In my most recent poll carried out on Twitter, I asked my followers whether they would, given the chance, set up a new fenestration company. I posed this question as we are now operating in quite different circumstances compared to only a decade ago.

This was the result.

Question and answer

Here was the question posed and the answers it got back:

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Its worth pointing out that only 3% less voted to say that they would not set up a new company in this industry. From a personal point of view, if it all went south at our family run installations business and I had the opportunity to set up a new company, I wouldn’t be minded to do so.

There is, to my mind, far too much for a new small business to deal with to start up and effectively run a new company in our industry. GDPR and data protection, consumer rights laws, social media, online and digital marketing, traditional marketing, finding skilled labour, choosing reliable and quality-drived suppliers. These are just a few things the owner of a new small company would have to worry about before even thinking about selling contracts to home owners.

Then there is dealing with the general public, if a B2C type company is the route chosen. Home owners now are infintely more demanding than they were when I first started in this industry. The compensation culture, shaming on social media when its not always justified, false bad reviews on review sites, abuse towards members of staff, withholding of large balances for minor remedial works. These are all scenarios, which from what I can see, are becoming much more frequent than they should be for installers. Almost every week an industry friend of mine comes to me in pure frustration at the inane demands from home owners that are way beyond reasonable. I would caution that there is probably still more nice customers than nasty ones, but the number of problem home owners does seem to be on the rise, and its dealing with those which saps energy and focus away from the rest of the positive aspects of running a business.

I’d add as well that finding new skilled labour to carry out work is going to be a huge barrier to anyone thinking of starting a new company. You could be great at sales, and have found an awesome surveyor and the rest of your office team, but if you can’t get hold of good fitters to finish off the important bit, then everything else before it doesn’t really matter. I have had messages in the past from companies to say that they have not grown in recent years not because they can’t get the work, simply because they cannot find enough skilled people to carry it out.

All in all this was a close vote. Whilst there does indeed remain opportunities within fenestration for people with the right vision and drive, I personally would not start again in this industry for the reasons I mentioned above. As always, your comments on this and any other topic are welcome via the comments section below.

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