Published On: Mon, Jul 28th, 2014

Are we pulling away from the tough times?

ontheupWith the UK economy growing at its fastest rate in six years we can almost confidently say we are pulling away from the recession. But what lies ahead for businesses that have survived the economic downturn? In our own industry it has been a very interesting start to 2014, and as we approach the midway point, many window companies and component suppliers are reporting an optimistic outlook. As with any recession it was a brutal period for those involved in the construction industry. Installers and other tradesmen reported a severe lack of work that resulted in many packing up their tools and seeking alternative employment. Manufacturers and contractors scrambled for what work there was and accepted contracts on vastly reduced prices. For those survivors, the trading landscape isn’t looking too bad. For those manufacturers and contractors not locked in to long-term supply agreements negotiated in the recession at reduced rates, orders are on the upward spiral, the bonus being that prices are holding up as the market suffers from supply and demand realignment.

On the installation front, the home improvement market itself is witnessing a few supply and demand issues. A recent survey by the Home Owners Alliance and Trustmark shows that there is a distinct lack of available tradesmen. Fifty-eight per cent of homeowners say they are finding it difficult to find a tradesman they trust to help them with either home repairs or improvements. As a result, 26% of homeowners are delaying projects. Two main contributing factors reducing the number of tradesmen have possibly brought about this situation. It may be that some home improvement firms have not survived the recession. In addition, the situation was probably compounded by the impact of increased legislation on construction-related companies, forcing a number of home improvement firms to shut up shop. With consumer confidence returning, the number of enquiries from homeowners looking to improve their homes is increasing. So for those home improvement companies in the market today, there should be a level of confidence and the ability to charge more realistic prices. You can fully understand a homeowner wanting the best value for work, but currently you can almost afford to play your best ‘poker face’ safe in the knowledge that you may be one of only a few who has actually quoted for the work. Don’t be frightened to charge a decent price. It’s time the window industry started pushing prices in the right direction.