As the opening page of our website states, we are an autonomous, family run business that started serving the people of west Cornwall in 1969. Narrowing down our expertise to just a few words you’ll find that we design and install bespoke conservatories, modern double-glazed windows and doors within Cornwall. But that is far from the whole picture.
Built on reputation
Family run companies are good not only for the families involved, but also for the local economy and community. However, many find it hard to survive. Around a third of the 100,000 family businesses that are passed to the next generation each year subsequently fail. So, it is with a sense of some achievement that after 55 years, through our reputation for products and services of the highest quality aligned with competitive pricing, we have reached this milestone. We must be doing something right!
Some key factors
Looking back over the years there are several identifiable factors that have played a key role in helping us achieve the success that we have. As a family concern we have stability and loyalty built in, something that is unconsciously displayed to our customers and that percolates down through our workforce.
We also have a greater sense of commitment and accountability at the heart of our operation; more so than non-family firms, as it is not just the needs of the business at stake, but the needs of the family and our locally gathered employees too. This desire for both the family and business to stay strong fosters additional benefits, including a greater understanding of the sector and better customer relationships.
Working in a family run firm requires a lot of flexibility. While non-family businesses tend to have very clearly delineated responsibilities for every role, family members will sometimes be required to wear several different hats, taking on tasks outside of their formal remit where needed. This means things get done.
There is a strong sense of commitment at Collingtons too. Building a lasting family enterprise means we’ve put in the extra hours and effort needed to make it a success, none more so than into our commitment to staff retention and happiness.
Communicating these elements
The ethos of a family run business has the habit of rubbing off on others. Especially employees. At Collingtons, we believe they are at the heart of the company, the smooth-running engine that drives us forward. Consequently, their maintenance is of paramount importance, as it is the foundation of a productive and happy environment.
When we look to employ a new member of the team we like to offer them a job for life (if they want it!). Our surveyor for example – Glyn – has been with the company for over 23 years; Lloyd, our Head of Sales and Dan, one of our service engineers, have been here for 10 years. Mark, another Service Engineer, has been with the company for over 8 years. We think that says something about us.
All of our team are customer facing and as such we recognise that they are ambassadors of the company during the working week and beyond. Therefore, we want them to be proud of being part of Collingtons. We aim to create a positive work culture, offering support and opportunities for everyone, whether that’s instilling knowledge of new products or honing additional skills, through to team days out such as go-karting or afternoons at a local football or rugby match.
As a family business we understand how important it is for the team to have a work-life balance. Each morning the team meet for a coffee or tea to discuss previous jobs, current projects and to have a general catch up. It’s an open forum that encourages everyone to discuss any upcoming events or things they may need support with. We also make it easy for all of our team who have families to attend their children’s sports days or Christmas shows with impunity. This helps maintain the strong family feeling and environment that there is within the company.
This year we’ve had a few team days. One of these was at Helston Rugby Club to watch a game and another was a track day at a go-karting track, which turned out to be very popular. These team days allow everyone to socialise in a non-work environment with an edge of friendly competitiveness thrown in (especially during the go-karting sessions!). We even gave a trophy for the winner of the fastest lap. For those of you who work for companies that have similar events then you’ll know how much fun they can be, leaving you with shared anecdotes that can be relied upon to lift team spirits when needed.
And for 2024?
For this year, we are looking to have another go-karting session (as this seemed to be very popular with everyone), potentially go on a fishing trip and are even looking at the possibility of taking the team across the border to Plymouth Argyle to watch a game. Crossing the Tamar holds no fear for us!
How does all this benefit our customers?
We think what happens within Collingtons eventually finds its way out into the wider world. But don’t just take it from us; here’s what one of our customers came back with – "Best window company, best service engineers and best fitters."
Our team are always happy to help; get in touch with us to find out more.