The Owners Blog: "You are much cheaper than your competition"


Answering some of our most common questions.

" You are much cheaper than your competition. "
In some respects the words above are music to our ears. It is not usually something we hear when we are doing quotations, but is is said quite often to the installers. There is however another aspect to this that is very frustrating for us. In December when things are getting quiet before Christmas, we phone round the quotations that we have done in the previous year that have not resulted in sales. We do this to find out if there is anything we can change or improve.
In most cases the customers have still not made a decision, but increasingly we are told that as our prices were so low the customer bought elsewhere as they feared that there must be some compromise on quality. I would like to take this opportunity to explain the facts and the arithmetic on this subject.
1. Cost base. We endeavour to spend as little as we possibly can on overheads, as the customer inevitably has to pay for these costs in the price of the product. We do not have commission only salesman, who are normally paid in the region of 10% commission on orders. Our depots are also our showrooms, and although we try to show as many products as possible in them, they are not palatial and costly high street buildings. In Swindon for example we are experimenting with only having a depot without a showroom inside. We are doing this as only 5% of our customers visited the depot/showroom that we had there previously. Our surveyors can show samples of most products if you want to see them in your home. We have recently installed a central phone service meaning that one person can take calls for any of the depots and transfer the call directly to the person that the call is intended for. This means we have one rather than three receptionists.
2. Marketing. The most difficult part of retailing windows and doors is finding customers. It is also the most costly. Thirty years ago I was a Director of Weatherseal, which is now part of a national group, so I know the costs that they incurred. Today we have national companies constantly advertising on the television. I would estimate that this represents between 15 and 20% of their sales costs. We currently spend 3% of our turnover on marketing. Every year this cost reduces as our word of mouth and existing customer sales increase, and they have zero marketing spend attached to them.
3. Quality. We offer one of the highest specification products on the market. As you will know if you have examined our website, we do not make outrageous claims about our products, or say that we are the only company in the world to supply a particular type of glass etc. We can backup our claim of high specification - all of our uPVC windows are BS7412 certified, PAS24:2016 certified, and all have a Window Energy Rating of  "A" (A+ for our 40mm Triple glazed windows). We don't offer a "premium" option or a "budget" option, our standard window contains the best specification we can achieve at the time of manufacture. Please don’t take my word for this. You are welcome to see and touch almost all of our products in your own home or at our showrooms. Alternatively we can even arrange for you to visit an existing customer.
When we try to calculate exact savings it can only be an estimate. As Safestyle is a Public Company it has to publish figures and from these we can see that in the first half of 2016 their average product value was £599. Our average in the same period was £280. We are approximately 45% less expensive. My estimate of this is that we have 10% saving on sales costs, 17% on marketing, and probably 10-15% on our cost base. I hope that this demonstrates how a business can offer quality and value without compromises.
Will Nicoll - Owner of