Where is the value in windows and doors these days? Is it in the energy performance? Is it in the hardware? Is it in the build quality? Is it the price? Or, is it in the design and style of the windows and doors? For me, right now it is very much the latter.
When it comes to grabbing the attention it’s the look, colour and design of the product that is most effective. Everything else is a bonus. Think about cars. For a lot of people, whether it be a hatchback, saloon, estate or SUV, it’s the look of the machine that peaks the buyer’s interest first. If it has good mileage, low tax and a few added extras, then that’s a bonus.
Sex sells, as they say, and it’s exactly the same when it comes to windows and doors.
Obviously, sex isn’t going to sell windows and doors. Or at least it shouldn’t! But the aesthetics will. And this is where true value lies.
And the industry knows this. There has been a concerted effort from all parts of our industry to improve the aesthetics of our wares, offer more colour options, improve the hardware ranges, all to give the home owner ultimate choice and customization. Now, we have a range of products home owners can really get excited about, and that’s where the value is of what we sell.
If we can get the home owner excited about their purchase, via the colours they can choose, the handles they will use, the physical design of the product, we build up more and more value and command a healthier price for our work.
Doors a big driver
In this recent design revolution, entrance doors have been a massive driver of progress and change.
I know at our place we spend a lot of time with home owners customizing their new doors down to the very finer details. Including colour and whether they prefer the RAL or Farrow & Ball range of colours, their hardware and the finish it comes in, the frame layout of their door, the bespoke glass that is going to go into it etc.
These are some of the doors we have installed over recent months, a mix of our PVCu engineered doors produced by John Fredericks sprayed by Kolorseal, and composite doors from Solidor:
Entrance doors have been a real driver in the growth of product customization, and it is filtering into the windows part of the market. I am seeing new window installations now in all sorts of colours and finishes.
I believe that the entrance door market has moved further ahead than the window part of the market. Perhaps because it has been easier to evolve the door than it has the window. It’s an easier canvas in which to redesign.
Still, windows are nothing like they were even ten years ago, never mind thirty. We have the rise in aluminium windows which is helping to drive change and evolution in the market. We have timber alternative PVCu specialists such as Residence 9 and Evolution which have helped reinvent how PVCu windows should be. Then there is the renewed strength in the PVCu vertical slider market. Record numbers of installers are now fitting sash windows and that is a sign of a change in demand from home owners.
All of the above is how we as an industry can add value to our products and contract values. Energy efficiency, high security and product certificates are all fine, but they’re not tangible. The design and aesthetics of the product are, and that is what home owners buy into.
This is what we have to continue to focus on as we move forward as an industry. Not only is it helping us to sell our products for better, healthier prices where all in the supply chain can actually make some money, but is also helping to update the industry’s image to a much more modern and relevant one.
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