Charles Hallatt, the chairman of the Banham security group, shares the secret to the family-run company’s success
Banham has had a major presence in London since it launched the 1920s. What is the key to its longevity?
My grandfather William F Banham founded the business in 1926 when he invented the first automatic door bolt, which was truly pioneering for his times. He and my grandmother, Marie-Ann Banham, both lived in London so naturally the business was based there too and where all the foundations were built. Banham’s first offices were based in Hammersmith where they started to service the local and surrounding areas, providing homes with their patented lock, initially through door-to-door sales. My grandfather prided himself on offering customers a highly reliable service that was conducted with complete discretion which customers were drawn to. It is these key company values that we still pride ourselves on continuing to offer our customers today and credit our long-standing success to.
How do you maintain that reputation?
Our staff and engineers are the best in the field. Everyone is trained in-house and staff loyalty and commitment means they give their best service and really care about the customer. This in turn makes the customers loyal and keeps them wanting to come back to Banham – ‘the customer is King’ is our moto.
As a service, we are available 24/7 to our customers, with a quick response time which we have been commended on by the police. The nature of our business is time sensitive and we understand just how crucial it is to get to a customer’s property if their alarm is going off for example, so we are committed to giving a first class service which is second to none. This is one of the reasons why we are the largest NSI approved installer of burglary alarms in the London area.
The Banham Group is a family-run business – is the sense of responsibility ever overwhelming?
I wouldn’t say it is overwhelming, however the family members who are employees and shareholders at Banham absolutely have the responsibility of upholding the values and company ideologies that our founders worked so hard at forming. We also have to ensure that the business continues to prosper and grow, so that the business carries on to the next generation of the Banham family as well as for our workforce. It is a responsibility that we all carry on our shoulders , but is just something that goes with the territory.
How has the growth of international buyers in London affected business?
Naturally like many other property-focused businesses, we have seen an increase in demand for our products from international buyers investing in London, particularly where very expensive houses need much more comprehensive security as their property will at times be unoccupied. Having said that, our main business is of course through local residents who we have been looking after for almost ninety years. Our main focus therefore is always on permanent residents of London and the South East, who are residing here in their properties and to ensure they and their homes are protected from intruders.
What are the biggest challenges when it comes to providing home security systems?
Funnily enough I think the biggest challenge is actually getting people to use their security systems once they have been installed! With all our systems you can set your home alarm to a ‘night set’ which means that part of the home is activated whilst you sleep, providing peace of mind that you will be alerted should anyone try to break in. This of course highlights the need for physical security, window and door locks, and perhaps even shutters in addition to electronic security.
Banham are unique in that they can cover every aspect of property protection including CCTV, access control and fire systems, as well as burglar alarms, which is why we offer free on site security surveys. We also work with your insurance requirements and being a NSI accredited company gives peace of mind that we are experts in our field.
Does investing in home security have to be expensive?
No it doesn’t have to be expensive at all, the costs are dictated by the size of your property and its contents. We cover a whole range of security needs from small one bedroom flats which will have minimal requirements for perhaps just a door lock, all the way up to a bespoke, fully comprehensive security systems for larger properties. The costs really depend on the size of your home, the value of your contents and most importantly what your insurance company requires in order for your home to be fully insured.
You have recently opened your headquarters in Earlsfield. Why did you choose this location and what do you hope it might do for the area?
We are really thrilled with our new headquarters in Earlsfield. It is such a significant milestone for the company and we now have over 50,000 square foot which encompasses every aspect of our business, including our own 24-hour monitoring centre. We chose Earlsfield due to the size of the plot we were able to obtain and also for its geographical location. In addition, the new headquarters allows us to continue our growth and expansion for the foreseeable future.
We are really proud that our new office is providing such positive reinforcement to the local Earlsfield economy and are delighted that we have had such a warm welcome from both residents and local businesses. We have been told there has been a boost seen in the local area with an increase in sales at local shops and cafes.
Banham have always been very actively involved with local communities throughout London and the South East by working closely with local residents, councils and Neighbourhood Watch groups, so we are already adopting the same principals within Earlsfield. Our development has set a benchmark for the wider regeneration of the area and we are very excited to have moved to Earlsfield.
If you weren’t at the helm at Banham, what would you be doing instead?
Having been in the family business for a large part of my working life, I honestly don’t think I would be doing anything else. I have eaten, slept and breathed Banham for as long as I can remember!