The other day on Twitter I put out this tweet: Is there more profit and opportunity in becoming a ‘high-end, specialist bespoke’ installations company? It did start a couple of quite long and slightly confusing discussions about the importance of quality in our industry and the correct fitters to do it justice.
I guess what I meant by that tweet was if companies are to survive int his industry, is the high-end, highly bespoke route the best way to go down and will it attract better margins and more opportunities? In my own personal opinion I think so. It is one of the best ways a company can differentiate itself from the rest of the mediocre crowd.
Just look at the products out there in the market place right now. Timber-alternative windows and doors, Loggias, solid roofs, endless colour and wood grain options in all materials including aluminium and timber. Just a few years ago this massive range of highly spec’ed top of the range products just simply didn’t exist. But now the game has changed and it is these sorts of high-end products that can command a higher profit margin and different sort of clientele.
However, as was pointed out in various discussions on Twitter the other night, having the best product in the world will not give you that ‘high-end’ reputation. The quality of your workmanship and installation must match the quality of the products you are selling. You can have the best product portfolio in the world, but if your fitters are no good, then your product is as bad as the worst product in the world.
I think this is also one of the frustrations will the self-regulating bodies at the moment. Another conversation has been rumbling on about the lack of checks into qualifications when someone/some company joins a self-cert organisation like FENSA or Certass. Perhaps if these bodies allowed only ‘qualified’ window and door installers that might go some way to help improve the image of the industry and overall stock of fitters, as well as aid individual company’s efforts to up their own reputations.
As we speak, I do believe the industry is splintering quite profoundly, between those offering dirt cheap prices to bring in the consumers more focused on price than quality, and those where price isn’t a barrier and are looking for the best possible installation for their home. For me, this is where the decent profit margins lie and the longer-term future for businesses are. Cheap and cheerful won’t provide the margins and long-term stability that businesses need right now. Well that’s my own opinion anyway.
From experience at our own business, we have found that the more recent contracts being sold are for a range of new, high-end timber-alternative windows and doors and other products like Ultraframe’s Loggia. Though they cost more, our customers see the added value and quality and are prepared to spend a little more on them.
Comments are of course welcome down below!