There is just about 4 working weeks left till we all pack up for the year and enjoy some well earned rest and partying. So I thought this might be a good time to start reflecting on the year we’ve had.

The beginning of the year I think many will agree was a very uncertain one. 2009 was a very tough year for everyone, and not just in the double glazing industry. The country was just emerging out of recession, and everyone was looking towards the General Election in May to see which direction the country was headed. There was though a much more positive mood in the air. Everyone seemed more determined than ever to pull themselves out of financial trouble and get back to good trading again.

Up until the election we went a bit quiet. I think it was due to the fact people were hanging on a little to see what the result was going to be. Luckily, once the hype surrounding the coalition died down, consumers realised that things weren’t suddenly worse now the Tories were back in office, and started spending again.

World Cup
This really did dampen the country’s spending habits! I think everyone experienced a drop in leads and sales while the tournament was on. Despite England going out of the competition quite early, business didn’t really pick up till after the Final had been and gone. 

The World Cup ushered in the second half of the year. And one which has been much improved on the first half. Leads and sales have been consistent. Conversion rates have shot up. I think this should be put down to increased consumer confidence. Maybe people finally realised that the economic world wasn’t crashing down and they could afford to get things replaced.

On a personal note, I believe I have had some of the best months of my career so far. I feel as though something has clicked, which I know sounds strange for someone who has been doing the job for over four years. But I just feel I have managed to step up that extra level, and when I needed to most!

They emerged about half-way through the year and have given the industry plenty to talk about! They are the perfect Marmite comparison – you either like them or hate them! Whether or not you agree with their approach or not, one thing they should be applauded for is their marketing campaign. If anyone is looking to launch a new market strategy, they should look at what the DGCOS have done. It’s been effective, clear, not cheesy and they managed to grab a well known consumer-rights TV champion to front their adverts!

DGCOS did get a lot of attention, probably too much. And I’m guilty of that also, by writing too many posts about what I and others thought. They need to be left now to do what they set out to do. If they prosper then they deserve a pat on the back, if they fail then it’s not going to do the industry any harm.

Part L Changes
Well this was a sore point! And what a farce! September and October saw a mass panic by FENSA and the GGF when it realised that the WER scheme was shunned (wrongly shunned I want to add) by the industry, and so had to back-track to make sure that the Part L changes were valid, but in a way that didn’t put about 75% of the industry in breach of it!

One of the biggest crimes was that companies had invested thousands of pounds in getting their own certificates to prove compliance, only to be told at the last minute they didn’t need to go to those lengths to do so! As you can imagine this didn’t go down well. 

My thoughts are this: we should embrace what is a fantastic selling tool instead of picking holes in the WER scheme. We have to be selfish and realise that we have jobs to keep. We have to keep selling windows and doors to pay the bills, and this is something which will help us do that. We have to forget the mess of the Part L changes and plough forward.

Despite the second half of 2010 being very positive, I see 2011 as being a very tough year. We have seen two massive social-housing firms collapse. Banks are continuing to make redundancies in the thousands. The Government’s spending cuts are due to take effect as of January, as is the rise in VAT. This means very tough trading conditions, possibly to the effect of late 2008/early 2009. Of course I would love that to be wrong, but if you listen to all those in the know, what they are predicting isn’t rosy.