In the residential market, PVCu continues to come top of the pile. It has been this way for many years and the past few decades. However, as the environment inside and outside the industry has changed, PVCu’s dominance may not seem as safe as it once was. Installers who only sell one material type may have a choice to make rather soon.

Diversify, or stick to what you know

Much of the residential market’s installers have been installing PVCu for decades, and nothing much else. And to be fair, it is what has driven the sector’s growth for many years and helped establish PVCu as a main window and door material. But over the past 5-10 years previously established materials such as aluminium and timber have evolved significantly and have begun to re-establish themselves once again in the industry. So this now poses a question for some installers that have only stuck to selling one material.

The question is simple: do you diversify or stick to what you know? There is an element of risk with both answers. If you veer off from what you normally do, there is a risk of losing business, investing money on new products and redeveloping a showroom which you may not get back etc. But then again, if you stick to just one tried and tested material you could miss out on a lot of new business, where your competitors can pick that up instead.

At our place we’re embarking on a path of quite aggressive path of diversification. I myself keep a constant eye out for new products that we could incorporate into our wider product portfolio. If you ask me, if you stand still you’ll drown and go out of business.

A quick look at Google Trends will give you a few telling signs:

Window materials search comparison:

Key: Blue = PVCu windows | Red = Aluminium windows | Yellow = timber windows

As you can see, searches for PVCu windows never seemed that popular, despite the material’s industry dominance. Midway through that graph both aluminium and timber took a slight dip. But if you notice at the end of it, both start to rise quite strongly. This for me demonstrates their general resurgence in the industry. Something installers of all types cannot ignore.

Door materials search comparison

Key: Blue = PVCu doors | Red = Composite doors | Yellow = Aluminium doors | Green = timber doors

The red line is probably the most striking, demonstrating the strength of the rise of composite doors in such a few short years. But again, the trends graph shows that in reality people really are not searching for PVCu doors as the blue line demonstrates. There is a real demand for previously consigned materials like timber and aluminium.

Good installers will look at this and understand that if they’re not already offering at least one other material choice, they need to do so soon. The general public is more discerning than ever before thanks to the internet. They know and understand our products and the range of choice better than ever before. They are going to expect a range of options when they walk through your doors.

An argument I sometimes hear from those reluctant to diversify is that the demand for a certain material they don’t do isn’t there in their area. Well I don’t buy that for a second. If you don’t so something, then customer’s won’t know or won’t know to ask. The minute you start advertising you do a range of new products, or have them on display in the showroom, they will start to sell. No ifs, no buts. If you don’t tell people, then of course the new products won’t shift.

The good news is that there has never been a better time to diversify than right now. There is a huge and ever growing raft of products that will be ideal to help grow any installation business. You just have to pick the right ones for you.

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