Your choice of brand has implications for various parts of the operation.
Builders are loyal to brands that offer the features, benefits and durability they require. With doors and windows, most settle on one or two brands that meet their price and performance specs, and that offer strong warranties they know the dealer and manufacturer will stand behind.
When deciding which brands to align with, large-volume builders obviously want a breadth of product that will serve them across all their home models without adding unneeded complexity. To simplify the specification process, they may opt for a base product with various options in glass grille patterns, so they can use it in different neighborhoods with different styles.
This type of consistency also pays off in the sales process. “By sticking with a few trusted brands you’re better able to explain their features, benefits and advantages to the buyer,” says Scott Alden, a North Carolina-based architectural representative with window and door manufacturer JELD-WEN.
This is important when working with home buyers whose only knowledge about the brand is what they’ve read on the internet because the product information they get there can be leave them misinformed about important issues.
“At most, only half of the home buyers I work with have an accurate understanding of brand differences,” says Joe LeFlore, owner of South Florida Millwork in Naples, Florida. “They’ll look online for information that compares the performance of different window brands, but that information doesn’t always give the whole picture. For instance, product comparisons often don’t factor in where the windows are being installed, but just because they excel in the cold, wet Northeast or in cold and dry Colorado doesn’t mean they will do the same in a hot/humid climate like South Florida.”
To provide education that counters these misconceptions, the builder’s sales staff needs an intimate understanding of the window and door products they offer. A strong business partnership with the manufacturer is key to obtaining the technical knowledge that the sales staff will need.
Part of this is a good relationship with the manufacturer’s field representative. While custom builders are more apt to take advantage of this asset, production companies shouldn’t overlook it. “We can offer the production builder valuable input during the design phase,” says Alden. “We can also walk the sales staff through the product choices and upgrades that are available for their buyers.”
After the home has been sold and built, the big issue becomes warranty support. While it’s crucial to work with a manufacturer with a track record of supporting its products, how the windows are manufactured and labeled also plays a role.
“With community-scale projects, we usually get specific P.O.s for specific lots,” says Alden. He says that even if an order includes hundreds of identical windows, having each one manufactured and labeled for a particular lot and home can pay off for the homeowner later on. “If everything has a serial number that relates to that order, then if the customer has a problem, even if it’s ten years down the road, we can track the window back to the original order.”
For window and door resources and tools for builders, visit JELD-WEN’s professional portal.