Technology has certainly transformed the way our industry deals not only within itself, but also with home owners. Whether its communication between home owners and companies, the way we order products, marketing and messaging. Technology has made all of that quicker, and in most cases simpler.

Thanks to the internet, it has allowed home owners to access a vast amount of information on our industry and products. They can get in touch with suppliers and manufacturers now, as well as installers. There’s a lot of advantages in that, as well as one or two pitfalls. But in the main, it has brought the public closer to the sector.

As a result, there is a natural demand for home owners to want to know what our products cost. In response to that demand, a number of manufacturers and installers as well, have built online portals where home owners can design their desired products. From there, either a price in generated online via a small number of websites, others send that information to installers where they can then get in touch with that home owner with a quote based on that information.

My question though is this: would more of you be willing to display your prices directly to home owners online?

Twitter poll

As you would expect, I am asking this question via another poll on the DGB Twitter account, which you can see below. To be clear, what I’m asking is if companies would be willing to supply guide prices online, either based on information provided by the home owner via a quote builder, or just via a general price list provided by the company. These wouldn’t be final “buying” prices, and of course would be subject to a site survey and any product specification changes.

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A question of information

Personally, I would say that should any company wish to provide prices online to home owners that those prices should only be guideline prices only. When a home owner submits information online and wants a quote in return, there are far too many unknown variables at play. By the time an installer makes a home visit to that prospective customer, many other things may play a part in the proposed works which would have an impact on the price. So it become a question of the information provided, coupled with a disclaimer that its subject to a site visit and allows the installer to amend the guideline price as necessary. Given that nature of some portions of the general public right now, it would be wrong to be allowed to be held to ransom to a guideline price.

In the main though, I do believe that online pricing is a good way forward for the industry. Companies like TruFrame for example have designed and built their own software called QuoteBuilder, which allows home owners to enter their requirements for their windows, doors and other items, and then have that information sent via a network to their local installer to be able to then give them a quotation based on that information. Its a quality bit of software that I’ve used myself, which is good news for the home owner, and TruFrame then generates leads for their installer customers, which I am sure their installers are happy about as well.

Solidor is another good example of a company who have understood the direction of travel for this industry and have generated their own successful online portal to create leads for installers to provide quotes.

Consider as well two things. First, more and more of us want a more convenient way of life. It means getting off our arses less and allowing things to be done via a screen, so why not let home owners get at least rough prices for their new windows and doors online? Second, many will be wary of the hard-sell tactics many installers still choose to use. This is a very good way of avoiding the kinds of sales methods which could ultimately put off home owners buying our products full stop.

As always, I’ll report on the results of the vote in a weeks time. Please take a moment to take part in the poll!

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