A while ago on this site I hypothesised the impacts of what would happen if a major company within our sector was to go to the wall. More than a week after the news that SafeGlaze has been placed into administration, the dust is still settling and the full impacts are even now only becoming clear.
Now I wouldn’t call SafeGlaze a major company, they went under with 130 staff. Not a number which would class the company as a big one in the grand scheme of things, but 130 people will still be reeling from the news.
The company went into administration with 130 staff. I am fairly sure that as the writing was on the wall many will have gone back to the companies they were tempted away from before it was too late. The figure of 130 I’m pretty sure would have been a fair bit higher.
I wouldn’t have called them a national. Perhaps if they had managed to last to 2019 and continued to steal market share and increase turnover at the rate they were then they would have been in that group for me.
Still, the waves being made by a company of this size going under are significant. Lets focus on the people first of all, and those staff members. I have been contacted by countless numbers of staff choosing to report on very specific details on various areas of the business, which I can’t divulge here. Many simply asking if I know what was going on, if I can help them with their questions and issues that remain left unresolved due to zero communication from the company and those in charge of their closing. These are people that don’t have an income. These are people that will have families, mortgages, bills and other important commitments. Why is it that up to the point of this post being written there has been no public comment from any of the parties involved other than the statement given by management on the day they went under?
Most significantly are the home owners. I have lost count the number that have emailed me and reached out to me on social media. Many have placed deposits with the company and have heard nothing back. Scheduled installation work with no one turning up to do the work. Remedial work going unfinished. Money promised back and nothing yet given. There appears to be thousands upon thousands of home owners out there that are currently left in the dark not knowing the best way to move forwards.
In short, this is a massive mess. Staff and home owners in the dark. Whilst these immediate effects are indeed very serious, it’s the longer term effects that might be worse. Bad news spreads quicker than good news, so you can imagine the damage that this is already doing to the credibility of the sector. A sector which has worked very hard in recent years to up it’s game across all areas of the industry. Up to now I would judge that it’s been doing a pretty good job of it. There will always be rogue outfits doing their best to do their worst. But given the significance of this particular saga and the way it has now ended, I fear that some of our good work as an industry is being rolled back.
The other facet to consider in this sorry affair are the suppliers to SafeGlaze. When one companies goes, it almost always has a hit on those supplying that company. In this case it is Camden. Again, SafeGlaze were not yet a huge installer, at least not when you look at the other established nationals or networks of franchised installers. But, they will have been doing enough business for Camden to consider them a very major account. An account which is now no longer there.
I am not privy to any specific details as to what the account was worth or how big the hit was. But that doesn’t matter. Suppliers to SafeGlaze will now be looking at their future projections and studying long and hard as to how to recover from the loss of business.
As an industry we should be looking at this event and learning some serious lessons from it. Do suppliers need to look more carefully at who they choose to take on as a client. Do we need to self-regulate our industry much more stringently to ensure that these events happen less in the future? Does communication to staff and customers of the company that has gone bust need to be improved so that people are not left in the dark?
I would say yes to it all, but I also hold out little hope that this will be an event which is a catalyst for the industry to go through self-improvement. That’s not the sort of thing we do. The end result of this roller coaster of a ride is a big old mess. It always is when things like this happen. Everyone involved at any level always gets stung, often badly.
For home owners and staff browsing DGB in the hopes of some new concrete information I am sorry that I have not been able to help. I know you have been emailing me looking for guidance, unfortunately there is very little I can say that would be productive other than to go to the administrators Armstrong Watson and see what assistance they can provide. That being said, any further developments with this ongoing story I will of course post right here on DGB.
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