It’s now March. Any festive season hangovers should now be well and truly put behind us. This is the month where homeowners should be starting to venture outside to take a proper look at what home improvements need doing, including new windows and doors. So traditionally this should be a time of year when things start to pick up. Yet when I put my ear to the ground and start taking on board what other people are saying, that energy still hasn’t arrived yet.
Nothing like last year
When I look back to the first few months of 2014, there is a stark difference. Right from the get go I was far busier than I was able to cope with. Quotes coming out of my ears, constantly behind on paperwork. I remember many on social media saying very much the same. My timeline was full of positive tweets saying that 2014 was shaping up to be one of their best years ever. Yet up to now, there has been a distinct lack of positivity on my timeline in comparison to the same period last year.
From a personal viewpoint, our family run business was rammed. To the point where we were creaking. A think we were expecting some level of increase on the year previous, but not to the extent that it was. In fact the first 6 months turned out to be mental. The second 6 months though not so much. We still beat our yearly target though and all was well. The start of 2015 has been patchy at best. A poor January followed by a well above target February and now a sketchy March is making 2015 an unpredictable year. The first ten days has been poor again. Although the coming ten days looks like it will wield better results.
Earlier on mid-Wednesday, I put out this tweet:
Some industry honesty please, is it dead out there or busy? Plenty I’m speaking to say it’s very quiet.
— glazingblogger (@glazingblogger) March 11, 2015
To which I got the following replies…
@glazingblogger mixed reports from our nationwide customer base,many are busy due to order book but new enquiries have slowed down — Glazerite Windows (@GlazeriteLtd) March 11, 2015
@glazingblogger we are really busy but have heard a lot of people saying it’s quiet!! #Honest #justsaying
— Diss WCS Ltd (@DWCSltd) March 11, 2015
@glazingblogger Quiet for leads, but sales are still strong. — WindowsOfDistinction (@windowsofdist) March 11, 2015
@glazingblogger Hand on heart mate we are very busy :)
— McDermott Windows (@mcdermottwindow) March 11, 2015
@glazingblogger we are crazy busy mate — Steve Miller (@stemill27) March 11, 2015
@glazingblogger we are pretty busy. We are 22% up on like for like sales value to end of feb 2015 compared to 2014. +We are ⬆️on roof quotes
— Premier Conservatory (@premierconserva) March 11, 2015
@Windowwidgets @glazingblogger best jan and feb in years. Sold another con roof replacement yesterday, and plenty of leads coming thru — ThermotechUPVC (@ThermotechUPVC) March 11, 2015
@glazingblogger head swimming busy, although slow in one product area despite loads of interest…weird period!
— Rhino Aluminium (@RhinoAluminium) March 11, 2015
@glazingblogger the industry appears nationally to be running to a similar pattern to 2013 rather than 12mths ago. I’ve checked the figures
— Steve Langton (@langton301) March 11, 2015
@glazingblogger hearing a real mixed bag, some really stacked out with work, some not. No real pattern
— Philip Parry (@PhilipDParry) March 11, 2015
I have also been speaking with a few suppliers and they have all openly said to me that their results are mixed. Some of their customers doing really well. Some doing poorly. Therefore their own years so far are average. Nothing like this time last year.
Tougher than first thought
The one key set of stats that will confirm suspicions is going to be the first quarter FENSA report when they release data on the number of installations registered with them. If they’re flat, or worse, below 2014 Q1 figures, then we may have an indication as to how the rest of the year may pan out.
I think it’s fair to say that for the industry in general it’s going to be a tougher year than we thought. For some, it’s going to be a great year, for some it won’t be. For some it’s going to be a breeze, for some it’s going to be a grind to keep the doors open. It’s fair to say that the economic recovery the UK is experiencing is certainly only being felt in certain areas. It’s definitely not shared equally.
What are your thoughts? Are you busy? Quiet? All comments welcome in the section below.
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We are still very busy with the last 10 days being the best order intake for the last two years. We have been very steady but so far this year it has been growing at quite a rate. Putting work into June now and completely full until then. Our order intake for the first 8 months of our financial year is equivalent to the whole of our last financial year. We do wood with some aluminium and we never move on our first and best price.
Interesting read, I suppose it really does vary from place to place and also product to product! Personally never had a better start to the year, trying to keep the momentum and leads coming through the rest of the year may be the biggest challenge. More investing in the products and materials, including technology would keep customers on board! The timber alternative market is the leader, people love the sympathetic upgrades! Think there’s a definite shift from mid range products to higher end, then there’s those who need the lower end due to budgets. Not to much average or middle… Read more »