Wednesday, 6 March 2013


Flux and flow in glazing trends and replacement demand has always affected sales. But today, the challenges faced by fabricators and installers are tougher than ever. Simon Spiers, managing partner of Patiomaster South East, explores the problems, and looks at how buying in and installing high quality patio doors can help a business to stand the test of time.

Given its dependence on the construction sector – both the new build market, and in repairs, maintenance and improvements – business opportunities have slowed considerably for the glazing industry.

Add to that the arrested UK housing market and the impact this can have on demand for home improvements and times have been tough. Many people choose to improve a house and put their stamp on it not long after they’ve moved in, but since there are very few people moving, many of the traditional sales leads for glazing have dried up.

However, despite struggles in the market, the fact remains that light, airy living space is still desirable and there is opportunity in the ‘improve, don’t move’ market, even if the sector is a little strapped for cash.

 The introduction of the Green Deal to the domestic market means that the opportunity there could be on the increase. The coalition Government’s flagship green enterprise, as well as the ECO scheme for fuel-poor households, is intended to make energy efficiency measures affordable to all, hopefully stimulating sales opportunity where there might have been none.

But with most businesses eager for more work, how can installers capitalise on this opportunity and remain competitive?

It is easy to praise the virtues of a patio door to a homeowner - it can transform a room into a light, airy space, and bring the outdoors in - but a quality in-line sliding patio door can do much more.

 With increased thermal efficiency, an in-line sliding patio door can potentially save the homeowner money on their energy bills. As well as the obvious first-hand benefits to the property, an installation resulting in a more comfortable, warm home environment reflects better on the installer, and could lead to repeat business or recommendations.

Efficient glazing, along with good insulation and heating controls, forms the basis of an energy-efficient home, and will make up the foundations, so to speak, of any Green Deal works. With the Green Deal making energy efficiency a priority and bringing the issue into the public’s consciousness, the scheme could facilitate home improvement where it may not have been financially possible before. These customers though, will be looking for a higher quality product, with better u-values, to translate into higher savings on their energy bills.

Increased security can also be a strong selling point of higher quality patio doors. Preventing a break-in can save the homeowner on hassle, costly repairs and hiked insurance premiums. This peace of mind can again lead to repeat business or recommendations for the installer.

A third benefit to the homeowner – though most of all to the installer’s profit margin – is that a higher quality door inevitably means fewer callbacks and replacements. As part of a nationwide network of fabricators, Patiomaster is able to swiftly turn around any queries within a day or two. Thankfully, it’s a rare occurrence, but if it does happen, we can deal with them quickly and efficiently, providing maximum support to installers.

 Above all, it is important that installers offer competitive prices without cutting corners. This might mean a higher capital cost than the alternative, lower grade products, but the benefits of this echo through from the fabricator, to installer, to homeowner.

Patiomaster South East has been an authorized fabricator since April 2002, and is part of a nationwide network of fabricators. As the UK’s leading patio door manufacturer, Patiomaster specialises in designing and building made to measure patio doors, providing a localised service, wherever its customers are based. 

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