A dedication to service

L-R: Brendan Clancy and Max Lowles
L-R: Brendan Clancy and Max Lowles

Glass Times editor, Luke Wood, visits Devon based installer ADS Windows & Doors, a company that has enjoyed significant success since its launch in 2009 and which is now targeting further growth through its burgeoning commercial operations.

Based in Ivybridge, Devon, ADS Windows & Doors was established in 2009 with just three office-based employees and one team of fitters.

Since then, ADS has grown significantly. It now boasts a team of 40 people along with a healthy commercial installation business that has further expanded the company’s reach along the south coast and up country to within touching distance of the Midlands.

What’s the secret to its success? According to general manager, Max Lowles, who as a founding member of ADS has been at the heart of the business since its inception, there are several contributing factors – with great service being one of the most important.

“When we first established the company, it wasn’t long after the financial crisis of 2008, but we knew we had a great location in terms of demographic, with lots of high value postcodes in the South Hams area – as well as close proximity to Plymouth and Exeter,” says Max.

“We were given an initial boost thanks to a big Devon & Cornwall Housing Association contract, but at the time we were predominantly focusing on the home improvement market, with a 70/30 split retail to commercial.

“Since then we have enjoyed strong organic growth, through decent, honest service and by not pushing for the hard sell,” he continues. “We’re extremely customer focussed, we offer a good price backed up with a great after sales service and we now even have a dedicated service engineer.

“He’s there to resolve any snags, as efficiently and effectively as possible and that all contributes to further enhancing our reputation. It’s part of the reason we have so many referrals and repeat business.”

And when the pandemic hit, Max says that – like other installation firms across the UK – demand for home improvements was ‘crazy’, even when it became apparent that the boom wouldn’t last forever.

“We were very busy of course, but we could see that it wouldn’t last,” he says. “We made a decision early on to make sure that we were well positioned to take advantage of demand at the higher end of the market when the volume started to drop away.

“As a result, we’re now an accredited supplier and installer of Origin products, and we’ve also introduced Spitfire doors as well as ultra-premium timber and hybrid timber/aluminium products from Rationel and Velfac.

“We also do well with our Endurance composites, which have made a big difference from our previous supplier – which suffered from around 90% call-backs – and roughly 50% of our Epwin PVC products are now foiled.

“That’s helped us to achieve a record year for retail sales in 2023, despite a reduction in volume to pre-pandemic levels in the latter part of the year,” says Max.

But as he explains further, there’s more to ADS than just offering the right products and great customer service. As a privately owned, well capitalised company, one that enjoys good staff retention and a family ethos, it is able to take a long-term view on business decisions – and this also applies to the commercial side of the firm, which has grown significantly with the addition of Brendan Clancy, ADS’ head of commercial.

Commercial growth

“We’ve invested heavily in our commercial services, including accreditations, staff and vans and we now operate all along the south coast, up to Gloucester and even as far as the midlands,” says Brendan. “We are now one of Epwin’s biggest customers for commercial projects and we enjoy a lot of support from them, but we also win business because of our own reputation.

“Again, it’s down to service and communication, but it’s also due to the fact we’re highly dependable. Contractors know that we will turn up on time, get the job done to a high standard and we only want paying when the job is done. We make life easy for our customers and that’s a big selling point.”

As a result of its expanding commercial operations, ADS is now well set to becoming a larger, regional player.

Combined with a healthy order book – it has also expanded into fire doors and is looking to expand into commercial glazing and commercial repairs – ADS has a very positive outlook for 2024 and beyond.