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UK Economy Slows - Conservatory Blinds Limited Grows
With official figures suggesting that the UK economy has slowed, Conservatory Blinds Limited has seen first half-year turnover marginally increase with a resultant increase in gross profit, which is a strong indicator that we are increasing our market share.
It is easy to increase turnover at the expense of profit by under-pricing or deliberately negotiating on a quotation (in fact many blind retailers seem to be doing just that) but this is a very short-term tactic that ultimately fails because it inevitably results in reduced profits or even losses.
But as most companies have self-employed people that are only paid a percentage commission, the company suffers much less than the salespeople and fitters – at least in the first instance.
For instance, a well-known house blind retailer sells what they claim to be “conservatory blinds” (in fact they are just cheap pleated blinds) and they always (without exception) quote for the very lowest specification, which is completely inappropriate for most conservatories and often breaches the roof manufacturer’s guarantee. Their telesales people then call customers to slash the prices further because they have been instructed to secure every order at all costs.
They win lots of orders at around half to two thirds of the correct price, which means that all of their self-employed people are working for about half of normal income. This results in all sorts of desperate and outright false claims being made, as well as slapdash fitting by unskilled people that are willing to work for very little – often the unemployed or unemployable.
They have high sales figures, but also have extremely high remedial rates, customer complaints, delays in payment and serious damage to their reputation. Clearly this isn’t sustainable, even for a very large company, and yet this is exactly what is happening.
The problem with conservatory blinds is that they are completely different from general house blinds, requiring experience of a completely different type of manufacture and attention to detail that just isn’t possible from these kinds of companies.
Instead of recruiting the highest calibre of people, they have simply taken on dozens of ill-trained and greedy direct-salesmen who earn thousands of pounds in sales commission, whilst their unskilled “fitters” are often working for less than £50 a day after paying for fuel.
The results are, quite literally, unbelievable.
The same thing happened (on a larger scale) years ago in the double-glazing industry. Time will tell whether we are right, but we wholly believe in offering exceptional value for money rather than the cheapest product and service at the cheapest price.
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