In the latest of my running series of weekly polls, I have been asking you whether you think home owners should be paying more for their windows and doors. Last Monday night I launched a new week-long poll asking that question, and a week later we have a pretty definitive result.
The poll and the answer
Here is the question I posed to you on Twitter, and the results that came back:
There’s nothing unequivocal about it, that’s nearly three quarters of you saying that home owners should indeed be paying more for their windows and doors.
This particular poll was inspired after my trip to Belgium where it was mentioned that a house full of windows and doors would go for double what is usually charged here in the UK. Given that the Belgian economy, GDP and average yearly wage was less than that of the UK, that was a stat I was surprised to hear. But then again, here in the UK we have long put price before everything else, all in the search for a bargain. In Europe they tend to have a quality-first approach, and cost comes second.
From a personal point of view, I have to agree with the result of this poll. When you look at other big-ticket industries and then look at ours, we have made so little inflationary progress it’s ludicrous. That being said, much of it is down to us as an industry, choosing to sell based on price and undercutting the competition, rather than choosing to sell based on quality and service and trying to command a healthier price from the home owner. You only need to go on to Facebook at the moment and see an advert from a national installer promising to beat other quotes. Not exactly a profitable route is it?
Learn from cars, kitchens and phones
Other big ticket purchases people will make are cars and kitchen. I use the car example a lot. Take a Lexus IS200 from 1999. That would retail at £20,500. Today’s IS range from Lexus starts at £32,895. I have used this site as a bit of a reference. In the space of 20 years that particular product has risen a steady £12k over two decades. £33k is about right for a decent sized, good quality family car. A good example of a big ticket product rightly going up in price over time.
Kitchens are another good example. Today, you can expect to sink a good £15k into a total kitchen revamp if you include appliances, plastering and all other products and labour involved. Twenty years ago, it would have been a good chunk less than that.
If I was to look back through our records at what we would charge home owners for a house full of windows and doors, I know the prices would be lower, but not much lower, which is sad when you think about it. Other sectors around us have got down to business and understood that prices rise over time for a reason, and that is to remain profitable. With us, our industry (barring some exceptions) has dumped in its own back yard and continued to supress natural inflationary rises by selling for the lowest price possible.
I have mentioned in previous posts that a friend of mine told me that he was able to buy certain glass products cheaper now than he could nearly thirty years ago. What a ridiculous situation that is. This is a UK thing by the way. Attitudes towards price are so different in other parts of the world. And then when companies at the start of the supply chain start to choose to sell their products in other countries and decide to not supply the UK due to profitability problems, we wonder why!
So, if we are to learn anything from this poll, its that the industry does actually know that home owners should be paying more for their new windows and doors, but the question remains if we’re actually going to do something about it, or continue to moan about not making enough money whilst continuing to choose price as the point to sell on.
A new poll is coming this week!
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