This week we sat down with Vinny from Perfect Preservation and asked him about his business, entrepreneurship and for advice.
1.Can you start with a brief introduction about yourself and your business?
Hello, my name is Vincent, but I prefer Vinny, I have been in the construction sector since 1985.
I have qualifications in the following fields.
Certificated Surveyor in Remedial Treatment, which includes:-
- Health and safety.
- Regulations and legal aspects.
- Timber- biology, decay and insects.
- Dampness- diagnosis and remedial treatment.
City and guilds: Wood technology, wooden frame and carcase construction, wood finishing.
City and guilds: Brickwork level 2.
BPEC Domestic Ventilation, which includes:-
- Fault finding.
City and guilds. The current electrical wiring regulations for England and Wales, 17th edition
Domestic electrical installer (PART P).
All these as well as attending short courses in condensation, risk assessing and other associated subjects.
2. As a child did you have an entrepreneurial attitude?
Yes, me and my friend did a paper round for our local shop for a couple of years when we were 14 years old, the shop closed down and we took it upon ourselves to offer our own delivery service.
We managed to get our stock of newspapers at a reduced rate as well as charging a small delivery fee plus tips, this worked out well till our homes were demolished and we had to move to another area. Sad times.
3. How did you get your idea or concept for the business?
I had all the necessary skills and ambition to be my own boss where I make the decisions for myself.
After being employed by several building companies and seeing first hand the poor service they offered I decided the time was right to offer my own unique services
ensuring the work was carried out properly.
4.Why are you in business?
I was fed up off seeing people pay for unnecessary work that was specified by over zealous salespeople and knew I could offer a better service.
5. What was your mission at the outset?
To provide a quality service, ensuring that the work carried out was necessary, done to a high standard, on time with minimum fuss at a reasonable price.
Carried out in a professional manner by qualified personnel.
6.How do you advertise your business?
Clients can find us either by searching for a qualified Damp and timber contractor on the PCA website or by a search on the Trustmark site or looking on the Napit website for a electrical or ventilation contractor. We also have a free line with YELL.
Most of our work is through recommendation or referral, we are also trusted contractors for local estate agents.
7. Where do you see your business in the next year? In the next five years? The next ten years?
Hopefully doing the same quality work, would love to have take on an apprentice to train as we have a lot of relevant construction skills to pass on.
Just looking for the right candidate.
8. Who do you seek advice from for your business?
If need be we have a wealth of advice and technical data at our fingertips through being a member of the PCA.
PCA members are brilliant if advice is needed, the PCA also has a vast amount of technical data at their disposal as well as a technical board of members.
Sometimes a second opinion is necessary.
9. Why do your customers select you over your competitors?
From the feedback we have had it would seem to be that having the correct diagnostic tools as well as the knowledge and experience gives our customers the confidence in appointing us, we always aspire to providing a truly unique professional service.
10. What are the biggest issues for running a business?
Acquiring staff with the relevant skills can be challenging at times, the skills shortage seems to be commonplace across the construction industry.
The PCA have recently launched an apprentice training scheme which hopefully we can become a part of in the near future.
11. What is the future for your industry?
The future looks a lot brighter than it did when I first started out, it was commonplace for companies to use unskilled labour and investing in correct education for their staff was a no no. This brought about the cowboy traders that have tarnished the industry.
With the advent of the internet, clients can research companies a lot easier than before and hopefully the cowboys will be weeded out.
Education Education Education is the key.
12. If something happens to you, what will happen to your business?
Our business exists because we have a qualified C.S.R.T surveyor, these are few and far between with only about 450 across the UK.
Hopefully we could employ another qualified surveyor and we could then continue to serve our clients.
13. To what do you attribute your success?
I attribute my own success from the people around me who have given me the knowledge and have supported my ambition to continue on my journey, long nights up researching information and evening visits all take time away from my family. I thank them for their patience.
I must also pay a big compliment to another surveyor I met whilst in training, this person already had a thriving remedial business and was willing to show me the ropes.
He invited me to stay at his home with his family for a short period of time which proved invaluable as he showed me the basics of practical surveying with real clients and also put me in touch with manufacturer companies who provide the materials for our trade.
We are still in touch on a monthly basis and share information.
Also being a member of the PCA which is the trade body for the damp, timber and structural industries. The help and support off these guys counts for a lot.
14. Have you ever turned down a client?
Only the once, I was contacted from an owner of a large Victorian property as he had an outbreak of Dry rot which affected the first floor joists as well as the old lathes in ceiling.
I had to provide a costing for the reinstatement of the decorative ceiling mouldings from a plaster casting company and when I told him the address of client he informed me that he had previously carried out work there and struggled to get paid once the works had been completed, the client was cash poor but asset rich.
Being a small company, I could not take the chance and declined the job.
15. If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
Firstly get the correct training and experience, then have sufficient funds to start up.
Have the right skilled workers in place and be prepared to train them up when required.
Be patient and keep ploughing ahead, be prepared for long nights and few holidays.
Any Final Words…..
I must say it can be very rewarding at times and sometimes stressful, all in all I would not change the direction I have chosen.
Our aim is to repair first time, on time, every time.