I don’t mean in that namby pamby Tory way where they try and measure our overall level of happiness. We all know everyone is miserable at the minute!

What I mean is, is the industry a happy place to work at the minute? Take some of the chatter recently on Twitter. I see more and more tweets on my timeline about sales being harder and harder to close, with margins becoming ever thinner. The competition continues to undercut, forcing prices down, meaning those that get the job end up doing it for nothing. Who wants to work in an industry where you don’t make any money?

Here’s the other thing. Lead levels seem OK. Not mega brilliant but not dire. For me personally I have had decent lead levels, and they’re going up as we hit spring. But what I am hearing from a lot of people is getting clients to commit and put pen to paper is harder than getting blood out of a stone! Jobs are being priced up left, right and centre but it is taking an age for them to commit. I don’t blame the customer. The ever increasing stream of bad economic news out of the TV, job insecurity, higher living costs and barely no wage rises means the thought of spending thousands isn’t appealing. But it doesn’t help us. It’s not as if we can lower our prices, margins are barely there for a lot of us anyway! Years of artificially being forced down has meant our industry is damaged right to the very beginning of the price chain.

Working conditions like this are hard on everyone involved in the business. It certainly is tiresome if you are in sales. Constant follow-ups, dead leads, no guarantee of sustained business. If you’re not mentally strong or patient it can me quite testing. Then there are the owners of the business themselves. They might be running the tightest ship possible, cut all necessary costs, yet after night after night of hard work and no sleep, sometimes that break just does not come. Then there are the fitters. They know when it’s quiet out there because their schedules start to look a little thin. They have families to feed and bills to pay. They rely on the business bringing the work in.

Some of you will say “bah! You’re not trying hard enough!” Or blaming a lack of quality products. I have seen many people talk online, and indeed mention it at the FiT Show last week, trading is bloody hard work at the moment and the industry isn’t as happier place as it was about 5 or 6 years ago.

Maybe what I have described isn’t as bad as it is in the south, certainly not in London. Those I speak to down south seem to be doing OK, those in the good areas of London seem to have missed the recessions altogether. A symptom of the North/South divide. For those in the south who say it’s not that bad, I would challenge you to sell up here for a month, where the margins don’t exist and extreme under-cutting is more annoying than the Safestyle advert. I would say that our industry isn’t a happy place right now overall. In fact I have seen a few people on Twitter recently saying openly that they would like to get out of the industry as it wasn’t what it used to be.

For me, the situation is different. I am part of a small family run company where my drive and overall aims would take it to places it has never been before. I have a pretty unique opportunity to work with my family to make it even better than it was before. The long-term gains are there to be had, as long as we continue to ride out the storm just a little longer. After that, I am reliably told we are sitting on a little gold mine!

So, ladies and gentlemen, given what I have said, and considering your own current situations in the industry, is it a happy place to be right now?