‘We need more installers – not just any installers, but good ones’

The founder of Terlecki, a kitchen installations company based in Maidstone, spoke out about how shocked he has been at the high demand for installers and skills shortage in the KBB industry.

Carl Terlecki spoke on the kbbreview podcast about becoming the first winner the new kbbreview Retail & Design Awards ‘Installation Company of the Year’ award. During the interview, he assessed the current installation climate and how his business has grown in its first year.

He said: “The amount of work we had [during 2020] was shocking. I was surprised to see that people were investing in their homes even in lockdown – maybe they couldn’t travel or were cutting down on other expenses. Or they were spending more time at home and wanted to do something in their homes?

“The work has not stopped over the past year. We’ve had so much – almost too much, and there are not enough skilled tradespeople to service all of that. Is there work tomorrow? We don’t have that problem, but I think it is more a case of suppliers and retailers saying, ‘we need more tradespeople’.”

Terlecki was founded in 2020 and is a member of the British Institute of Kitchen, Bedroom and Bathroom Installation (BiKBBi). Carl Terlecki is supportive of the work done by the BiKBBi to get more people into the trade.

The BiKBBi, and its chief executive Damien Walters, have highlighted the skills shortage in the KBB industry for many years. As a result, they have launched various initiatives to get more tradespeople and apprentices into the industry.

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Terlecki believes it is not just about getting any installers, but getting good ones. He said: “I am excited about installations – especially the work that the BiKBBi are doing and realising that is a need for good installers, good project teams and good processes. It is good to see.”

Terlecki came from a carpentry background and is not an installer by trade. However, he said this gives him a different perspective from other installers. He believes he and his team of six offer a solution to many issues in the KBB industry, as the company is built around being a full installation service, offering everything from carpentry to project management to building works.

He said: “I don’t see myself – or any one of the guys – as just one thing. We see ourselves as an installation company, and we want to see ourselves as a solution to some of the needs and challenges that everyone faces and try to solve those and present a service that makes things a lot better.”

He added: “Although the company is still in its infancy, I would like Terlecki to be a turnkey solution, but we have a good thing going with installations and it would be silly for us to move completely away from that. One of my mantras is ‘slow is fast’, and we just have to keep doing things right.”

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