Author: Nathalie – Buttercup Bus Vintage Campers in Surrey
Challenges of finding a home for our campervans in Greater London:
It took us 10 years of hard graft to get to this point – but finally, the dream became a reality and we purchased our own commercial premises for our classic campervan hire company in Surrey
Running a small business in Croydon, Greater London, comes with the challenges of limited availability of commercial space at an affordable price. For years, I looked at spaces local to me, but they were never quite right – either well out of price range, just outdoor space, or lacking access to power.
Previously, our fleet of classic campervans and beetles were dotted across several locations…. and whilst I kept fit, constantly running about from one location to the next (and the dog got lots of walks!), I was spending a lot of time dealing with vehicle logistics.
We looked at huge units out in the coutryside where space was more available and affordable, but it came with the inconvenience of travelling to remote places, with no public transport . This was a challenge when ferrying vehicles back and forth (around school run commitments), or returning late at night after a campervan photobooth job…. remote premises were not really a practical option.
Finally, our classic campervan hire company in Surrey gets a workshop
Things started to look up, when in 2018, an opportunity came about to rent a brand new workshop just 10 minutes walking distance from our base in Croydon. Within 5 minutes of the advert going live, I was on the phone to schedule a viewing.
We moved in as tenants, and invested in the security and concrete ramps to make the new Croydon based unit suitable for our needs…. The owner fitted a bathroom (what a luxuary!) and an external tap so that we could keep the vehicles washed, shiny and clean. My children love to help during school holidays, with washing the campers!
From tenants to property owners
Once we settled into the unit for a few months, the opportunity came about to purchase it. This was a big step – and not something we were really planning at the time – but it made perfect sense – and so we had to grab the chance. It was a stretch, and took lots of professional advice, significant personal financial commitment and a mortgage – but after months of paperwork and meetings, we managed to complete on the purchase.
Snug and cosy fleet:
The unit provides a lovely home for the vehicles – and comes with the benefit of power points all round, so that we can keep those batteries on drip feeds during the “hibernation months”.
It is still a tight squeeze, and we have had to invest in vehicle skates to push the vehicles into tight corners. Later this month, I will be looking at the additional installation of a winch system to assist with pulling vehicles sideways into tight spots.
I am now saving for some racks to install, so that I can tidy up and get organised for the season ahead. In my mind, I have a lovely array of labelled boxes stacked on shelving, so that I have a neat system for quickly accessing the copious amount of kit that we use to run our business.
Thank you to all those that made this possible…
I was lucky to get the support from a lot of amazing people that made this new campervan home possible.
I would like to thank the following people:
- Sal at MFL Estates for amazing property management support during the rental and purchase process. He was so helpful, knowledgable and always went the extra mile.
- Andy at JMS financial for financial advice that made the impossible become a reality.
- Ian at Amphlett Lissimore for taking such good care of all the legal requirements for everything to go through
- Most importantly, Alec, my amazing rock of a husband. He has supported me since day one of running the business – keeping me grounded, but also pushing me to grow the business when opportunities came along. I could not have done any of this without him being there to support me.
We have come a long way, from one campervan parked in the front garden at home, to the collection that we now have with our own workshop. I am grateful for all the support we have had over the years from everyone that has made a booking with us, and enabled us to make baby steps over the years to growing the Buttercup Bus family…. I am looking forwards to the future, and seeing where the campervans will take us next!
About Buttercup Bus Vintage Campervan Hire
We are a classic campervan hire business based in Croydon, operating across Surrey, London, Sussex and Kent. We have a fleet of pretty pastel coloured campervans and beetles to choose from.
We offer 4 key services:
- Classic VW campervan and beetle wedding car hire with driver
- Campervan photobooths
- Self-drive campervan holiday hire
- Branded campervan hire for promotional events