For those of you who follow me on social media, you’ll know that at the end of last year, we installed our first pivot door from Spitfire Doors. It was an exciting and slightly nervous process for us, given the cost of the door and the risks of getting it wrong.
I had a lot of questions on social media about the door, the installation process and other factors, so I thought it might be a good idea to explain the whole thing from start to finish so people have a greater sense of what is required to sell these immense doors.
Pivot doors are not regular doors
This seems fairly obvious, but if you are thinking of getting into pivot doors, then you have to change your mindset from start to finish.
There are many factors to consider when you start selling pivot doors. First is logistics. Pivot doors are generally always going to be larger than normal doors. The first one we installed was nearly 1800mm wide and 2100mm high. The weight of pivot doors can comfortably reach hundreds of kilograms, although this will depend on the design. The glass-covered doors are extremely heavy. We installed one in our showroom that was solid but came with a glass front and it took four of us and a fair bit of time and effort just to lift it into the showroom.
You will have to think about what transport you have available. Will your vans be big enough? Will they be able to take the load of these doors without breaking any limits? We often get our pivot doors delivered to site. The other two ranges from Spitfire, the S200 and S500 we have delivered to our offices for our installers to take to site as they normally would.
Think about the offload on-site as well. You won’t be able to send a two-person team to take the product off the delivery van. Pivot doors can weigh 150-300kg even if they are what you would call “regular” sized. It is going to take four people to offload a pivot door from the delivery van. It’s worth noting that a single pivot door can measure up to 2m wide and up to 4m high. The chances you’ll sell a door of that size are rather slim, but if you do, you’re going to need either 8 people or special lifting equipment.
Finally, make sure you have enough installers on-site to lift the door into the opening. Two people won’t always do it if it’s a large pivot. All of this should be factored into your pricing before you sign the client up.
A different kind of client
Speaking of clients, the type of people that are going to buy these doors are going to be from a very different wealth bracket.
The types of people that buy these doors are likely to be business owners, footballers, and generally wealthy people. Not exclusively of course, but in my experience so far pivot doors do attract a certain type of person.
These clients require a different level of attention and service. If you’re going to be selling a single door for £20,000 then there is going to be a much higher level of expectation from your client. It’s a process that runs from start to finish. From the bespoke design of the door to the experience your customer has with you in your showroom, all the way through to the final installation. Even though I am only technically in sales, I involve myself in the final survey and installation part of the project as well, even if I offer no practical help. When you sell one of these products you become more of a project manager than a sales rep and you become your client’s point of call for anything to do with your pivot door.
Be prepared to be patient. High-value clients tend to be more demanding and exacting. They are prone to change their mind, often resulting in more work for you. However, the profit margins and commission on these products make the effort very much worth it.
Know your detail
Each pivot door is made from scratch. Every detail can be customised, including colour, glass, CNC patterns, hardware, biometrics, LEDs and a whole lot more. Your clients are going to be exacting on these details and to be able to demonstrate confidence that you know what you’re doing, you’re going to need to fully understand the product and all its variabilities.
This is easier said than done. Only experience really brings you that kind of knowledge. But there are things you can do to help speed that process along. You can download the technical manuals and sit and read them. You can visit the factory and showroom and get hands-on with the product. You can have prep meetings with reps and technical staff so you can ask questions.
Ultimately, it is selling experience that will help you solidify your knowledge of pivot doors. There’s a lot to know, and there is a lot more responsibility with a product like this than others. But they are very much worth the effort.
Higher profit margins
What you decide to charge for a pivot is subjective. For example, the ones we have quoted to clients have been between £15,000-£20,000 including VAT. But I am based in Yorkshire. Further south where there are more affluent areas you can add another £5000-£10,000 on top, depending on the specification.
Pivot doors are where your business will start to bring in better margins. The one thing to remember is that you’re likely to only sell a handful every year. At our place, we are aiming to get to a point where we sell one a month. We have been told that even that is a high number. But we’re excited about the product and hope to be able to get there.
For some perspective, the first pivot door we installed produced the same profit margin as 14 windows. Think about that for a moment. The same profit margin as a decent house full of windows and doors but in a single item. We have sold more since and have been able to command better than that.
This is what the extra work is for. The planning that is required. The foresight to make sure pivot projects go well. The extra hand-holding with your clients. The learning of the additional product knowledge. All of that is worth it if you can begin to sell pivot doors on a regular basis. Over the course of a year, a handful of these doors can boost revenue and margins by a significant amount. This type of work also opens up new avenues. Wealthier people tend to know other wealthier people. For this demographic, pivot doors are lifestyle products, not just doors. If you find yourself dealing with this type of client bracket more often, you really will begin to transform your business.
There is a lot more I can say about these products. They really are the coolest way you can enter and leave a home. Pivot doors capture the imagination of clients and can bring fantastic new opportunities to installers who are prepared to put in the work.
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