Since the first germ of an idea about forming a ‘Trade Body’ I have had many sleepless nights wondering about the benefits that an organisation like this would have. I had no idea really what I was getting in to, and no idea of the complexity of the issues it would raise.
I have always run my own business and always been my own boss – I’ve never really listened to anyone other than the guy who sits on my right shoulder* …and he always says ‘just do it’….
(*NB I do have another guy who sits on my left shoulder who says – ‘be careful what you do’ – I never listen to him).
When I first came across Japanese knotweed some twenty years ago, I sort of ‘knew’ that there would be a business to be built around dealing with this troublesome invader and set up Japanese Knotweed Solutions Ltd in 2002. That isn’t the date I first started dealing with Japanese knotweed – this is the date that I set up a business …SOLELY… to deal with the plant.
People argue with me about who did what first and who dealt with knotweed first – as I have said before – Japanese knotweed first became a notable problem in the 1870’s….but JAPANESE KNOTWEED SOLUTIONS LTD (JKSL) were the first company dealing with nothing but Japanese knotweed.
At the time I set up JKSL, there were probably only one or two companies who dealt with the plant on a serious commercial level and they had come into the market from either an agricultural background or from a grounds maintenance point of view.
This was the time of ‘acronyms’ – or the ‘bull***t’ period as it became known. Companies with very little going for them took advantage of the lack of understanding within the general population about Japanese knotweed and started to spout all sorts of garbage about secret methods and patented systems.
The problem was that they all were.… ‘believable’.
‘HIT’, ‘ TW**’, ‘REMOVE’, ‘EXPUNGE’, ‘EXPLURGE’….all sounded like great ideas and when you added to this the fact that they were ‘patented’ then the public just fell over themselves to give work to these guys.
Added to this we then had the great ‘warranty scandal’ of the early traders. Genuine offers of a ten year insurance backed warranty’ were being undermined by ‘10 year guarantees (in house)’ and ‘free insurance backed guarantees’ then we had a spate of ’25 year warranty’ offers and then even a ‘lifetime guarantee’…..
We had dodgy companies being set up just to ‘hold’ insurance monies in a separate savings account….but most of all we had companies going bust and leaving home owners with no follow up on their re-visits and no return visits to carry out continued spraying of re-growth.
We had companies offering a ‘secret’ mix of chemicals that would kill Japanese knotweed with one spray…..and government bodies telling us that an insect would soon be available to decimate the great knotweed epidemic *
*NB one of these stories is actually true
All in all the industry was in a pretty poor state and clients and customers were beginning to lose faith in the ability of any knotweed contractor to simply tell the truth. It was at this point some five years ago that I decided to do something about this and began speaking to all the major players in the industry.
We all agreed that recognised standards and strict quality control were the only way to ensure that a ‘level playing field’ was created whereby clients could understand what was really being offered and be able to compare like for like quotes.
This is why INNSA is the recognised Trade Body for customers wanting a quality product and this is why INNSA is a relevant today as it was 5 years ago when I first started to make it happen.
Heaven forbid we go back to the days of the cowboy operators!
Life is complicated enough without putting acronyms on everything.