Making the most of support packages

Pioneer’s Danny Williams answers your questions. This month: “I own a small but successful installation company in the Midlands, installing PVCU and aluminium windows, composite doors and conservatories. I have been approached by the manufacturer of the PVCU system that we install to join its ‘registered installer scheme’. Are these things worth the paper they are written on?” AK, West Midlands

The short answer is ‘yes, of course they are’. Anything that gives you any sort of support with your marketing and promotion has to be a good thing. It then depends upon what sort of commitment they expect from you.

Every systems company worth its salt has a marketing support scheme of one sort or another; it’s pretty much an essential, with the question more about why a company does not have one if that is the case.

And while support schemes have been around for donkeys’ years to provide benefits for fabricators to then pass on to their customers, the bias more recently has been to target installers directly. One of the reasons for this is that the systems companies want a more direct relationship with installers with the hope that if they lose a fabricator customer, they still have a hope of hanging on to the installers.

In fairness, the main purposes behind these schemes are to encourage sales; if an installer performs better, then everyone in the chain behind them benefits. More lately such schemes include mechanisms that establish the credibility of the installer, carrying with them the ‘approved’ tag. Much of this is hot air, but from the point of view of Mr and Mrs Jones it can be comforting and the difference between asking the installer to call or not.

Network Veka has successfully been doing this sort of thing for years, although some believe it could have had more ooomph. Nonetheless, it remains the benchmark and full marks for those who created it in the first place. The scheme has recently been relaunched, so it will be interesting to see how that develops.

What counts most is not what the scheme brings to you but actually, what you do with it. You introduce yourself as being ‘successful’ and so I must assume that effective marketing is something that has helped you achieve that success. I have looked and you have a half decent website but it could be better – if that is part of the offer from the systems company, then have a good look at it.

Do you produce your own literature and if so how good is it? Most installers are quite happy to use the brochures already available from their main suppliers and that tends to be acceptable for homeowners.

One of the more recent initiatives are training schemes,and these should be fully embraced – bite their hands off for as many spaces on courses that you can secure.  

In short, take what is offered, and make the most of it.