CityX took five minutes to speak to Jack McGovern, Founder and Managing Director of Lincoln-based Glow Heating Services Ltd to find out about his business and its plans for the future.
Tell us about the business, what is it you do?
We offer boiler and homecare cover called GlowPlus along with installation, service and repair of domestic boilers to the homeowners of Lincolnshire.
Tell us a bit about how your business has been affected by the pandemic this year?
Getting to grips with the changes of practice initially took some getting used to. Maintaining a social distance and wearing masks in homes felt alien at first like it did for us all going into shops. However this has become a normal business as usual habit and it now has become second nature. The home services industry has been a sector which has faired relatively well over the pandemic thus far. The limitations that the pandemic has put on peoples ability to travel has meant there has been a lot of homeowners wanting to spend money on home improvements so we found from a boiler installation perspective our demand has increased. Time will tell as the governments financial support to the economy reduces in the next 6-12 months the longer term impacts on how this will effect consumer behaviour.
Are you doing anything to diversify your business in response to the pandemic?
We are always looking to diversify and brainstorm what other services would add value and fold into our existing offerings. We are actively looking at the commercial and renewable sectors at present as I feel they both represent great opportunities but this isn’t going to be done until the business is in the best position possible.
Have you learnt any lessons from the first national lockdown which you will be implementing into this one?
Lessons to be taken from this year have to be that as a business owner you need to be decisive and brave. I’ve made my fair share of mistakes but I haven’t used the pandemic as a reason to retreat. We’ve grown from 1 member of staff (myself) supported by 4 freelancers to 7 employed members of staff and 2 freelancers. It’s felt scary at times but it’s rewarding to know that things you perceive as a risk can pay off. I feel very fortunate to have the team I have who have support me in an epic manner.
Can you offer advice to businesses struggling during this time, whether they are in the same industry as yours or not?
I would encourage any business owner to invest in others when you know your people are a good fit. I would encourage business owners to be decisive, if their business has directly been affected (I’ve seen lots of this locally which is brilliant) and finally I would encourage business owners to enjoy it. We all experience the ups and the downs in business and this year isn’t going to be one anyone ever forgets. Getting through this pandemic could be seen as a great experience dependent on your perspective. What a great story to tell in the longer term….. on how you can stay resilient when chips are down and everything’s against you.
What are your future plans for the business?
We are looking to grow our boiler and homecare cover customer numbers up to around 1000 locally to Lincolnshire in the next 2-3 years. That will mean we will be looking to employ further locally from an administrative perspective along with growing our engineering team by a further 2 people. we are also looking to move into a new commercial unit which is gathering pace pretty quickly and within 12-24 months we are looking to open our first franchise in a neighbouring area to Lincolnshire. We are also looking at the renewable and commercial sector as I mentioned earlier so there are some exciting times ahead.
What do you think the future holds for your industry?
The heating industry sooner rather than later needs to be going green. We are still installing gas boilers. Yes they are great products and they are affordable but I worry about the alternatives or should I say the lack of current alternatives. There is a lot of debate in the industry on the best way forward to phase natural gas out whether that’s hydrogen or heat pumps for example but at present there isn’t enough being done in my opinion to prompt change at any great speed. At the minute we have bigger things to worry about but this is my main reservation in the longer term about the industry we are involved in. Whatever the future holds though I’d like to think we as a business will be agile enough to flex and respond to the change in the market.
Do you support the need for further national lockdowns? Did you think the localised tiers were sufficient or do you think it’s just something we need to learn to live with?
In truth I don’t support a national lockdown. I visit numerous customers day in day out and the general concensus from people day to day is that people are frustrated and confused. For all the positives in slowing down the curve there are equally huge amounts of negatives such as the impacts to the economy, peoples well-being or general health. That being said I try not to get too involved in subjects I don’t fully understand myself and I do also appreciate there isn’t a perfect answer to the situation we find ourselves in. In the mean time we will carry on as usual maintaining social distance, wearing protective equipment and serving our customers safely as possible.
Click Here to find out more about Glow Heating Services Ltd.