Last year I was assessed by Dulux to become a select member and Government trustmark registered. Whilst at the time this seemed like a good idea, with hindsight I'm not sure it was worth it. It was nice to have my work assessed and approved though!
As of mid May my membership is due for renewal and I have known since last year that I didn't intend to renew it. This week having had several reminders I decided to let them know. I figure now is a good time to explain my reasons.
The first thing is the cost, its over £300 if you include government trustmark. Trustmark was actually the thing I wanted in the beginning, but you can only get it through certain trade associations. Its worth noting at this stage that anyone that works for me has to be assessed by Dulux too - even apprentices.
As soon as I became a member I became worried, it felt like I was to push Dulux's name as much as, if not more than my own. This didn't feel right, I wasn't employed by them and I'd taken a long time to build up my business and customer base to what it was and was now expected to use what I'd done to promote them using all their stationary - and pay for that privilege! I didn't want to lose my identity, so limited my use of their materials.
They promised to guarantee my work for me as long as it was done with their products (though it later turned out excluded Dulux's own retail products, for which I was never satisfied with their answer for). The problem with this is that I never use Dulux products for all parts of a job, as there are better products out there. I explained this to them and was expected to get customers to sign a waiver form against the guarantee whenever this happened (which is every job). I have never done this as I felt that it came across as unprofessional.
I've always offered a guarantee because I trust my workmanship and use products that will last, but because they aren't Dulux I won't guarantee it? No, this isn't right, I choose the right product for the job because I want to put my name to it.
But the main reason I have chosen to leave Dulux select is because I am increasingly losing my trust in Dulux products. Its not that they don't have good products on the market, just that there is usually a product that does a better job. As a business I want to use the best products for a job - after all the blurb on my home page says 'All work is completed to a high standard using the best quality tools and materials'.
I always cringe when I go to quote for a job and I'm asked what I would recommend and have to give the "I know I'm a Dulux approved decorator but I'd go for brand XYZ' - how can I be a good decorator, if I'm recommended by a brand that I don't trust?
I'm sure there are more reasons, as I say this has been building up for a while. Hopefully my reasons make sense. I'm still offering the same service and materials on my jobs, just without paying to promote Dulux along the way.