UPVC Maintenance Supplies is this year celebrating 25 years in business. The family company is a comprehensive one-stop-shop for everything window and door replacement, maintenance and repair across UPVC, timber and composite solutions. Helen Williams spoke to Marketing Manager Janet Webster.
The Early Days
The company was started in 1992 by David Earnshaw who had previously worked as an installer, surveyor and Installations Manager for various large and small window companies around the UK. Following the last recession he noticed that lots of people were left without warranties on their UPVC windows and doors due to companies going out of business, so set up a window repair business working from home. With a three year old daughter and baby son at home being his own boss gave David the added bonus of being able to dictate his own working hours.
From Service to Shop
The business’ first site was a converted shed. In David’s back garden. As more people approached him to fulfil their supply needs, a lock-up was engaged to house David’s ever-growing inventory as the business focus started its shift from the repair business further into the retail/supply arena. By 2005 even this proved too small and an official trade counter was opened in Pudsey, relocating to the company’s current Batley headquarters in 2010. “We strive to be close to our customers – both physically and virtually – and we’re always keen to hear how we can best meet their demands” explains Janet “with more of our custom coming from other tradesmen, it made sense to cease offering a repair service and concentrate on supplying parts to our growing trade following – which we decided to do in 2011”. To further support the shift to retail and distribution, the company opened a second trade counter in Rotherham in 2012 in response to a growing cluster of local contacts in that area who were desperate for a physical premises that offered great levels of stock and service.
Forward to the Future
As Janet says “I was brought on board in 2015 to look at new ways to grow and support the business. The new website and catalogue are our building blocks going forward”. At the end of 2016 Business Development Manager Paul Swift joined the fold and with an ambitious target for the anniversary year the business is working hard on new and better ways to meet customer requirements. “We’ve recently set up agreements with a number of hardware suppliers including IG Doors and Synseal” she adds “by supplying more products across a wider range; we’re working to give our customers the choice they deserve without compromising on quality or availability”.
As Janet is keen to point out, these days the business has a lot to shout about as it counts down to the 25th anniversary in September. “From our point of view the fact that we are 25 is a big thing. The expertise we’ve gained over those years and the way we use it makes us different. Customers know they can phone us for technical advice as well as ordering products online. There’s an awful lot that can go wrong if you order the wrong part so this expertise gives our customers a ‘comfort blanket’ feeling.
“We also have a ‘send us a photo’ service where the guys on the road all day fitting parts can send us a photo of what they need for us to identify. We get quite a lot of photos. It’s not surprising when you consider the number of products installers are dealing with. For example, we have 81 multi-point door locks and a number of these have different variations.”
The business is well-known as the place to go for the slightly unusual, however with more than 1,500 products from some of the industry’s leading manufacturers, UPVC Maintenance Supplies is keen to enhance this image: “We’re trying to break the perception that we’re just here for ‘one-offs’ and make more people aware that we can get the part you need along with the equipment you need to install it.”
The new website and catalogue have both been well-received: “We’ve a wide target audience - from DIY experts to tradesmen including glaziers and locksmiths as well as commercial bodies like national property maintenance organisations and builders’ merchants and it’s important we appeal across the spectrum”. The new website is far more than just a shop “We’re building up a library of guides that we are sharing on social media. Again the message is that we are here to help. We’ve also doubled the size of the catalogue and whilst some of this is new product we’ve also taken the opportunity to include more information so customers can find it easier to select the product they need – even if we are just at the end of the phone”.
In the face of all this growth and diversification the business remains staunchly family-based. David continues to own the business along with his wife Karen who works on the accounts aspect of the business. The three year old daughter Emma from 1992 is now the HR and Finance Manager after joining the company in 2012 and new baby son Elliot is now a 25 year old graphic designer who is responsible for the cover of the new catalogue. The business continues to be faithful to the local area – keen supporters of the Yorkshire Air Ambulance and the Leeds Rhinos Foundation – and is arranging a number of fundraising initiatives to take place over the course of the anniversary year to support these worthy charities. You can find out more by calling 0113 236 0800 or visiting www.upvcwindow-doorparts.co.uk... Why not request a new catalogue whilst you’re at it?