Great Bromley based company Pattern Perfect are a local painting, decorating and property maintenance business. We caught up with Catherine to find out a bit more.
Let’s start with a brief introduction – tell us about your business, when it was established, by whom, where you are based, and the products or services you provide.
Pattern Perfect Painting, decorating and property maintenance began in Manningtree in June 2010 by Graham and Catherine, after Graham was made redundant. We went the whole hog and moved house in the July and had our youngest son Oscar in early August of the same year. Graham qualified in painting and decorating aged 16 after completing an apprenticeship in London and went on to get a plastering qualification in 2012. We are now based in Great Bromley and covering the whole of the Tendring, Colchester, Ipswich and surrounding areas.
Who are your target customers, both geographically and demographically?
Our customers are people that appreciate the family run approach, but really its anyone that needs the services provided by the company. We cover all aspects of domestic, commercial and contracted interior and exterior painting, wallpapering, specialist finishes such as rag rolling, marbling, paint and graining, window glazing, gutter cleaning, gutter clearing and gutter replacements. My biggest and proudest achievement of my career was painting at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium, where I got to work in the diamond club, Arsène Wenger’s office and the players changing rooms – I even met some of the Arsenal legends in the lift and got an autograph!
Do you tend to rely on repeat business or does the market in which you operate require a constant need to attract new customers? If the latter, how do you currently attract new customers?
Most of our work is through word of mouth, but we are always keen to attract new customers. Our customers make the business what it is and we are thankful for each and every one. A lot of our customers compliment our website www.patternperfect.co.uk as it provides information they are looking for before they phone or email us.
It’s impossible to avoid the question because the lockdown has impacted on everyone, but how has the pandemic impacted on your business and what did you do/how did you adapt to survive?
The first lockdown was throughout the summer, which is when most of our outdoor work is booked in. Apart from PPE, facemasks and additional risk assessment considerations the business did not change much. This last lockdown has been hard for trade workers because of needing to go in to people’s homes to carry out work. Many people have been shielding or self-isolating and this has meant a lot of improvising or last minute changes to our schedules. Graham also lost his stepdad to COVID-19 and his mum was hospitalised with it so he understands people wanting to safeguard themselves and their loved ones. Going forward, we are taking bookings for the rest of the year from 1st March and welcome all enquiries thankfully. The hardest thing, apart from the obvious, during the pandemic has been home schooling maths!
If business was slow throughout lockdown, has it started to pick up again? What are you doing to boost the business as we return to ‘normal’?
We are reacting to all enquiries and taking bookings. We are definitely seeing an increase in both which is really positive. When you have worked hard for over 10 years to build up your business it is heartbreaking to think of an uncertain future. We are lucky that local people are so loyal and supportive. We wouldn’t be here without them!
Will any of the recently announced government initiatives have a positive impact on your business going forward?
We took on a two year apprentice in 2015 and would certainly like to be in the position to do this again, which may be the case with the new incentives. It’s very rewarding to give a local young person the opportunity to learn and qualify in a trade. Graham really enjoyed supporting and teaching, and it’s very rewarding.
What, in your opinion, gives you an edge over your competitors? Why should a customer choose you?
I care. I genuinely do. Nothing matters more to me than a satisfied customer and I do my best to make their experience an unbeatable one. I also really enjoy what I do. The feedback customers give is that I take time to understand what they are asking for and explain the options available to them. I’m also very popular with their four-legged friends!
Our son has autism and I have found so many customers that are grateful for my understanding and flexibility to accommodate disabilities. Furthermore, I offer discounts to our amazing NHS workers as well as local and pensioner discounts. I have the facility to take card payment and bank transfer too which apparently is quite rare for a tradesman!
What aspects (if any) of the business do you need to develop or improve in order to be more competitive? For example, do you need to raise your profile, appeal to new markets, update your branding, etc?
I would like to do an accredited spray painting course to offer this as an alternative option to my customers.
As we emerge from lockdown, what measures have you put in place to ensure the safety of your staff and your customers?
I complete a risk assessment for every job. I have PPE and I sanitise before I go in and when I come out of every mob. Obviously I have face masks and gloves too, but I am just adhering to government guidelines and respecting customer’s individual circumstances.
How many staff do you employ and what are your key criteria for recruitment?
Right now it’s just me. Going forward I look for honest, loyal and hardworking. Being an Arsenal fan would also be a definite ticked box too!
Do you gather customer testimonials, and do you have any you can share with us?
Our customers leave reviews mainly on Facebook and on yell.com. Here are a few examples:
Recommend Pattern Perfect: Graham has recently emulsioned the whole of our cottage and also plastered a ceiling. The standard of workmanship is second to none, and we are now booked in to have all our exterior paintwork done too. A pleasure to deal with from start to finish, Graham carries out his work on time and to a very high standard and remains professional and courteous throughout. And the dog loves him! – Anon
Perfection from Pattern Perfect: Just had our lounge and hallway decorated by way of paint, wallpaper etc. and feel we have found a gem in Graham. Arrived when he said he would, he got straight on with the job and was very tidy with little mess. Nothing was too much trouble. We will be calling him again for future work and will recommend. Very satisfied. – Mr & Mrs Reeve, from Brantham
A1 Service!: Absolutely brilliant company, I have no doubt that I will use their services again. – Andrew
What media do you currently use to engage new customers, e.g. print, digital, social?
We advertise in local magazines and publications. It’s good to be able to advertise the business whilst supporting the community. We also use Facebook.
Finally, what gives your confident for the future of the business?
Everyone has been stuck at home looking at the same four walls. This means they are looking to make their homes as nice as possible and/or want a refresh or change of look.
Thank you again to Catherine from Pattern Perfect Limited for responding to our questions.
For more information visit www.patternperfect.co.uk or call 01206 251173.