Thomas Smith, Founder and Chief Executive Office of Courtcraft Limited talks with International Squash Magazine.
What is the history of the company?
The company was founded in 1995, I started work in the squash industry as a sub-contractor working directly for a UK company named Prospec I was basically the original man in a van travelling up and down the country plastering squash courts, I eventually progressed with lots of on-site training working with time served tradesmen installing the glass backed walls and hardwood flooring. This line of work took me to all parts of the world like Taiwan, Doha and all over Europe.
I eventually advertised in a national squash magazine and from there started to build up to the company we are today, we eventually changed from a soul trader to a limited company back in 2001 due to the amount of enquiries we were receiving and as they say we have never looked back. We now directly employ 19 people including office staff we also own a purpose build office and warehouse in Manchester and can proudly state we are the largest company in the UK that specialise in the installation and development of squash courts and sports flooring with an annual turnover in excess of 2 million.
What services do you offer.
Everything to do with squash courts ranging from a simple scrub and clean of the court playwalls sanding & line marking existing floors through to full court hackoff’s and re-plastering and installing new hardwood floors. We also provide three year fixed cost maintenance contracts which help our clients plan their budgets in advance with no hidden extras. As the leading squash court contractor in the UK we only use the best products available and ensure they are all ESR & World Squash approved. We are also one of the leading providers of Sports & Activity Flooring throughout the UK
What type of products do you install:
I’m sure a lot of companies say this but we really do only work with the best and most established companies on the market, with hardwall finishes we only use Armourcoat plaster, this is the only plaster product we have trusted over the years which continually offers reliability and consistency. For Glasswall’s we use Ellis Pearson who again have been around for many years and have probably been installed in 90% of courts in the UK. For the floors we only use Junckers 22mm thick hardwood Beech in our squash courts with all the above elements you have to be very careful to use the correct products as if you get this wrong it can be very expensive to correct and also lose your reputation overnight.
You have recently partnered with ASB System Courts. How will this collaboration benefited Courtcraft?
The Partnership with ASB is a natural progression for both companies in the UK, the products on offer from ASB match those we are looking to promote in the UK and ASB tick all the boxes for us in terms of product quality which is a trusted, respected & innovative company but equally important to us as a company is the technical back up & they have shown this in the short time we have been working together. With the combination of Courtcraft & ASB working together In the UK we are already starting to see the benefits of our partnership by securing some very exciting projects. The latest Contract is for Courtcraft to provide & Install 6 ASB system courts with movable side walls for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow which will become the National Squash Centre for Scotland as part of the legacy of the Games.
What new products or service have Courtcraft recently introduced:
Partnering with ASB we can now offer their tried and tested System 40 renovation playwall, even though plastered squash courts can last for a long time you still get problems with cracking and de-bonding if the brickwork or building has structural problems By using the ASB system 40 renovation wall this eradicates any of these problems as the panels are fixed directly into the existing brickwork and then backfilled using fire dried silica sand to provide ballast, exceptional ball response and acoustic properties. This product is a perfect choice for any club that has these problems and can be installed and ready to be played on within 3 days
Can you tell us a little about why your products or services are different from your competitors?
Our philosophy at Courtcraft is to offer our clients the highest level of service and the best products available whilst keeping the costs to a set budget, We are also conscious that we have to compete pricewise against our competitors and our knowledge of the industry helps us do that, we are always looking to save our clients’ money where we can, & by making sure one of our office staff are there to answer the phone every time somebody calls us. Add our buying power from our suppliers into the equation we have the right combination to offer all of the above. Unlike other companies we don’t use sub-contractors to carry out the work on our behalf all our site staff are fully trained and directly employed again this gives us a massive advantage over our competitors as we can control the quality of the service our clients expect.
Can you tell us about your recent partnerships with ASB Squash Courts, England Squash & Racketball and the British Open?
We were asked by ESR if we would like to become a partner for the British Open for the next 3 years including the 2012 world masters in Birmingham, how could we say no? As a company we felt it’s just too good of an opportunity to miss, It’s not every day you get asked to partner such a prestigious tournament as the British Open and this is something we are very honoured to be involved with as a company, it reiterates the faith ESR and ASB have in Courtcraft to carry out works on prestigious events to a high standard and under tight deadlines .
How can a potential customer contact you?
Our Offices are open from 8:00am till 5:00pm Monday – Friday
Tel: 01942 881500
Fax: 01942 881501