The pandemic may have left many home improvement companies feeling punch drunk, as they recover from the surge in demand following lockdown, but they may not have profited as much as they had hoped.
Typically, companies’ profit margins shrank as 2021 progressed. The overriding reason for this was that many installations were priced before the supply chain issues hit (which resulted in unavoidable price rises across the board). So, when window and door products were eventually installed the profit margin had been eaten away significantly.
“Many business owners are going to be scratching their heads wondering where all their profit has disappeared to,” Deceuninck Aluminium’s Director Nigel Headford said. “Rising input costs, which have not been offset by price increases at the retail end, are one issue, but if you then factor-in call backs, profits will be squeezed further.
“I reckon we’re going to see a lot of bumper top lines, but very meagre bottom lines come the end of the financial year.”
Nigel explained that this was because volume is still king in many people’s eyes. Suppliers to this sector tend to be a known quantity, and high volume usually means the supply is secure. In short: if the supply chain is working efficiently, you can virtually guarantee your profits, even if the margin is slim.
The coronavirus threw this model out of the window, and home improvement companies have re-evaluated their core business strategies, because those slim margins were eroded to nothing.
“Top of this reassessment is targeting the higher value, higher margin market,” Nigel said. “And with the right suppliers you can do this almost effortlessly because the homeowners are demanding better.”
While the squeeze on the cost of living is currently in the news, with tax rises and energy price increases on the way, this ignores the fact that many people are emerging from the pandemic with sizeable disposable incomes.
It is an established fact that people are choosing to work from home – even as the health risk subsides – and the subsequent increase in demand is expected to last right through until the end of 2022 at the earliest.
Furthermore, this is opening up the higher value market, which is further buoyed by a greater focus on sustainability issues, and energy efficiency in particular.
“With energy prices quite literally going through the roof, homeowners will want to do what they can to hold on to the heat they already generate,” Nigel said. “And with our Decalu range, we have a very attractive proposition.”
The Decalu88 Aluminium Bi-folding Door boasts U-values are as low as 0.68W/m2K, which not only makes it match-fit come July when the Building Regulations are tightened, but it will meet the expected values for the Future Homes Standard in 2025.
It has been designed with a high-performance EPDM, co-extruded pre-inserted gasket with rigid PVC-U backing. This eliminates the manual insertion of the gasket and puts an end to gasket shrinkage and subsequent callbacks, protecting profit margins.
It is also very straightforward to install, with many fitting teams boasting multiple installs in one day.
“Aside from the formidable energy credentials, the Decalu range gives home improvement companies the design freedom to create the higher value projects that homeowners are currently demanding,” Nigel said.
“The Decalu163, for example, is a highly engineered lift-and-slide door. It accommodates incredible individual sash weights – up to 400kg – which creates real design flexibility.
“And, the same as the rest of our offer, it’s available in dual-colour and marine-grade finishes as standard, generating a lot of high margin opportunities for installers.”
Another striking product in Deceuninck Aluminium’s range is the Decalu88 Aluminium Entrance Door – an aspirational door that single-handedly boosts kerb appeal and elevates the status of the front door.
The Decalu88 Residential Door delivers a number of USPs. With a wide choice of flush and glazed in door slabs, consumer appeal is one. Contemporary sightlines and sophisticated styling give it reach in a wide variety of applications. Its true USP, however, is a maximum bowing tolerance of only 2.5mm under heat stress.
Deceuninck Aluminium uses a pre-rolled high-performance polyamide thermal-breaking system throughout its range, including the Decalu88 Entrance Door.
Where it differs from the rest of the range is that in Decalu88, it also features special ABS inserts which adapt to temperature change allowing the internal and external faces to expand and contract independently of one another, limiting bowing to a maximum of 2.5mm – even in extreme heat.
The system also works in reverse, so that even on the coldest day, deflection in the door is limited to no more than 3.5mm at temperatures as low as -30°C. To put that into context, the average wintertime temperature in the Arctic is -34°C.
With ultra-low maximum bowing tolerances, limitations on door design are removed. This includes the specification of dark colours on south-facing elevations.
This core stability also means that it achieves high levels of weather performance and sealing, offering a contemporary flush sash option across 21 styles, in addition to 30 insert panel options.
So, as the pandemic made people question the sense behind the high-volume model, businesses are starting to focus on fewer projects, but with higher margins.
“This is only possible if you have the right products, and many older systems on the market don’t,” Nigel said. “You need to partner with a supplier which has created products with a grand designs focus throughout its range, and has energy efficiency at its core.”
For more information call 01249 816 969, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.deceuninck.co.uk