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.