Tuesday January 24, 2012 at 2:00pm
DIY Conservatory Prices – what a minefield!
‘Well I’ll sell this DIY Conservatory for £1899 and I’ll make £200 profit not bad for a business ran from a kitchen table’ he laughed. This is what I heard when I visited a company selling DIY conservatories in December 2011 .Yes the individual does have a website and it looks ultra modern. But the reality is that if you get a DIY conservatory price from this firm this is what happens;
Firstly the ‘firm’ doesn’t manufacture anything. So they buy in your DIY conservatory. They start by faxing your sizes around a few, maybe up to eight, different trade conservatory manufacturers. This is done to get the lowest possible price. That may sound like good news and it is – for the firm ran from the Kitchen table but maybe not for you.
When I visited the firm mentioned above he waved ten DIY conservatory orders in my face and said
‘I like dealing with your firm, the quality is better but your £90 more expensive roughly than XXX can you match it?’
Now I can’t mention the name of XXX for legal reasons but I happened to know they are trading very close to the edge, as their behind with there NI and PAYE payments. Maybe they have three months before they cease to trade.
‘No I can’t match it. You know full well that the product from XXX is not a match on ours .You know what everyone is saying about them, are You sure they can even deliver the goods. Let alone give you a lasting guarantee.
‘Yeah I know but the saving to me is £900’
I was tempted to drop our price as January is a quiet month for DIY conservatories but I thought no we have a price for our product and he knows our Conservatory is better than XXX’s. So I wished him Merry Christmas and drove home.
On returning to work in January I get a phone call the first week back.
‘John can you make those Conservatories for me, the ones you quoted on’
I replied ‘Sure but why have you decided to buy off us’
‘Don’t you know? XXX have gone bust’.
I estimate that 70% firms selling DIY conservatories on the internet don’t make anything and buy in and sell on. I guess there’s nothing wrong with this business model but it can go wrong and badly.
As I mentioned above the company we are supplying is making around £200 profit on supplying a DIY conservatory. Is that enough? He seems to thinks it is. If anyone makes a claim against his 10 year guarantee would that £200 be enough to cover the claim? Possibly, but probably not.
Worse, and as happened in the case of the DIY conservatory manufacturer mentioned above they simply ceased to trade. If this happens your order could be left half made in their factory or delivered incomplete. And no way to get the missing parts.
It’s not impossible to buy your DIY conservatory from a company run from a Kitchen table or spare bedroom. But is it really worth taking that risk? I certainly wouldn’t.
As we go into 2012 the financial future is uncertain for a lot of companies. If your buying a DIY conservatory these are the top things I’d consider when parting with your money.
1) A Deposit guarantee make sure any deposit monies you pay are protected either use a credit card as the card issuer is jointly liable should your DIY conservatory not arrive.
2) The company you’re dealing with, unless they’ve been established for at least 7 years avoid .70% of all business failures occur within this time frame.
3) Get the Conservatory companies latest accounts from company’s house if they have lots of negative working capital. Avoid they are too exposed to credit and cash flow issues.
4) Buy from a manufacturing company, they can respond quickly to any problems that might occur.
5) Price get the best value for money you can and check the specification to make sure your buying the best you can.
By taking these 5 simple steps means you are protecting your cash and getting the best deal for a new DIY conservatory.