In this blog post we'll give an overview of how we put together a price for your joinery, from initial phone call to a proposal for your consideration. Most people start the process with a phone call to our office, 01769 572 134. On the rare occasion we can't get to the phone you'll be put through to a secretary, not an answer machine, who'll take your details and we'll aim to get back to you within the same day. In addition, if you have plans, drawings or photos please email them using the email address on our website. As our joinery is bespoke and individually crafted to suit your situation, an appointment is normally required with one of the Directors, Graham Haydon, Daniel Haydon or Andrew Haydon who will discuss your requirements and take the necessary measurements. Depending on how busy we are a site survey can be done as early as the next day or two weeks from initial inquiry being the very longest time you should expect before a visit.
Once we have the details, we work at providing the best proposal we can. We aim to make that process as fast as possible but are mindful it does take time to make sure the materials we are sourcing are of a the right quality and are as competitively costed as possible. We use modern estimating software for the majority of our work and can provide drawings when required. As with booking a survey you can expect an proposal to be with you as soon as the next day or up to two weeks depending on how busy we are and the complexity of your project. After that point you'll have an proposal sent to you.
As you'll see from the example estimate above, we include a photo of the existing item to be replaced or a reference photo of some kind. This really helps any further discussions and avoid problems. Always make sure when reading any proposal you receive, check all details carefully. Truly we don't mean that to be patronizing in any way at all, rather it is mindful that most clients may only order bespoke joinery on a few times and like any craft, joinery has its own jargon. When comparing cost do also make sure that specifications match up. Things like timber, ironmongery, coatings and site fitting can be offered in different ways and above all, never be afraid to ask questions. We'd much rather take the time to discuss the project to ensure everything is totally clear. If your satisfied with the proposal we'll often arrange for another, more detailed survey for making the item, raise a Purchase Order for you to approve and normally a deposit invoice too.
This might seem very boring stuff, but I know from personal experience how hard it is to understand processes and jargon when you've not used a service before.
We've had a few odd requests over the years, the most peculiar was a request for my Dad to be a life model. But this was a new one for me, Squirrel attack!!!. See below my client's email and the damage on the photo above.
"Hi Graham, I hope all is well with you. I have just gone into my sitting room to discover a squirrel it must have fallen down the chimney and got out through the log burner., anyway it has chewed every glazing bar on my lovely windows!!! I,ll attach picture. It has chewed some of the frames but I think they can be salvaged it's mainly the glazing bars."
We'll be able to repair the joinery without too much issue but it's not something I ever thought we'd add to our portfolio.
Adding a good level of security to doors is an important consideration. There are a great variety of ways to achieve this, from the reliable 5 lever sash lock to multi-point locking systems. We've used those options with great success, recently however, we were asked by a client to install a Banham lock. Before we purchased and installed the lock I will confess, I was skeptical on grounds of cost. Would this lock really offer any benefit over and above locks I was more familiar with? While I can't independently verify it will make a door more secure, my experience tells me it would surely go a long way to doing so. The photo below illustrates the point well. It's a keep which is secured to the frame for the deadbolt or latch to fit within. Now most of us must have seen a some time or another, a short clip on the news or police documentary of a door being smashed open, with the door frame being reduced to splinters in the process. The keep supplied by Banham is clever as it distributes it's fixings over a much longer length and uses more fixings than a conventional lock keep, I'd hate to try and break through a door fitted with this. The quality of the keep is exceptional too, it has a feel of a precision engineered item rather than a cheap and nasty pressed steel item.
The lock itself was of a brilliant standard too. I can recall the flat I rented when I moved out from home first was fitted with a yale night latch, the Banham version is something quite special and a good few steps ahead. While the simple Yale did its job, the Banham feels so much more robust. The lever used to activate the lock from the inside feels it would a lifetime or two and the sheer weight is quite something. I could try and inform you about other impressive things such as the key issuing, but to be honest it would be a copy and paste exercise from their website.
When we finished installing the lock on the oak door we made I was struck by how much better the project looked and felt. Actually, as odd as it may seem, using the door was more enjoyable with the Banham lock fitted. It had the feeling you get when opening the door on a high quality car or operating smooth operating drawers in quality furniture. Although the cost is significant I really do think, if you're serious about commissioning a custom door then it would be a shame not to fully consider using a quality lock to compliment the quality joinery. I'm a skeptic no longer, in my opinion a Banham lock is well worth the asking price.
My Brother has been working on improving the appearance of our office area, so far he's made a new desk and made some display cases featuring some of our old business books from the 1970's. Aside from feeling under pressure to up my game in terms of presentation, I was very interested to take a look at the contents of the books. I'm not sure if any other businesses did things like we did, but these books represent how we created invoices and quotations for jobs. I will confess this method was still in place when I started in the office too. To call it a "method" might be stretching a point. Now, I have to be reasonably computer literate, but then, it was a case of write it neatly in a book and then get the office to write it up in a legible format and do the accounting side of things. When I say "office" I mean Gran or my Mum. These days that approach, with its multiple data entry, means that method had to stop but it has created and fun little vernacular record of work that was done.
Interesting to see the pre 1973 world of Purchase TAX and then post 1973 when we adopted the European model of VAT. Further to that, a VAT rate of 8% in the late 1970's, as of 2016 it is 20%. In 1971 we charged a skilled woodworker at £0.90 an hour and an apprentice £0.36. These days, depending on task it could be between £15.00 to £30.00 depending on the task. Parana Pine was still a legal and relatively plentiful timber and also interesting to see a Quotation submitted to Esso Petroleum for work to a local service station. I must admit, part of me craves the simplicity of a few written pages in a book being all the paper work I'd need to do but at the same time things do change. Hopefully when clients and potential clients come in to visit they can see we've not been afraid to change with the times. Now, if only we could get that VAT rate back to 8%!