to convert a campervan for a simpler life on the road. With impeccable timing, we finished our conversion just a week before the first UK lockdown, putting our dreams of escape on hold. This curveball left us with something we had never had before – time.
Whilst converting our van, we had documented the entire process on social media, and once it was finished we were inundated with questions. Neither of us knew the meaning of ‘free time’, so unable to sit still for long, we used this previously unknown resource to start writing the ‘ultimate guide to converting a campervan’.
Throughout the van conversion process, we found ourselves falling from pitfall to pitfall, unable to find a source of reliable, well-researched information to guide us through the conversion. Despite our technical backgrounds, we still fell foul of the ‘unknown unknowns’ – problems that come from unexpected situations you would never think to consider. We spent thousands of hours researching to ensure our book was based on facts and data rather than personal opinion. Fast forward seven very long months – we self-published The Van Conversion Bible.
To our amazement, our little book quickly became a bestseller. It has sold over 23,000 copies, receiving glowing reviews worldwide. It was recently awarded the prestigious Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Award 2022 for non-fiction.
The launch of the book also coincided with our delayed escape from our office jobs and the beginning of our long-awaited campervan adventure.
A short time later, somewhere in the south of France, we found ourselves once again with the unfamiliar commodity – time – and the realisation we needed another project. When we started writing our book, we ran a survey of over 2,000 campervan owners. This highlighted the most complicated and expensive element of converting a campervan was the electrical system.
There was already an abundance of businesses selling electrical components, but no one was prepared to actually help people and ensure their system was tailored to their needs. Our book aimed to give readers a strong fundamental understanding of how to convert a campervan, including how to calculate and design their electrical system. But for many, this simply highlighted they didn’t truly understand it, and they needed help to ensure they designed and installed a safe and well-considered system.
Off-grid electrical systems are inherently complicated and their cost is inextricably linked to their performance, so underspeccing just one element will see failure when you need it most. On the flipside, overspeccing will cost you thousands in functionality you will never access. No wonder the industry didn’t try to help!
The global pandemic gave us the time we needed to organically discover our niche. We knew we could use our physics and engineering degrees, our backgrounds in marketing and tech and all of the research from our bestselling book to solve this problem once and for all, and make off-grid energy simple for everyone. Enter – Nomadic Energy.
Electrical systems are inherently complicated, and it’s easy to under spec your system, spend thousands more than necessary, or even install a dangerous system. We wanted to provide a service that ensured people’s systems were safe and gave them the confidence to install it themselves.
A growing nomadic team
In under a year, Climbingvan grew from just us running the business from our campervan to a team of nine working nomadically across Europe, designing the very electrical systems that make our lifestyles possible. We aim to be the employers we always wanted, so our employees can work wherever and whenever they want, whether that’s in an off-grid house in Portugal, or a campervan somewhere in the Scottish highlands. We believe people work best when they have the freedom to live life on their own terms and the flexibility to work when they feel most productive.
A force for good
We were keen to ensure our business is a force for good, so Climbingvan is 100% solar-powered, a tree is planted for every book ordered, and we give 1% of our revenue to advancing worldwide access to solar energy via 1% for the Planet. We have already planted 23,000 trees, and we look forward to watching this forest flourish as our business grows.