The beginning of the year could not have started in a worse fashion. January is a terrible time for the double glazing industry, but with the severe cold and very heavy snowfall, the usual lull in business was worse. It could not have come at a worse time either. The industry struggled all the way through 2008 with the worst recession seen in decades and many companies were just keeping their heads above water. The fear is that due to the cold snap at the beginning of the month, those companies who had struggled to reach the Christmas period may not have been able to make it through the start of the month.

The first two weeks of the month were dire. But it was to improve soon after. Once the snow had melted and the temperature had risen a little, customers started venturing out and business attempted to get back to normal. There wasn’t a huge increase in customer numbers, leads or revenues, but there was enough to keep businesses running relatively worry free. Personally I can report that we had a steady January. We broke no records but nor were we in a position of instability.

The quality of the leads in January we found were much better than expected. January 2009 gave us some very scrappy leads. The odd door, a couple of windows, little bits of roofline. Nothing substantial. But January 2010 gave us top quality leads. Usually full houses. If they weren’t full houses then they were a great number of windows. It has been much easier this month than last month in terms of actually making money. As a mark of how things really have improved, by the end of the month we had fitting booked in up to the first week in March. Something which would have been impossible this time last year.

All in all January has been a tale of two halves. The first being difficult in terms of trading and getting customers in through the door, making appointments, delivering goods through the snow and even getting to work! The second half however is one of success and stability. Improved sales, increased leads and showroom visits and overall better trading conditions. It is to be hoped the improvement continues into the coming few months to lead us all into what will hopefully be a busier summer period.