Clearview South Feb 2013 - Issue 135 - Page 84

REPAIRS&MAINTENANCE Does austere mean repair? The UK’s Door and Window industry has been suffering in recent years. That’s no surprise: the economic downturn, cut backs to social housing developments and the discretional nature of private housing improvements have all played their part. It’s tough, but are there still opportunities? James Fielder of Experwin Windows, an installation company from Bristol commented: “we’ve seen a real shift in our customer’s attitude. A large part of our work comes from private householders who simply can’t afford replacements at present. Customers’ motivation to replace their windows or doors is often driven by damage or failure and we have a noticed a real shift in their mindset.” Very often the hardware is the first to fail. Jammed doors, sticky windows, sagging handles and tarnished hinges all prompt householders to consider upgrading. What happens when they can’t afford to do so? window. But who did they call? Despite most installation companies having more experience than anyone else in the sector, very few carry out remedial repairs. There has been a gap in the market that a new breed of business has grown to fill. Alex Pugh, Marketing Executive at Duffells says: “Over the past 5 years we have seen an explosion in the number of specialised UPVC and multipoint locking repair companies on our books. Servicing a part of the industry that has been historically neglected, these repair companies offer a very specialised service to meet growing demand.” Estimates place the average life of a typical multipoint lock at 12 years – much shorter than the life of the door materials themselves. Furniture tarnishes quickly, friction stays are prone to accidental damage and espags seize and corrode. In an ideal world the customer would merrily place an order for a complete set of windows and doors but more often than not, they opt to repair the door and make do. Put the big bill off for when times are better. Window and door hardware normally comes with a warranty but consumers are often either unaware or unable to find the original installer. So a quick flick through the Yellow Pages or internet search and £200 lighter, the house owner has a working door or ‘there are lots of opportunities for installers that the locksmith industry cannot cater for’ For the most part, these specialist repair companies are former installers, or ex employees of installers. Driven by the demand from consumers to repair rather than replace: it’s a rapidly growing market. The remainder of the market is serviced by locksmiths and general maintenance companies, who in most cases, tend not to be expert in doors and windows. “The first call that a house owner with a sticky or jammed UPVC door makes is to their local UPVC company” says James Fielder. “Before we saw the potential we would routinely fail to convert leads and subsequently turn down work in favour of a local locksmith company. Our installation department has always been busy, so we are lucky, but there are quieter times and we hated turning down profitable work.” “Replacing a bent friction stay, saggy handle or seized multipoint lock takes minutes and we keep the customer on our database. When they are in a position to upgrade, our conversion rates are superb. More often than not, the customer also has other work that needs carrying out while on site. ” There are lots of opportunities for installers that the locksmith industry cannot cater for. Misted sealed units are often overlooked by homeowners but present extra business for the installer carrying out a repair. Retaining the customer’s details on your database provides obvious advantages for future business. The repair industry isn’t straightforward and does present challenges. Repeat visits are inefficient and identifying and replacing 20 y V"B62B&Gv&R2WfW"V7vWfW"7V6Ɨ7B7WƖW'2&R&RF7Wǒ7B&GV7G2#BW'2BvF2FW&FfW2&RWfVf&Rf"fW'BBF66FVVB&GV7G2bFW&V( CFVFR7W7FW"&VǒvVVBFBWrF"F2V"N( 2W7FFVBFBW7BVFW"R֖ƖVFB62v6RFFRVBbFV"ƖfRFN( 2vgVBbWrF'2'WBbFR7W7FW"6( BVFR7G&WF6FBf"66FW"FRFW"'GVFW2FB֖vB&Rf&Rࠣ@dT"#0F&VB&Rf6Bwwr6V'fWrV6Р