The UK is experiencing difficult times. With political and economic uncertainty, there have certainly been some challenges as big names either move from the UK as Dyson recently announced, or go into administration like Toys R Us and House of Fraser.
Not all of these changes can be blamed on Brexit, economies, or political leaders. Some of them are down to mismanagement. Some of the changes are merely changes in the way we as consumers live and the way we buy.
Earlier this month Better Bathrooms closed their doors, leading to a potential 362 job losses. The firm has since been bought from the administrators and there’s been a promise to save the jobs and even create more. Hopefully they’ve had a lucky escape, and this is good news for anyone who has a bathroom planned with them.
We’ve seen this before in our industry though. We’ve always been very proud to not be too big to see what’s going on and careful not to have a long list of paid bathrooms that we can’t fulfil. We remember what happened when Mark II customers lost out like when they went under in 2014.
Can you avoid this risk? We think you can mitigate it by choosing someone like us to supply your bathroom.
Why choose independent?
Shopping local or choosing an independent business is high on the agenda of many small to medium business and those interested in local economy, but why should you? Well a pound spent locally is worth a lot more. In fact, some research suggests that £10 spent with a local independent means up to an additional £50 going back into the local economy.
So, it’s a good thing.
What are the other benefits of going local or independent?
We’re all supportive of the idea of choosing local or an independent, but let’s just be a little selfish for a moment. Does it help you in the long run? Sure, it helps your local economy, but what about your own bathroom that you’ll have for 15 years?
One of the big frustrations with a large company is getting through to the main decision makers and those who really care about the end result you get. We’ve seen it countless times where someone has been to a big brand for their bathroom and simply fall out with them over poor communication.
We might not be a comms machine, but if you want to meet the people in charge of the business, then just walk into the showroom!
Smaller supply chain
Another reason it can take longer and you’ll potentially have more problems when a large company like Better Bathrooms close their doors is that your money may well be tied up with a large supply chain. You might also find this an issue when you’re planning your bathroom too. The more links in the chain, the more likely it is you’ll have issues.
You rarely meet the fitters or the person tasked with arranging the fitting and then the suppliers and other areas of the project are all different companies spread all over the place.
With an independent, most of this is taken care of in-house.
Fewer middle managers
Don’t get us wrong, you do need people to manage people. But there can often be so many layers (due to their size) in a large business that you can’t get a definitive answer and your project falls behind. With an independent you’ll meet the people in charge, you’ll see the fitters and decision makers in the car park or the showroom on the way out and you’ll get a more personal service. Should things go wrong, you’re never far from a person who can fix it.
Small enough to care
And also, you’ll rarely find a small independent in any niche or industry that doesn’t care. They nearly always care very much, and go above and beyond what you expect. Sometimes they cost a little more, but you get that back in droves.
Will you still get all the big name products?
Shopping local or shopping independent might seem like a compromise but it really isn’t in the bathroom world. We have access to the biggest brands in the world and can design, supply, and fit them for you. You’re not limited by choice… although you may find some independents have their favourites, as we do.
This all works out to your benefit though as there are often chose with the customer in mind, not because of a magic handshake between two companies you’ll never meet.
Why do independent bathroom companies do it all?
You’ll find that most independent bathroom fitters will design, supply, and fit your bathroom for you. They manage the whole process. We complete the entire renovation from stripping out the old bathroom to polishing the taps on completion.
Most independents will do this and it’s in contrary to the larger companies throughout the industries who partner with couriers, fitters, and more. With fewer people involved there’s more responsibility for the final product.
Are you covered for warranty with a local company?
This is the big fear and those who lost their bathrooms to Mark II and who may lose out with the loss of Better Bathrooms will think they were covered with a big company. The fact is, you’re rarely 100% covered with anything, but the bigger companies do seem to offer more peace of mind.
That said, you can still lose your deposit and other payments and you might lose warranty on some parts.
An independent is no different here, but you’d be wrong if you thought a small company was more of a risk. We offer our six-year warranty on all our work and the warranty on the products will lie with the manufacturer. If you do have trouble with a bathroom supplier (no matter what size) then you may well be covered with the manufacturer’s warranty or guarantee, so do check. This is why we always recommend you deal with a showroom where the main products are branded. If you do have any issues in the future you’ll know who to contact with any warranty issues.
Are you better off with an independent?
We like to think so. You’ll get a better service, fantastic high-quality products, and you’ll be closer to those who can help, manage, and fix any problems.
We look after the entire process from design to completion for this very reason.
Buy independent and buy local and you’re adding some revenue back into your local economy too.