Over the past 18 months we have been working hard at our family run business to expand our reach beyond our normal market.

We have always been considered higher end than most of our competition. Yes, we’re a bit more expensive, but we think that the products and service reflect that.

However, as the boom was coming to an end near the end of 2021, we knew that the market was changing and was going to change fast. Inflation and the looming cost of living crisis was going to change the trading landscape again.

We knew that in order to keep growing, we would have to aim even higher and look to the 1% demographic, or as close to it as we could get. That meant fully committing to aluminium in a way we had not before.

It has been one of the best things we have done, and we’re reaping the rewards of the hard work we have put in. But it has been eye opening, and the wealthier demographic is a different breed. Here is just a little insight into what it like to deal with higher earners.

Expectations and demands

More often than not, the clients that we are seeing for aluminium windows and doors are working on large renovation projects or building their own home.

These are exciting projects both for us and the client. We get to work alongside our customers and see their hard work and dreams become a reality. It is because of that, and the huge amount of money these people spend, that their expectations are very high.

That is to be expected. These people are spending hundreds of thousands of pounds, if not more on their dream home. They want every aspect of it to be perfect. Or as perfect as it can be. So sometimes they can be pretty demanding.

Often, it can take multiple meetings just to be able to settle on the finer details, such as window and door handles, smart tech options, door designs and other aesthetic factors. You have to be prepared to put in that time and effort. The reality is that spending £50-£100k on windows and doors is not going to be a quick decision. But the end results are worth the effort at the beginning.

We have made sure that our approach to these projects is as professional and inviting as possible. Remember that spending this amount of money still has to be an exciting thing for the client, so service is all-important here.

Changing minds

One very obvious trait I have noticed is that the wealthier tend to change their minds. Frankly, because they can.

Those who are seriously well off I have found can flip flop between options and actually become pretty indecisive. I put it down to the fact that they often can have anything they want, as money isn’t necessarily a barrier. Which puts literally every option for every window and door product on the table.

It can be a little frustrating when you think you are making progress on some plans, just for an email to pop up telling you that you have to change the specification again because they have changed their mind on something.

Again, this is part of the job, at least within this part of the market. So whilst it can be frustrating, and you do sometimes feel as though you take a step back with every product change, the effort is worth it and hopefully the client sees it and appreciates it as well.

Always aluminium…nearly

When we work on these large renovations or self-build projects, it’s nearly always exclusively in aluminium. Whether it’s plans sent to us by architects or the clients themselves, it is always aluminium that is specified.

That’s not to say PVCu NEVER gets an opportunity. Last week we carried out a final survey on a home that is having aluminium windows and doors at the rear, with timber alternative flush PVCu windows from Evolution going in at the front. What I will say is that when PVCu is specified in these higher-end projects, it is flush with timber look joints. Never standard White casements.

But around 95% of frames that we quote and install into these larger projects are aluminium. Clients desire it, they get more excited about the ranges aluminium can provide, and the fact is that they are simply a more luxurious option. Someone spending big money on their forever home tend not to cheap out, so PVCu doesn’t really enter their radar.

Interesting people and exciting homes

From a bit more of a personal perspective, I have found that you do meet some interesting people within this demographic.

People who have owned or sold their own business. Footballers. Old money. New money. People from different backgrounds but have found their way to the top through hard work. Plus the odd person that has found themselves there through luck. But you do see a different range of personalities and the different approaches to large projects that people take.

Some are wealthy enough to hire a project manager, and you rarely see the client. Some like to really get into the nitty gritty themselves and you meet with them all the way through the project. Some you’ll meet the client and architect together. I find it challenging, in a good way, which is helping me expand my own skills in dealing with all sorts of different types of client.

But perhaps the most exciting for me is getting to work on some pretty spectacular homes. I was lucky enough to be involved in a pivot door project for a Premier League footballer last Christmas. I am working on a massive extension to what is an already large home in York. I am working on a 12m long glazed sun room and we’re working on a spectacular renovation project in Wakefield.

I consider ourselves lucky that we get to work on some of these amazing homes, and they do inspire us to keep making further progress into this part of the market. And the beauty is, once you get on the books of certain builders and architects, repeat work comes fairly easily.

This is just a snapshot of some of the aspects of dealing with higher earners and the projects they bring with them. The reality is that a hell of a lot more work and effort goes on behind the scenes that I haven’t mentioned above. And from a business point of view, it is a very profitable avenue that we intend to keep on expanding.

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