It’s unlikely that UK home improvement market will see a repeat of 2020 and 2021, which means that once the backlog has been cleared, installers are going to need to maximise profitability and think creatively, about where they find leads, as Elton Boocock, Managing Director, Business Pilot, explains.
“We haven’t and I don’t think we are, going to see a crash in demand, so in that sense, we’re not looking at a cliff-edge”, he says.
“It is, however, sensible to expect some normalisation and adjustment in the market later this year. That is likely to represent a contraction on the last two years, although taken over the longer term, that doesn’t mean that demand won’t remain high.
This is reflected in some of the figures coming out of the Business Pilot Barometer, an anonymised measure of average leads and sales, among its CRM and business management tool customer base.
This showed a drop in sales of 38% in December. Leads were down 44% on the preceding month. “That’s not something that anyone needs to worry about”, continues Elton, “we know that there is a seasonality to sales, while many retailers decided to take extend breaks at Christmas.
“They’re also busy and with order books full for 12-weeks, maybe installers haven’t brought the same focus to lead generation because they haven’t had to. The tide will, however, at some point have to turn.”
The window and door industry was on target for significant growth before the pandemic hit, at around 5% year-on-year through to 2023. The growth that has been seen in the last 18-months has been exponential, estimates suggesting that it’s topped 25-30%.
“As we’ve said, we know December is not a typical month but if we benchmark it across the last three years, we see that year-on-year sales December 2021 were down 23% on those for 2020. Go back a year further to the pre-Covid era and December 2019, and they’re 60% lower.
“Again, there are number of reasons why no one needs to panic but it does hint things may be slower this spring than they have been in the last two.”
Designed and developed by installers for installers Business Pilot delivers real-time information on true profitability against every job, as well as helping installers to manage cashflow, win new business and manage operations.
This includes its drag-and-drop scheduling board, which makes rescheduling jobs easy, automatically adjusting ‘back-end’ systems in a single action.
“While there isn’t going to be a crash, some of the disciplines of running a good business are going to become more important”, Elton argues, “that includes running your business efficiently to understand and maximise your profitability.
“This year events like the FIT Show will become even more valuable in providing an opportunity to see what new technologies are available to help with that.”
Business Pilot will once again be at the FIT Show and you can visit us on stand M10 (just inside the main entrance).