It’s the the start of a new school year, the weather is on the turn, MP’s are back in Parliament and the countdown to Christmas has begun. Yes, this is the official start of Silly Season. That very special time of year where home owners up and down the land who have left it as late as possible rush to try and get their home improvement works done before the year is out.

Installers and fabricators, tools at the ready!

The mad rush

You can time it to the day. That day is the first day schools are back open. Parents can hand over their kids back to the teachers and get back to some sort of normality at home and at work. No more holidays. No more trying to keep the kids occupied. It’s back to reality.

That day for us was Monday of this week, and as it always is, it is like a tap has been turned back on. August was very sleepy for us, as I’m guessing it was for many others out there. Not as bad as December, but you can always tell it’s the school holidays.

We have already sold a ton of doors, leads are being booked a fortnight in advance and the fitting schedules are already looking very full towards the very end of the year. We are now having to manage people’s expectations in terms of lead times and let them know that something they buy now won’t be installed until November. We’re only at the start of Silly Season, so it may not be all that long until we have to say we’re full for the year. I’d say we’d just go out and find more fitters, but that’s a task in itself and a post for another day!

Installers and fabricators will be well used to this time of year and will know well the stresses and rushing about that is coming. Home owners will now spend September, October and most of November desperately getting their window and door orders in before lead times move into the New Year. For the installers that are busy, that window of opportunity is closing quickly. This puts added pressure on fabricators to make sure they can deliver their products on time for their installers.

I still continue to wonder why so many home owners leave it until the end of year. Financial restrictions aside, why wait until the last gasp? When you think about it, the school summer holiday is six weeks long, but most only go abroad for a maximum of two weeks. That leaves a further four weeks in which to move forward with their home improvement plans. It is what it is I guess.

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The companies that feel the most pressure in these coming couple of months are most certainly installers and fabricators. They are at the sharp end, dealing with the home owners, trying as best they can to facilitate their requests to have their new windows and doors fitted in time, before Christmas.

For both installers and fabricators, the key factor in this short time period is going to be organisation. Fabricators have to plan in advance what supply they need from their systems companies. They need to work out in advance what they need and how much of it they need. Run low on something and it could easily spell bad news for some installers.

When it comes to installation companies, they have to be ultra-sharp when it comes to forward planning of fitting schedules. They need to communicate well with their suppliers so they know what products are getting delivered and when, so they can be in touch with home owners as swiftly as possible. If you don’t give this area enough attention, scheduling can very quickly descend into chaos and mess ensues.

Don’t fret, Silly Season is the shortest of all the seasons in the year, it’s only about two months or so. After that, the tap turns off, the Christmas trees go up and we can all have a bit of a breather as the year draws to a close.

Still, installers will need to be on their toes and be prepared to deal with the odd home owner or two who will simply not accept anything less than a pre-Christmas installation and insist that the installer bends time and space to make sure they have their new front door to be able to show off to all their family when they come over for dinner. We all love those phone calls.

The reality though is that most home owners are pragmatic, and understand that they may have left it too late for pre-Xmas fitting. I don’t anticipate too many difficult conversations on that front. It just happens to be that these next few months seem to put a jolt of energy back into the home improvers and gain some extra impetus.

What are you expecting this Silly Season? Have the sales already started to flood back in after the summer break? All comments welcome via the section below.

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