The battle of quality versus price has long raged on in our industry. There are those that believe firmly that quality should be king, and I am definitely in that camp. There are those at the other end of the market that believe lowest cost wins. For me, you can’t have both. If you want quality then you’ll have to pay for it. Cheap and cheerful is exactly that. It’s OK, it serves a purpose, but cheap products are rarely impressive, never at the top of the quality tree and often need replacing far sooner that their more expensive but higher quality counterparts.

If you have seen the latest VW car adverts recently, they demonstrate this argument, with a bit of tongue in cheek humour:

A very simple and polite way to suggest that when you go bottom end, you’re going to end up with something pretty poor. As with parachutes, windows and doors also come under the same rules of quality.

Built To Last

One of the main ways I believe our industry can continue to improve it’s image is to continue on it’s current path of producing high quality products. It hasn’t always been the case mind you. The PVC sector has seen some seriously shoddy products in the past, some of which are still unfortunately being produced right now. But there has been a trend over the past few years for the industry to really focus and start producing some much higher end PVC options. We now have lines such as the Storm window from Evolution, the much publicised Residence 9 range, Eurocell’s Modus system as well as other high end, timber-alternative type systems in the market now. All far better than their standard PVC older brothers.

Ultimately, I don’t think the window and door market will ever shake off the cheap and cheerful side. I saw a customer at the weekend who had had a cheaper price from our competitors for a bow bay window. We were a fair bit more expensive, but we were doing more work and the product is far better. Despite my efforts to demonstrate the differences and benefits, all they could do was continue to focus on they money they could save initially. Their minds had been turned off and no matter what I could have said, they simply weren’t going to listen. The industry will always have a client base that searches for the cheapest possible price, no matter the compromise on quality. That is why I believe in the end our industry could split into two distinct halves: high-end, premium price quality versus very low end and low prices.

I’ll always be a fan of quality over price. A lack of quality is always so obvious and can often take the shine and novelty away from any purchase, especially high value products like windows and doors. Build it well, build it to last and you’ll always be able to command a higher price and better profit margin in the long run. For the homeowner, they get a product which is going to last them much longer, therefore costing them less in the long run and giving them many more years of better security, better energy efficiency and longer lasting superior aesthetics.