The Top 7 Traits of Sash Window Tradesman
1. Be Adaptable
As a lot of Sash window repair Cambridge work falls under repairs as opposed to replacements, you need to have adaptable skills. This is because you’re working with a window that will have been battered by the elements. Although you see a lot of the same problems and can build up skills to deal with these problems, windows are often never going to be worn or withered in the exact same way. So, there’s no two ways about it…
You have to be practically minded.
That’s not to say that you can’t build up your practical skills working with various materials, but you certainly need to be handsy and be able to solve practical problems. Some people are better at this naturally and some people have to work hard through their younger years to develop this skill so they can be a great, adaptable tradesman.
The good thing is that it keeps the job interesting as you have to use your brain as much as you have to use your hands and tools.
2. Have Multiple Skills
Working with sash windows does not mean you can get away with just being a good carpenter. A lot of carpenters are skilled in multiple areas anyway as a lot of trade skills tend to overlap. However, it’s crucial that you know how to work with wood, metal, glass and paint at least to be able to be a great sash window tradesman.
Woodwork is the most important skill as most of sash windows are made from wood. This means sawing, restoring, chiselling, sanding etc.. As you fix more and more sash windows, you’ll get better and better at restoring sashes and other elements of the window.
Glass is obviously crucial as it is what lets light through your windows. Whether your client wants single, double or triple glazing, you should know how to fit all of these and restore any of these types of windows.
Painting is really important too for restoration. Paint goes a long way to not only improve the looks of your windows, but also protecting the wood of your sash windows. Get good at adding solid layers of even paint to keep your customers happy. An uneven blotchy paint job won’t look good.
3. Have Experience
Everyone has to ‘start somewhere’, but if you want to be an accomplished sash window expert, you’re going to have to experience a lot of different sash window repairs and installations, as well as different services related to sash windows - like draught proofing.
A good place to gain experience could be in school. You can take resistant materials and get to know the basics of working with wood. This will help to build up your practical-minded skills as well as your wood working skills. As for actual sash windows, find a good guide on the internet on how to repair a sash window. Better yet, shadow someone that fixes sash windows themselves and see how they’re doing it. Then your best bet is to work on your own sash windows if you happen to have any. If not, find someone that you’re close with and that trusts you and they might let you work on theirs if you’ve built up some skills and think you can take care of them. You should do it at a low cost to incentivise the person to trust you with their sash windows.
What experience brings
Here at Sashcraft Restoration we’ve been working on properties for years and years. This means that anyone from the team that provides a free of charge quote can do so relatively quickly on inspecting your property. No salesman is sent round who doesn’t know what he’s doing to misdiagnose the problem and waste time. We come in, diagnose the problem, figure out what’s wrong with your sash windows, then give you a range of options on what the best fixes would be and why. Sometimes we can’t nail down the exact figure as there’s a lot of different factors at play to determine the exact cost (such as materials and about). At worst, we can give you a rough figure on how much each option will cost and we won’t drastically defer from our original quote.
Another thing that has been made clear to us over the years is just to be honest. We’ve done this since the start but have seen so many other window specialists and just trade guys in general get burnt for not being honest. They burn their reputation, they burn their customer base, they burn everything. Just be honest right from the start with everyone and everything and you will always know your integrity is intact. Better yet, you’ll never, ever lose your reputation as people won’t tolerate dishonesty and that news will follow you around. What with the internet being able to spread information so easily, a bad review will follow you around and you’ll probably go out of business. Sure, everyone makes mistakes, but don’t make the mistake of being dishonest in this line of business or any line of business.
4. Be Clean
No one is going to recommend you if you mess up their house. This means you need to stay clean and tidy at all times. The easy way to do this is to buy dust sheets from amazon (can we link to dust sheets and actually start lol affiliate moneying this, articles probs not good enough might not be worth time) and lay them around the window you’re going to be working on. This keeps all the grime and dirty off the home’s carpets. Another thing you can do is remove any nearby furniture or anything that might get dirt on it.
YOU also need to be clean and tidy person, people don’t like dirty people, especially not in their home. Don’t show up to work in ugly tracksuit bottoms or paint ridden overalls. Look professional and clean and people won’t mind having you in their property. A sure fire way of not getting referrals and good reviews is to be messy yourself and to mess up someone’s house.
5. Be a Pleasure to be Around
Another way to not get referrals is if you’re a rude and nasty trader. You need to build an awareness as to what the customer will and won’t like about what you’re doing in their home and the way you’re acting. This doesn’t mean to put on a facade, but it simply means be aware of your surroundings and the way you’re acting.
What it means to be aware is to simply understand your customer and their expectations of you being a tradesman in their home. A quick example of this might be: if your customer has kids, don’t start every sentence (or any sentence) with a new swearword for 8 year old Jack to learn and share with his friends at school. Here are some practical tips you can think about as you build up your natural awareness and will know these things instinctually.
- - Does the customer want to have a laugh with you? If not, hold back on the adventurous or bold jokes.
- - Don’t blare out the radio too loudly. A better practise than just playing the radio quietly is to ask the customer if they would mind if you listened to something. They will appreciate you asking and most likely not have a problem. Also, headphones are an option so you aren’t radioing the whole time.
- - Be friendly. You’re in someone else’s house. It’s the height of rudeness to make someone feel unwelcome, especially in their own home. Be open, honest, kind, friendly, positive and your customer will totally appreciate that about you. Don’t be difficult to work with.
- - Be on time. People hate late people (even though we can all occasionally be late). Don’t say you’ll be at someones home at 9 then arrive at 12 without any communication. If you’re going to be late, have a good reason and let your customer know with as much warning as possible and options on how you’re going to rectify the problem. Don’t put people out.
- - Have manors. A lot of people will be aggravated if you don’t have basic manors. It’s basic courtesy. If the customer holds a door open for you, thank them. If they make you a drink, thank them. If you make a mistake, apologise. Just follow the basics.
- - Is the customer particular about cleanliness? If so, make sure to be really, really clean. You might do a perfect job on their windows but if you leave one of their rooms as a tip overnight this might irk them more than if the windows weren’t quite perfect.
Being value for money means that your customers just pay the final invoice thinking “that was worth every penny”. If they didn’t think this, you weren’t great value for money. If your customer didn’t think that, they aren’t going to recommend you to their friends.
Offer a good price. Obviously, if your prices are too high, you won’t get business anyway, but your price needs to be at a point that all of your expenses and time are covered, then you make enough on top that reflects the level of service you have provided.
How to command high-tier prices.
If you want to command high tier prices, you better be…
- - A seasoned, experienced professional with all the skills to deal with any issue that arises.
- - Brilliant workmanship so even a non-tradesman knows what you’ve done is high level.
- - Efficient, so you aren’t doing the job for weeks and weeks.
- - On time. You can’t be late and sloppy if you want to charge high prices.
- - Be a pleasure to be around.
- - Leave the house immaculately whenever you leave it.
- - Use the best materials that last.
Look to Give more.
Always look to give more than you received. If your customer sees you as a taker, they won’t want to give you anything either. The dream as a tradesman is to have 110% of your work to all come easily as brilliant referrals. This can’t always happen. So, you need to always be giving so that your customer gets great value for money. Then, they might even feel inclined to recommend you to people they know and come back to you in the future.
7. Be in a Great Area
It’s no good if you live in the middle of nowhere. You’re servicing people’s homes so you need to be near where the homes are. This is why we’re based in the heart of Cambridge. It gives us great access to the many sash windows in Cambridge and we’re centrally located so we can easily get to the outskirts of Cambridge and into Cambridgeshire to help people out.
It also means our vans get seen by a lot of people and we’re being seen everyday. If no one knows about you or if no one can see you, they won’t call you to employ your services. You need to be known and seen! Moving to a large city like Cambridge will do wonders for your business, just like buying a van does with your company information on it. Another factor is that customers know you’re closely and can be on hand to solve their issue. If you’re only 15 minutes away, this will make someone more likely to call you than the sash window team that are based 45 minutes out of the city.
Wrapping it up.
We like to think we can write about all this because we believe Sashcraft Restoration embodies all of the good things included in this article. We’re adaptable, experienced, clean, friendly, great value for money and based in a great location: Cambridge.
If you’re in Cambridge, near Cambridge or even in Cambridgeshire, we can be on hand today to help you with your sash window Cambridge problems