Spotlight: Manor Flooring
"Ask people what they want and offer advice. That’s what makes a small business stand out."
At OX we love small, local businesses who display a true passion for attention to detail, artistry and pride in what they do.
Each month, we shine our Spotlight on a small to medium-scale enterprise who we think embody these values and celebrate the best of Oxfordshire’s small business. For February, we’ve spoken to director of Manor Flooring, Dan Burgess.
Hi Dan, how did you get into flooring?
That was a long time ago – when I was about 13 I started working with carpet fitters – just going along to the odd job here and there. It’ll be 20 years this year since I first took an interest in the flooring business.
What made you start your own business?
I started as a general carpet fitter, working for other companies. I started selling my own products and it got to a point where I just had to open a shop, so in 2009 I opened Manor Flooring as a base. I wanted to try and do what others don’t do in terms of customer service. Our general feedback has been that our service in particular is exceptional.
How have you seen your industry change over the decades?
I think people have realised that the big chain stores seem to be losing their edge. They used to be the place to go, but nowadays I think people understand the importance of having someone dedicated to go to. You can’t get that kind of service over the internet, for example. You can buy everything over the internet but you can’t buy service.
How has Oxfordshire treated you as a business environment?
Well, we opened the shop about a year into the recession, but we’ve reliably expanded our business and staff numbers over the years, to a point now where we are steadily growing business, but one that moves at a slow enough pace that we can still put our full attention into every customer. I could easily find more work over the next year and have a company that’s twice as big, but having knowledgeable and well-trained staff is really important to me.
How has the actual structure of your business changed over the years?
Our staff have improved tenfold. Sue, who runs our showroom, joined the team about 2 years ago – she runs the showroom like clockwork and is now training up another employee. I teach my fitters and then they teach apprentices – that’s the way we’ve been building up the company and it works perfectly. Until those apprentices are ready to become fitters in their own right, then we won’t increase the size of the business. We keep everything simple with good quality work, polite and respectful.
What, in your opinion, makes a good small business?
It’s all about customer service, offering a kind, friendly environment, and not being sales-driven in a way that you might find at a car dealership. Ask people what they want and offer advice. That’s what makes a small business stand out.
Finally, what makes Manor Flooring the best?
We offer the friendliest and most professional service you can find, from initial advice to support and aftercare. We’re available to answer customers’ queries long after we’ve finished the physical job. Also, my staff make us the best because they all care about their work and they’re all there to help.
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