I last wrote about Everest double glazing in June 07, and I was just a tad disparaging. The piece got some interesting feedback including one comment from someone who sounded suspiciously like an Everest salesman.
Last night in the gym I found an interesting article in Monday’s Telegraph, profiling Simon Jarman who is the MD of Everest. OK, I know I shouldn’t have been reading papers in the gym, I should have been listening to something bracing on my iPod, but age sometimes withers the urge for self-improvement and it’s just about then that one finds oneself reaching out for the Telegraph.
Just why would one find such a piece interesting? Well, sometime soon we have to clean up the mess that is our existing housing stock and Everest is a firm that is well versed in the black arts of home improvement. Could they become a force for the good, instead of covering the streetscapes of Britain with ugly plastic windows? Simon Jarman doesn’t exactly suggest they will but he is certainly moving the business away from its roots. Here are some of the points I picked out.
• Average age of customer is 55. 80% don’t have a mortgage. They are rich. (Cynics would say they have to be to be able to afford the prices.)
• There are over 3,000 double glazing companies in the UK. Anglian is No 1. Everest is No2, and yet Everest only has a 2.5% market share.
• The backbone of the Everest business is its 1,000 strong sales force, all of whom work as franchisees. The route to market is up to the individual, but they don’t do cold calling over the phone.
• Installation is subbed out. The only things which Everest do is a) make the stuff (at two plants in Kent and Wales) and operate an after-sales team (to sort out the cock-ups?).
• Everest started in 1965. In 1999, Brian Kennedy brought the business off Caradon. Since then he has sold stakes to both management and private equity. Last year sales were £165m, and profit £15m.
• Everest have moved into selling solar panels and are also considering getting into call-out services like plumbing and locksmithery (is there such a word?). And maybe home insurance products like boiler breakdown. Just like the AA.
• Ted Moult shot himself after appearing in an Everest TV advert.