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2022 is the first year for Homeserve Furniture Repairs to part of the Express & Star Business Awards as sponsors. After winning both the Small to Medium Sized Business of the Year in 2019 for Best Use of Technology, they are keen to be involved for a second year. They have been established since 2004, starting with only 1 client and now have over 400 clients, including all of the UK’s largest furniture retailers.
James Lane started his upholstery career in a local Dudley factory and in 2004 set up Homeserve Furniture Repairs.
It was one man and a van visiting 20 customers per week to conduct furniture repairs and liability inspections within customers’ homes for retailers and manufacturers.
James quickly identified a national demand for this service from the retailers and manufacturers and that is when the success story began for Homeserve Furniture Repairs. Adding Leanne and Lyndsey Clowes for operational support and Phil Williams and Tony Howell out on the road James started to expand the business. All four members of the team are still with Homeserve today.
Within four years James had expanded to 43 staff and £2 million in turnover, but he had bigger goals driving the business forward.
The most challenging time during Homeserve Furniture Repairs journey came after the financial crash of 2008-2009 when some of the large retailers and manufacturers went into administration.
This was a big blow for the work coming in to support the amount of staff in the Homeserve Furniture Repairs family, but as James does lead from the front he managed to generate enough new business to keep the majority of existing staff on board and by 2010 the turnover was on the rise again and he expanded the business into the furniture warranty market.
As the use of the internet was starting to increase James then focused on the Homeserve Furniture Repairs operating system and with Dav Pattar, head of IT (now the IT director) gave clients an innovative, simple, online portal that can manage all their customers and view the live and current position of each job they add. Keeping customers updated was a key focus area.
After 10 years on the road and a wealth of front-line experience John Bowater (now the managing director) joined the operational team to improve systems and processes.
As well as the retailers and manufacturers the public demand for furniture restorations was increasing through the internet and word of mouth so James expanded the management team further with Mark Hooper, private customer manager, and Ian Turner, workshop/distribution manager.
By 2015 staff levels were up to over 100 and he continued to expand the team. Over the last five years it has been an onwards and upwards journey. Even through the challenges James has continued to drive the company forward by getting great people in the right places within the business.
James is still actively recruiting nationally for furniture technicians in all areas and in preparation for the future is working with a trail blazer group to establish apprenticeships to achieve a recognised qualification as a furniture technician.
In 2021 the opportunity came to purchase the perfect head office building and James took it. Now employing more than 250 people into the Homeserve Furniture Repairs family with over 120 local people, James wants to create an exciting, fun, working environment for the team to enjoy.
The new head office will have ‘chill out areas’, retro gaming rooms and grass inside so it feels like outside. It will also have a fully equipped training centre.
“My staff mean everything to me, they are the Homeserve Furniture repairs family, and they have all worked so hard through a really challenging period over the last couple of years so I would like to take this opportunity to say a massive thank you to the entire Homeserve Furniture Repairs family and our clients,” said James.