A guide to setting up a manufacturing company from scratch, by Ben Warren, Managing Director of The Window Outlet

Despite our directors having over 40 years’ combined experience in the fenestration industry, The Window Outlet is a relatively new business. We started off in September 2014 with huge ambitions to become one of the UK’s biggest fabricators and trade suppliers of aluminium products for domestic and commercial use, and already we’ve come a long way!

Since choosing our base in Bristol three months ago, we’ve learned a lot about setting up a business, from sourcing suppliers and machinery to expanding our product range to include windows, doors, bi-folds, lantern roofs and curtain walling.

Starting a business is hectic, but rewarding. We thought it would be useful to share our newfound knowledge with others who may be thinking about starting out in the fenestration industry.

1. Find affordable premises

Something we initially struggled with was finding affordable premises. This was understandable given that property prices and rents in Bristol are often ridiculously expensive, but it’s a problem that a lot of start-ups across the country suffer with. We learnt that being patient is incredibly important. Be patient but proactive at the same time.

2.  Choose the right supplier

Choosing the right supplier that suits the aims and needs of your company is really important too. At The Window Outlet, we chose AluK because of their wide range of high quality products, their marketing expertise and the fact that there was a gap in the market in our region for such a type of product. Think carefully about how a supplier fits your business.

3. Source the right machinery

As an aluminium fabricator that prides itself on the quality of our products, finding the right machinery was particularly important for us. We learnt that it’s always better to pay a little bit more for a quality piece of machinery than it is for a lower standard, cheaper piece of kit. We invested in state of the art fabrication technology from Emmegi such as automatic saws and precision CNC centres to ensure the highest quality in our products.

4. Employ the right staff

We found finding the right staff was particularly difficult task. We wanted to find a team that were qualified and reliable and that matched our ethics of getting things right, first time. We’d recommend taking your time over the recruitment process so that you can find the perfect people for your business. Double Glazing Blogger has explored the issue of staff in the fenestration industry before, and we completely agree with his suggestion that more needs to be done to promote young blood in the industry.

5. Build your marketing

Marketing really helped to build our business. It’s something that we’re continually investing in, so that we can get the word about our company out there! I think social media is an extremely useful tool to debate the latest industry news, make new connections across the industry and even share leads!

Finding the right marketing support was really important to us. We suggest that you find a marketing specialist to do the hard work for you: we chose Purplex, one of the leading full service marketing agencies in the fenestration industry.

The Window Outlet: Bristols leading aluminium fabricator

The Window Outlet are one of Bristol’s leading aluminium fabricators. Supplying a range of high quality windows and doors from industry-renowned systems company, AluK, The Window Outlet is committed to providing installers with exceptional products and services.

For more information, give us a ring on 0117 405 8488 or visit our website: http://www.the-window-outlet.co.uk. Or why not follow us on Twitter? @TheWindowOutlet

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