Truemans are trade suppliers of PVC windows and doors. Making the move from their initial manufacturing base to a supplier model has led to significant expansion for the Burnley based firm in the last three years – and managing director Joe Trueman has big plans for the future.
Taking the reins of the family firm can be tough, but Joe Trueman has grabbed the opportunity with both hands. His parents set up Truemans Windows, which manufactured and installed PVC doors and windows, but when his father retired and Joe took over, he decided it was time to take the company in a new direction.
“We took the decision to stop manufacturing in 2008,” says Joe.“It’d become a pattern in the industry that unless you’re manufacturing huge quantities of products it simply wasn’t viable. We were faced with the choice of ceasing manufacturing or making a significant investment in machinery in order to make the production of doors and windows more cost effective.
“Without the challenges of manufacturing I felt we’d be better able to focus on offering good customer support and service.”
With the company structure changed from a series of separate limited companies to a holding company with ownership of the firm’s existing branches, Joe was able to set his plans for Truemans in motion.
“At the time we were still quite a small company, so making the decision to move away from manufacturing wasn’t too complex,” says Joe. “It’s since we’ve moved into becoming suppliers that we’ve really experienced growth.”
Starting with just one trade counter in Burnley, Trueman’s now has a network of branches in the north of England, and Joe has ambitious plans for expansion.
“We took the decision to open a second branch in 2012. We chose Sheffield because we wanted a location which would offer us a new customer base but wasn’t so far away it would be difficult for the management team to commute there to get it up and running.
“It was a huge challenge to get our heads around having multiple sites, because we’d never done it before. You can’t be as hands on, so you just have to work a bit smarter,” says Joe.
“Sheffield took off much faster than we expected, and we opened our Doncaster branch in 2013. We’ve now got another new branch in Crewe, which is allowing us to expand into the market in North Wales, and we’re hoping to open another two outlets in 2016.
Joe’s plans for the Trueman’s empire don’t stop there: his goal is to have 10 branches across the country within the next 3 years. And he says it’s the sales and marketing services Trueman’s offers to its clients that’s the key to his success.
“We offer installers better business support than anyone else, most of that is marketing support. Our dedicated marketing departmenthelps our customers to grow their own businesses, by designing ads, van signage, brochures and leaflets for them, all branded with their details.We do all that for free for our customers, which can be quite an expense to us, but it gains commitment from our installers and helps them win orders.”
Joe is rightly proud of Trueman’s rapid growth: “Three years ago we had just 10 staff. We’ve now got 28 and we’re currently recruiting for another 5. We just want to keep growing and moving into new locations.”
Cassons have been providing business support that keeps pace with Joe’s ambitions for the last 3 years. Carlton Cooper, client relationship partner, echoes Joe's comments. "Joe is a dynamic character with great vision. It's incredible to see what he has achieved since taking over the Trueman's reins, including building a very strong management team around him."
“We’d always used a small independent accountant before,” says Joe, “But as the company grew and our plans for it developed we needed support from an accountancy firm which could help us in all the areas where we needed guidance and advice.
“Cassons do a cracking job of our end of year accounts, and the quarterly meetings we have with their client relationship partner Carlton Cooper are really productive - he’s given us some really good advice over the last few years.
“Whether we’ve got a VAT query for a product we’re selling, a payroll query, whatever it is. Cassons have experts in all of these areas. The requirements for auto enrolment, for example, looked very daunting, but John Davenport was able to remove the mystique and make it all perfectly understandable. It’s great to know we can use all those resources as we need to.
“Cassons have been crucial to our expansion over the last 2 – 3 years. They’ve helped us handle the structure of our business as it’s changed and grown. They brought everything under one umbrella, merging all of the trading companies into one, which really makes our processes and accounts much more streamlined. It was quite a complex process, but without them it would have been a nightmare!”
“Carlton is relaxed and easygoing. I really trust him and feel I can have any conversation I need to with him.”
“What’s great is that he approaches the company from a different perspective – he sees the bigger picture, and that means he’s been able to give us advice that’s really made us think about things in a different way.”
For further details about Truemans Windows please call 01282 504 704 or for more information please visit www.truemanswindows.co.uk.
Truemans are clients of Cassons business advisers LLP as well as Cassons Financial Planning Limited.