We meet the MD of a small but successful uPVC and aluminium supplier based on Merseyside to hear about the power of people, thriving in a pandemic and, of course, Dakea roof windows…
Mike Wait, 36, has only been Managing Director at Trade Frame Direct Limited since 2019 when he established the Birkenhead-based company with two business partners. Maybe, in retrospect, not such a great time to launch a business, you may think. But today the company is thriving.
Mike has been working in the manufacture and construction industry since he left school as a teenager so knew it well. Trade Frame Direct specialise in selling high quality uPVC and aluminium systems within the Merseyside and Cheshire area. "We specialise in bespoke and made-to-order products," says Mike, "I know this area well and was confident there was a demand for high-quality products."
What was Mike's company philosophy? "We supply quality products on time and at the right price. We build customer relationships by getting involved in their projects is also key to the growth of our business."
The company is a small supplier in industry terms and very much the middle man but business is booming with relationships an essential part of the company's success. "People buy off people, we all know that and for us it's key. I always go out my way to meet our homebuilders or installers and talk to them about their vision for their property. I also work hard on promotions and marketing, to give our customers that bit more and to ensure we're not just making a sale but starting a relationship."
And that's where Dakea came in.
"I knew Dakea roof windows from my previous job,' says Mike. "They're easy to fit, problem-free and Jan and the staff are always willing to help." Dakea even supplied a range of roof windows for Mike's showroom so customers could handle them and see how well they work. "They also give us a good price, not to mention that every product has a 20-year guarantee which backs up the quality of the product. We're always talking to Dakea to see what we can together do for our customers."
When the first lockdown hit in March 2020 Trade Frame Direct had only been open a year. "We were very apprehensive about our future and closed initially. However, after five weeks our supply chains opened up, including Dakea products being delivered, and we took the decision to open again, knowing we could fulfil customers' requests while maintaining social distancing and keeping everyone we work with safe, happy and healthy."
Since then, it's been a busy year. "No-one's going on holiday and most of us have has been at home looking at our houses, noticing what's wrong with them. Extensions and refurbishments are our bread and butter with homeowners wanting two or three roof windows or skylights and bi-fold doors too. So it's been a great year for us work-wise, despite the pandemic."
Trade Frame Direct's best-selling Dakea product is the Better Safe M4A, the classic centre-pivot roof window which Mike says always sits between the roof rafters beautifully.
What else do his customers like about Dakea? "The Pro.app is really easy to use and the prizes you get are always appreciated by our installers. One I spoke to last week had claimed some Amazon vouchers. Times are tough out there, so a little something for nothing to say thanks is always appreciated, isn't it?"