Teamwork Triumphs! – Live Magazines

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As one of the Ribble Valley’s prominent success stories, Whalley Home Improvements is going from strength to strength.

Photography: Andy Tighe

With their team of around 20 skilled craftsmen, Whalley Home Improvement founders Emma Hodgkinson and Graham Fielden have completed many prestigious projects throughout the region since they began almost two years ago.

Working alongside leading manufacturers, including Ultraframe’s globally renowned roof system, as well as being a trusted installer for Rockdoor, Whalley Home Improvements offers the best in window and door fitting as well as building construction, with a full project management service.

Being fully CORGI Fenestration registered also means that Whalley Home Improvements has a yearly inspection giving them a higher-level of accreditation.

Going into 2022 sees the business celebrate its second year, so it’s time to meet some key members of the team and see exactly what they do:

EMMA HODGKINSON: Joint founder Emma has many years’ experience in the industry, having worked for world-leading manufacturer Ultraframe in Clitheroe: “We have been hugely successful since we launched so it’s nice to celebrate and put names to faces. These guys always go above and beyond for our clients.

“Everyone who works at Whalley Home Improvements has been in the industry a long time and each and every one of them brings something special to the business – their experience is invaluable.”

Since founding Whalley Home Improvements Emma has learned every aspect of the business and gets involved in each project. All customer data and requirements is captured on the company’s new CRM system, which means that all the information is in one place. Once a survey has been done, it is established what is required in terms of product. The order is then placed with one of Whalley Home Improvement leading suppliers.

From initial consultations to delivering a warranty pack and a ‘thank-you’ to customers once the project is complete, Emma is at the forefront and happily pitches in with the rest of the team when lorries need to be unloaded and building rubble needs to be disposed of: “We all pull together. Working as a team positively impacts on the success of the business. Much of our work comes from recommendations – we talk to our customers and everyone says they would recommend us, which is great!”

MARTIN BENTLEY: Working alongside Emma in sales, Martin deals predominantly with website and phone enquiries, processing them as leads and going to discuss requirements with the customer: “We have a lot of freedom and flexibility with our products as we are not tied to any one manufacturer, so we can procure the very best quality. We are not restricted so this ensures every customer gets exactly what they want at the best possible price.”

BEV LEA: Installation manager Bev started working with Whalley Home Improvements just a few months after the company launched in June 2020. It is her job to co-ordinate each project – from commissioning surveys to keeping clients constantly informed and up to date.

If there are any unexpected problems on a project, Bev works alongside the rest of the team to resolve any issues: “We all have to be very agile and there is always a solution to a problem.”

Bev explains: “On any given project we may need electricians, joiners, plasterers, scaffolders, builders and fitters. It is essential that all these are co-ordinated from start to finish to ensure the project operates smoothly and the client is 100 per cent happy.

“It’s all about good customer service and keeping everyone informed. My job is to talk to people and liaise with all the craftsmen making sure everything is going to plan – our goal is to get a perfect end result.”

JULIAN EDMUNDSON: Having been with Whalley Home Improvements since its inception, fitter Julian is a skilled carpenter with 40 years’ experience: “There’s no typical day at Whalley Home Improvements as the work is so varied and each project is different. I may be fitting bi-fold doors one day and installing steel lintels the next. We work as one big team.”

ANDY MITCHELL: Andy is a builder by trade. Like Emma, Andy previously worked for Ultraframe. A major part of his work for Whalley Home Improvements involves building and plastering: “We may be bricking windows up or doing ‘knockouts’ to make way for bi-fold doors so we have to be adaptable – at the end of the day we are doing home improvements and every property is different.”

MICHAEL COLLINS: Experience fitter Mike, who works alongside fitter Tom Dempsey, installs windows, doors and conservatories: “When Emma asked me to come and work for Whalley Home Improvements, I didn’t take much persuading! I love this area and really enjoy working in the Ribble Valley. It’s good to be part of the team – it’s a really nice environment.”

CATHERINE MASSEY: Working mainly in the office, Catherine is Emma’s mum: “I started my career 50 years ago as a ‘Girl Friday’ in an office doing just about everything – and here I am doing the same!” Cathy manages the accounts and wages but is not averse to unloading wagons, doing the school run or walking the dog! “No two days are the same,” she enthuses.

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