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office@baptistryuk.com

Christmas 2017

Christmas 2017

The last week for despatches of pools will be the week beginning the 11th December and it would be wise to ensure that any pool wanted for Christmas is despatched before the Tuesday because couriers are extra busy at this time of year. The last despatches will be on Monday 18th but we cannot guarantee their arrival before Christmas.

The offices will close Tuesday 19th Dec and will re-open on Wednesday 3rd Jan to deal with return collections and getting baptistries back to base. No hires will be sent out that week as there won’t be enough week left! Back to normal on 8th January.

Price Rises and How to Avoid Them!

I have been writing an email to a customer in the Netherlands and had to delay sending it for over a week to wait for a an important piece of information I needed. In that time, we’d gone from 89p to the Euro to 92p.

We all know that it wasn’t long ago that it was 84p.  I was amazed it took some of our suppliers so long but we know that some items and supplies will increase by 4% on 1st October.  We expect more in the New Year and /or April

We’re thinking of ways round this.

For example, all current stock will be sold at pre-increase prices.  Hires for 2018 can be at current 2017 prices if booked now.  It would be very wise to book for Easter 2018 very soon in any case as pools are limited (see our last blog).  

 

Easter 2018 – Book pools soon

Easter will fall on 1st April next year.  Leaving aside the obvious jokes, we want to warn customers that the number of pools available for hire will, effectively, be smaller this year.

Normally, if someone hired a baptistry one week, you’d be able to hire it the week or fortnight after.  This doesn’t apply in the Easter season because there are no deliveries on Good Friday and Easter Monday.  Added to this, courier companies are extra busy at this time as well.  A baptistry only has to arrive back a day late or not in a good state, and the whole schedule gets even more frantic.  For us, this has become a logistical nightmare.

This year, if someone books a pool for Palm Sunday, it  won’t be available for Easter. More significantly, if a pool is booked for Easter, it will not be available for Palm or Low Sunday.   Do please plan and book ahead.  We have already had bookings for 2018.

The run up to Easter is also a busy time for heater purchases, particularly as people get old heaters out to test for Easter and then find they don’t work. Please don’t leave it until the last minute.  heaters

Safety Testing Pool Heaters

Safety testing heatersIt is worth re-running this old post.

Before coming to you, each heater has journey of testing to come through.

The electronics are made for us in the UK by Cyclops / DJ Assembly in York. The heating coils are made at Backers in Rotherham. They are tested and certified by the manufacturer before coming to us.

Other components are sourced from reputable UK companies such as Honeywell and RS Components.  All have their British Standard mark.

When bringing together the parts, we test each main component individually. Then the assembled unit is further tested.  There are a suite of tests we perform to be able to give them their CE marking.

And finally, we run the heater in water for 8 hours to simulate its use and the check it one last time.

And just to make sure, there is a 12 month warranty period for additional peace of mind.

Also, the ‘4.8kW heater’ and the ‘2.4kW with Control heater’ are both serviceable and will give you a long life.

The rest is over to the customer.  Think of the instructions as part of the product.  The instructions must be read and no one who as not read them should use the heaters.  If you ever lose your instructions, get in touch and we’ll send you some new ones.

Whilst these are relatively low temperature heaters appliances, they still have a hot metal element and should be treated with respect.

We have been making heaters for nearly 30 years, and tested 1000s of them. We know how they work and what breaks them.  Keep to the following and your heater will give you long service.

  • No heater should ever be switched on outside water.
  • No heater should be removed from the water before being switched off, unplugged and allowed to cool
  • Ever!
  • And if any part of the heater has been damaged, do not use it: contact us to arrange repair.

 

 

 

 

 

Baptistry Delivery and Collection

Our baptistries maybe portable but it is still an event when they arrive – at least 3 boxes all of some size.  Out heaters are more diminutive, being in small plastic crates.  The big issue for everyone is the timing of deliveries and pickups.  We have all had the experience of waiting in all day for a delivery that may take place between 8am and 10pm and an unhappy and disgruntled driver turning up at our door.

We do try to minimise poor experiences for all concerned (including the drivers, some of whom have a challenging job).  However, we need to work in partnership with everyone to make things work smoothly.  Sometimes, despite everyone’s best efforts, something may derail things, such as a road accident or weather, or a technical fault in the system or the truck and leave us all without the service we had worked for!

So here are some top tips to help everything go smoothly.

  1. We tell all our customers that the venue has to be staffed between 9-5 for the collection, we also say this to all our couriers.  In reality, most deliveries happen between 10.30 and 3pm, but there are always the outliers because you are close to the depot (first thing) or at the end of a busy route (last thing).  So when you are booking the baptistry hire be aware of this in terms of planning the delivery:
  2. Is your venue staffed?  What are the office hours ?   9am-3pm is about the minimum in reality for a daytime delivery.  Morning deliveries cost extra and can cost extra to you depending on the baptistry, so we need to book this on our schedule.  Morning deliveries can be booked in advance for a slightly
  3.  higher fee.  If we have to re-book a collection because the venue was not staffed, we will be surcharged by the carrier and this will come out of the bond.
  4. Can it be delivered to your home?  Baptistry in a little carIf your venue is not staffed what then?  You can have people waiting in for the delivery in the Church/building.  However this can be a very long day and if something goes wrong, it could be two very long days.  We prefer it if people are waiting for a delivery or collection somewhere convenient for them.  For example, in their home, workplace or in a local business who is happy to hold it until the driver arrives.  The Nonagon and Croydon baptistries when packed baptistries will fit easily into a large car, even into our Fiesta!  It may be more convenient to sit at home and then drive the baptistry to and form the church.  This is worth giving thought to and we are always happy to discuss and advise.
  5. Timed deliveries and notifications.  As regular customers know, Fedex did not provide any notification for deliveries.  Parcelforce does so via email and text.  However, we know from customers and Parcelforce that the system needs upgrading to be more effective in regard to texts and giving a delivery window.  Parcelforce have told us that this is in process but, as with all technical upgrades, it is running behind schedule.  For the time being, our advice is to assume the delivery will be in unspecified office hours and arrange accordingly. The depot or ourselves can be contacted if there are issues or concerns regarding delivery or collection.

Why not a carrier who can provide 2 hour delivery windows?  Our Baptistries are specialist  and often bulky items and so not every carrier is happy to take our parcels, and others charge a high price for doing so.  Parcelforce charge a good price for delivery and will take even our biggest baptistries without complaint. We are also finding them better able to reach our extremely rural customers via their network.  As for 2 hour window notifications, this is something they are working towards.  Let us hope and pray the obstacles they are finding to doing so are overcome.

Movable Baptistry on Wheels – Use the Space!

movable baptistry on wheelsThis is is a big baptistry at 4m long and over 1.5m wide and a maximum depth of 1.2m…and steps at both ends.  We’ve just made this for a church in Preston.

Usually, baptistries are sunken into the ground, a few go above ground.  But there is a trend in the States to have them above ground and on castors so that they are mobile and can be moved about the church.  In modern open-space church buildings, a mobile baptistry makes use of the flexible space.  Will this trend catch on?

Most ‘new expression’ churches want space, open, flexible space that fits with their wide range of outreach and worship.  A baptistry that can be wheeled to any part of the auditorium fits with this style.

BTW, we do put brakes on too!

Delivery and Couriers – the tale goes on.

This is a short post just to keep things up to date.  Whilst a pallet service will be an option, it looks as if we can still offer a ‘parcel’ service at a reasonable rate.  It has been a bit frenetic as we’ve pushed to get the new carrier in place for next week

To clarify, this crisis with FedEx has only affected the pool hire side, heaters (being much smaller) go with DHL and they’re fine.

Delivery and Couriers

Current Courier

After using FedEx for over 6 years we have had major problems with them over Easter.  Hopefully, customers will not have noticed.  However, FedEx implemented a new online booking procedure and, in short, it was chaotic and their pricing and billing system has become erratic and unreliable.  What is clear is that it has been a cover a for a price hike.

Looking At Pallet Services

To send a Nonagon pool now would cost £140 there and back whereas it used to cost £100.  To send the old Galilee pool, we were recently charged over £300 instead of £120!  We are urgently looking at other carriers and it is likely that we will have to use a pallet service as the default carrier.  This has three immediate benefits: it is cheaper; the delivery is within a much narrower time-window; the baptistry is easier to repack for the return to us.  The down-side is that a customer must be able to receive a pool on a pallet.  The carrier will have a tail-lift on the lorry and a pallet truck and will deliver to the foyer on the level.  For customers who can receive and return on a pallet, we are looking at other carriers who can cope with such large consignments.

Two (or Three) other pieces of better news.

As all this may wish you could buy the pool, we are putting together a way for customers to buy in instalments over more than the 3 months currently offered.

The lease scheme is better value than hiring if you use the pool more than 3 times per year, and whilst it is a 5 year lease, there is an opt-out at 3 years.

BUK GalileeThe Galilee baptistry, which was very popular because it was quick to set up and had a double-liner system has become too expensive to send with Flatpack Galilee baptistryFedEx because the curved panels result in big, bulky boxes.  Hitherto, FedEx were the only ‘parcel’ carrier who would deal with boxes of this size, now they seem to be charging silly prices.  To help matters, we have redesigned the pool to give the new Flatpack Galilee.  At the same time, we’ve made changes to the dimensions – the new flatpack Galilee is 78cm deep (the same as the Nonagon and Croydon pools) because some felt the depth of the Galilee a little on the shallow side.  It is also a wee bit longer and broader. at over 7′ long and 5′ wide internally, this is a very spacious baptistry that stores well.

Concrete and Tile Baptistries

Unless the architect or builder are prepared to guarantee the concrete and tile baptistry will not leak (and not need regrouting!) in under 10 (or 25) years, don’t bother!

Our fibreglass baptistries mean less fuss and cost at installation as the unit comes as a whole.  Insulation is built in, the walls need no additional support, and the reinforced lids can take the whole choir!  And our fibreglass baptistries need no maintenance for years to come.  The baptistry is guaranteed for 10 years, though it will probably last well over 25 years.

Concrete pools are poorly insulated, if at all.  Ours come with 50mm of insulation built in as standard.  Heating the water in concrete and tile pools is expensive and wasteful as you end up heating the concrete as well as the water.  The fibreglass lids can be put over the tank whilst filling and heating to keep in the heat and, unlike wood, will not swell and warp.  Even treated timber starts to swell once the varnish wears.

GRP pools do not need maintenance (other than an occasional wipe down).  The grouting between tiles soon attracts mould and we have phone calls from churches with leaky tiled baptistries at the rate of one a month.  It isn’t just a false economy, it’s no saving at all to have a concrete and tile baptistry.

Get in touch because there is a fibreglass pool for your budget.

A new way to get your baptistry: Leasing

For nearly 10 years now we’ve run the baptistry hire side of our business as a service to church congregations of all denominations because we think it is an important part of mission for churches.

We’ve taken a long, hard look at baptistry hire and come to the conclusion that there is a group of problems centring on sustainability.

Sustainability- transporting them to and from is dead money for the customer. Sustainability – transporting pools around by courier leads to more wear and tear on them and the need to keep making new ones.  Post-Brexit, raw material costs are creeping up. Sustainability – the business.  This year we carefully looked at the figures and worked out that we were barely breaking even on the hire side.  And there is the sustainability of us as people –  there is a lot of work in organising the logistics, packing and repacking pools, making and repairing pools, and so on and we are not getting younger.

We will carry on renting out the pools but we have formed a new way for customers to get their baptistry.  With leasing, customers will pay a far lower weekly rate and not have the transport costs between hires.  Nor will they have to worry about whether another church has damaged the kit as you will have complete control over the pool with you.  If the liner does get damaged, we factor in one replacement liner during your lease.  You will have a baptistry at your church all the time and the facilities on hand to offer baptism more often.

Leases can be for 3 or 5 year periods as you prefer.  If you currently hire 3 times a year, then it would be worth your while to look at leasing.  Leases are available now (speak with Ruth).

Rentals as we do them now would carry on but the cost would reflect the true cost of putting on such as service.  We know that for special one off events and for particular Church circumstances a hire service will still be required, but we also know that to sustain the service in the long run we will not be able to do the work ourselves.  So we are planning to pay staff to do the work and offer the service.  We want to pay a real living wage and to do this our hire prices will rise from Pentecost onwards.  The Apostle hire will go up to £300 plus £120 delivery, the Croydon and Galilee will hire at £235 plus £100 delivery and the Nonagon will hire at £225 plus £100 delivery.