BMF membership increases following restructure

Published:  27 June, 2012

UK: The BMF’s restructuring plans have won the approval of the merchant industry with a swathe of former members rejoining the organisation since the start of its financial year in April.

The trade association’s simplified subscription rates, coupled with a service offer focused on business support, lobbying and training - where members gain further financial benefit with significant discounts on all courses - are also attracting companies into membership for the first time.

BMF chairman, Terry Parker is delighted with the response: “Supporting our members is our top priority and in the current climate, reducing the overall cost of BMF membership while retaining the services they most valued was central to our new strategy. We hoped that making membership more affordable would encourage both past members and new companies to become part of the BMF and the immediate response is very encouraging.”

The affordability of membership was key to one returning member, Frank Key Builders Merchants, which rejoined BMF after an absence of six years. Frank Key is a diversified business in Nottingham and Derbyshire with three builders merchant depots, two garden centres and, following the recent purchase of Sinbad Tool Hire, four hire outlets.

Said Frank Key’s chairman, Robert Sansom: “The old way of calculating membership subscriptions seemed to penalise a growing business. It had got to the stage where BMF membership had become an expensive luxury which we couldn’t justify. Now it offers far better value for money we see it as an essential part of being a builders’ merchant.

“We will be making full use of BMF’s training services. We have used training providers outside the merchant industry but their one-size-fits-all approach is not ideal for our business. We perceive BMF training, with its focus on our industry, as a better fit for us.”

The reduction in subscription rates also helped Otford Builders Merchants in Kent make the decision to rejoin. Alan Boyd, was appointed as Otford’s managing director last November with a brief to modernise and expand the business. The heavyside company currently operates from one branch near Sevenoaks, and has a sizeable direct to site market, but is now looking to open a second branch and introduce a wider product range. Says Alan Boyd: “Undoubtedly the reduction in membership fees made it an easy decision to take Otford’s back into membership, and with our expansion plans access to BMF training should prove a very useful tool. I am also keen to make the most of the networking opportunities offered by BMF. As a member of NBG, I attend meetings around the country, but BMF’s regional meetings play an important role in the industry and I am keen to play my part in these.”

The opportunity to network also attracted new members, Wigan-based Brickstore. Director Malcolm Graham, was delighted to discover that BMF membership was open to the specialist brick merchant and sees it as an ideal opportunity to mix with trading colleagues.

Said Mr Graham: “A lot of our business is with general builders merchants and BMF meetings will give us opportunities to meet existing customers and to make new contacts in a forum where we will also have an opportunity to share views and give something back to other members.”

Other new or returning members include Crossling, G B Willbond, Lawsons, Redec Industrial and Sydenhams.

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