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.
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.
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.
The 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 FedEx 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.
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.
It may seem a bit odd to be advertizing another company but bear with us! Wooden Baptistery Co make portable wooden baptistries such as the ‘Ben’s Boat‘ and we put together a kit box for each of their pools, hence us advertizing their baptistries. All their pools are handmade in the UK and a particular favourite is the wooden hexagonal because of the way it fits together without any tools. At 5′ across it is quick to fill as well making it an excellent baptistry where a church needs to set up and take down quickly.
We provide a kit for each of their pools which contains a pump, lay-flat hose pipe, base pads, insulating cover and, if ordered, a heater and a step.
Protect your pool heater! After a customer sent in their heater for its service in a flimsy cardboard box, and, unsurprisingly, it arrived cracked and bashed, we decided that the heaters need the tough crates for protection. These are the same lidded crates we use when sending out a heater in hire. These will keep the heater safe when in storage and in transit. We’ve put the prices up to cover some of the extra cost.
This applies to the 4.8kW pool heater and the 2.4kW with Control Box.
Just to announce – after Easter is usually the time when Ruth has exhire baptistries that are on offer.
We’ve a short blog today to share our thoughts on different kinds of piping. There are three main types: lay flat pipe, hose pipe and crushproof pipe. So what are the pros and cons?
Lay flat pipe is what you’ll find when you hire a baptistry from us: it makes your postage cheaper as they’re lighter and flatter to transport. However, we replace them regularly as they don’t have a long shelf life. So we’d suggest a lay flat pipe if storage space or the ability to transport the baptistry are your main concerns.
Hosepipe is the easiest to source and you may already have a hosepipe to hand. It maintains water pressure and is made from durable material so it works well.
Crushproof piping will last longest, it’s tough and durable and doesn’t usually kink. It comes in 30 metre rolls so it’s best if your toilet or drain is some way from the baptistry. However, it is the most expensive piping of the three. Where crush-proof really excels is in emptying the pool with a pump, you still need a hosepipe to fill it. It allows the pump to get up to full speed because there are no kinks to stop the water.
You can also upgrade from lay flat to crushproof piping for £15 when you hire a baptistry from us.
We’re here to talk if you want to ask anything specific about your booking, just ring us on 0345 230 1381.
We have one of the wooden hexagonal baptistry pools for sale. Made with beech-veneered wood, these are very much in keeping with church interiors, as the picture of it in Bradford Cathedral shows. The pool is approximately 5′ across and 2’2″ deep. It slots together in a very neat way and needs no tools for assembly. The pool will come with new equipment, new liner but no heater.
Price £650+£50 delivery +VAT
We put the nonagon up recently and, when we came to put the liner on we found the liner too big and a side too many – we’d accidentally forgotten a panel and made an octagon. As the panels went together just as well with one missing, we tried it with one extra. Ten sides worked too and it gave a pool that is catching on. It is wider than our ‘workhorse’ pool the nonagon but not any deeper. As the first church to try it and buy it was in Croydon, the name stuck. It is a cost-effective way to get a large baptistry tank (nearly 7′ across) that can be stored easily and doesn’t required the larger steps of our deeper baptistry (The Apostle).
A new baptistry is born and what better way to test it than to let three kids loose on it during the heatwave! The UltraFlat baptismal comprises four flat but flexible GRP panels that bend and bolt together to form a rigid circular frame. A very quick and very cheap portable baptistry. This four panel version is 150cm (5′) across. You could add a fifth panel and the pool would be 188cm in diameter (just over 6’3″). This baptistry dismantles into flat panels that can be easily stored. And what’s more this baptistry costs less than £400. You can buy extra pieces of equipment but a lot of the additonal kit can be easily sourced locally from a hardware shop. A very tough, simple, flat, storable, flexible and cheap baptistry!
When it comes to stopping people falling into a baptistry when not in use, the options usually boil down to getting a set of lids! If an existing floor is being cut through, the boards could be saved and reused by an expert carpenter / joiner. (I use the word ‘expert’ as a pointer to a later comment). This will enable the ‘lid’ to be in keeping with the flooring where the bare wood is to be preserved.
Architects may specify waterproof marine ply or MDF held together on a frame of treated timbers. I have no problem with timber, lovely stuff, use it all the time. Very cost-effective and easy to stick carpet to. Where the problem may arise is when builders / users forget that it is wood. Wood will swell and shrink and bend a little over the years but more especially because, as you will fully understand, baptistries are damp when in use. It is good sense to put the lids over to keep the warmth in when filling and heating. This will swell the lids and they and the empty pool are best left ‘open’ to allow them to dry.
Lids, whether of wood or reinforced fibreglass can be fitted with hand-holes, trap door ring pull handles or recessed threads which can take an eyebolt to give a convenient finger-hold. Wooden lids tend to be 100mm deep to have the necessary strength, whereas GRP lids tend to be 70mm. The GRP lids are reinforced by the incorporation of steel square section tubing – as you can see from the picture with a sturdily build Yorkshire gentleman stood on the lids – there is no bend. These lids rest flat upon the flange of the baptistry rim (the surrounding floor would hold them in place once installed), though we can make baptistries with a rebate so that lids are flush with the baptistry edge. The advantage with GRP is that it just does not rot, doesn’t need treating or painting and carpet tiles or such like can be stuck to the back.
(And why use the adjective ‘expert’.) Recently we despatched baptistry and wooden lids off to the south of England to a new home. Two months later the builder was having problems with the lids. Odd, we thought so off we went for a jaunt southwards. Perhaps we should have made it clearer that leaving wooden lids in the rain for weeks was not ideal. Nor do we feel a layer of building debris over the baptistry is beneficial to the ease of fitting the lids. And this was a major contractor. So, please, make sure your builder does not view wood as some novel material!