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Posted by admin at 22 August, 2005, 4:08 pm
Life in a small business certainly has its bonuses but it can also be lonely and disheartening. Glenn Mellor has found membership of the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) not only boosted his plumbing and building business but he has also benefited from recommendations he receives through membership of the FMB.
Glenn Mellor's father established E G Mellor & Sons in 1952 in Oldham and the company has been a member of the FMB since the 1960s. Although Glenn and his brother, Nigel, are both CORGI registered plumbers they also undertake extensions and other building work and they have completed a number of projects for Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council where they are called upon to alter existing houses to make them suitable for homeowners with disabilities.
Glenn is particularly pleased with the business advisory aspects of the FMB:
"The FMB is very effective and it is well worth using the facilities offered. Everyone at the end of the telephone is friendly and helpful and above all easy to deal with.
"We have used the research and information service to enquire about any number of issues from health and safety and wages to general employment queries. Recently the FMB ran a series of business skills seminars in the Manchester area which covered marketing, accounting and quality control, among other topics. It can really help to meet people from similar businesses with the same sort of problems to sort out. These were free to members."
When Ken Graham from Cottingham in Yorkshire started his domestic plumbing and heating business 38 years ago he decided to join the FMB as a way of keeping in touch with builders and ensuring he received up to date information on new products. He now represents the FMB on the CORGI council.
"I worked for a builder and when I decided to go it alone his business became a reliable source of income for me, as he passed on the majority of his plumbing jobs to me."
Setting up your own business is never an easy task, which was another reason for Ken to get in touch with the FMB.
"The FMB help small companies like mine with advice on business, legal and taxation matters."
There is a vetting procedure whereby potential members are checked out and references taken from recent clients. After this checking, local members, all experienced building companies, consider the application and recommend membership - or not.
Since the advent of the internet and the increasing use of websites to gain information some builders have set up their own websites, including EG Mellor. Glenn Mellor explains:
"The advantage of our own website is that we have a link with the FMB's own site. We get referrals through this and through the FMB's Find A Builder service. Very little initial investment is required and after the set up costs it is an effective form of free advertisement."
Ian Davis, director general of the FMB said:
"The FMB was established in 1941 and has since grown to be the largest trade association in the construction industry. Our members have a say in the way the association is governed and feed back to us what they and their customers want. We have an expanding range of services to meet the needs of our members' businesses. As well as being the largest association in the industry we are also the broadest and we support building firms of all sizes and specialisms including plumbing and heating companies."
First Published by Professional Builder Magazine