The Good, The Bad & The Ugly at Fountain Timber

We are pleased we were able to continue trading during the lockdown period with reduced staff. Our main aims were to have basic products available for customers and to ensure the business was able to maintain the quality of its stock and protect the future of our employees. The last few weeks since trading restrictions have been reduced have brought new challenges.

You no doubt are finding it difficult to get what you want when you want it and at a price, you want to pay - It is exactly the same for us! To keep you fully informed, we set out some of the changes and challenges we face to meet your needs.

 The Good News…

Open to all customers and back to 6 days a week trading.

 Mon - Friday 8am - 5pm and Saturday 9am - 4pm Obviously, social distancing is important to us for the safety of all staff, customers and visitors. The most noticeable things are facemask in the counters area and gels at all entrances. We have also changed our system, so if you pre-order, the goods are picked and on your arrival delivered to your vehicle for loading. This reduces the number and length of close contacts.

Whilst you are welcome to visit and purchase without an order, the system is very much the same. On arrival, we ask you visit our sales counter to check availability, make your purchase then show your receipt to one of our servers. They again will go away, pick the goods for you and deliver directly back to your vehicle. This saves you time and the need to get too close!

Product Improvement… 

Our driveway gates range are ‘Refreshed’, we’ve made them stronger and easier to install…

What has changed?

We know our customers like our traditional style gates, we know that timber is a natural product and needs care and attention, particularly when first installed. We’ve listened to customers and revisited the construction of our most popular designs to include the following: 

  • Adapted the bracing to allow us to supply stronger, wider gates with confidence (2.4m leaf)

  • Put an additional top brace on all flat top gates to reduce any twisting and warping

  • Looked at all the gate joints and installed two metal star dowels on each joint ensuring that hinges can be fixed with no need to attempt to drill out the dowel

  • Run the boards on the face through to the bottom to reduce points where water can sit

  • Use stainless steel nails throughout and more of them!

Of course, the most important factor - MADE TO MEASURE remains the same … We can supply to suit individual requirements.

These gates are now on display in pressure treated softwood and we are also able to offer all deigns in Iroko hardwood. Come and see for yourself.

The Bad…

Shortages in manufacture and supply of featheredge, fence panels, decking & concrete products plus some ironmongery items are a real headache…. We managed to get supplies throughout the lockdown, and as we recognised supply would be an issue we forward ordered, but to no avail. Now the whole industry is back up and running our suppliers simply cannot keep up. Our weekly deliveries have been spread to 3, 4, 5 or even 6 weeks in some instances. No doubt you are experiencing this wherever you go. We’re grateful that at least we can cut timber in our mill and when the panels or featheredge arrive we can put complete orders together. We have looked for additional suppliers, but no-one wants a new customer now, which in all honesty is a credit to some manufacturers who want to look after the existing customers.

What are we doing about it?

Although there are slight signs of improvement on the horizon, all we can do is be fair to all customers and supply the goods to the earliest order first. When supplies are received, we pick the oldest orders and advise as soon as your order is ready for collection or delivery.

We ask that if you have an order ready, please take it promptly for two reasons. Firstly, it is very difficult telling customers for example we haven’t got any panels when they can see your product in the yard! Secondly, with the changeable weather, any order left for more than a week or two in the sun can virtually become unusable due to twisting and splitting!

Of course, we are chasing, chasing and chasing our deliveries every day.

The Ugly…

Sadly, with shortages – demand increases, and profiteering begins. We continue to shield our customers not only from Covid19 but also from massive price hikes. For example, prices for feather edge boards to us have increased by 25% since the end of March. We are not increasing our prices by anywhere near 25%. The old favourites 1.65 and 1.8m are certainly being priced as tight as possible. Birkdale Ironmongery increased all prices to us by 9% in April. We have been forced to increase our prices this month.

We’ve held our prices stable until now but cannot absorb these prices increases any further. We will honour any quote for 30 days, but all new quotes and orders will be at new prices. We are trying to keep all our prices as sharp as we can by challenging suppliers and doing everything we can to hold back the tide. With this level of change, we cannot keep our prices on the web up to date. So we ask all customers to ask for a current price and a 30-day solid quote before ordering.

Finally – We are here to serve you

We now welcome all customers to site, 6 days a week - Please respect social distancing and facemask rules for your own safety and those around you. Stay - safe

 Our objective is to meet customer needs, be fair in our pricing and retain all our existing customers. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to call us on 01934 862710

Posted on February 19th 2021

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