Questions about timber
Allan Brothers is part of the Inwido Group which, in the UK, also includes the well-established trade fabricator CWG Choices. Unsurprisingly then, we were represented at the recent CWG Choices Spring Open Days demonstrating our range of timber windows and doors, and that gave us a great opportunity to talk directly to installers about getting into the timber market and answer any questions they might have.
Most of the people we spoke to were already fitting both PVCU and aluminium products and were considering adding timber windows and doors to their product portfolio as a new route into targeting the buoyant premium market.
Most of them recognised that they were missing out on potentially lucrative business from customers who have already decided that they want timber in their homes and that nothing else will do, and acknowledged that any installers’ premium product range is increasingly incomplete without a timber option.
They wanted to address that gap but, while they were incredibly knowledgeable and experienced in both PVCU and aluminium, they were almost all complete novices when it comes to timber. Interestingly, most of the questions they asked were remarkably similar, highlighting a general lack of awareness about buying and installing timber windows and doors, even among long-established retail installation businesses.
Most installers were looking for a partner who could give them the same level of support on timber as they receive from CWG Choices on their other products. Of course, because Allan Brothers and CWG Choices are part of the same group, we can easily guarantee that.
Many were concerned about lead times, which traditionally have been up to 12 weeks on bespoke timber products. We were able to reassure them that Allan Brothers now has consistent six-week lead times. This might be longer than on PVCU, but it is in line with many aluminium suppliers and is easily factored into an installation schedule.
Some were also concerned that that they could only buy via merchants with whom they might not have accounts or relationships. Again, we were able to explain that Allan Brothers gives them the option of buying via merchants, via CWG Choices, or from us direct.
Very few of them had ever installed timber windows and doors before and were looking for specialist help and advice. In general, I would argue that bespoke timber products are actually easier to install than either PVCU or aluminium, as long as they have been surveyed correctly, and thankfully that is where we come in; our own specialist team always looks to partner with customers no matter who they buy from, supporting them with sales, helping them onsite with surveying, and guaranteeing to quote any enquiry in just 48 hours.
Of course, installers also wanted to be reassured about the quality of the timber windows they buy. Our advice was simply to look for fully warrantied products like ours, which come with a 10-year guarantee on the painted finish and a 30-year guarantee against warping and rot.
Over the two CWG Choices Open Days, we met more than 30 installers who said they are considering buying Allan Brothers frames. As a proportion of the total number who attended, that was a very encouraging illustration of how interest in timber is growing.
In response to this, we are now planning our own Open Days at the Allan Brothers factory in Berwick-upon-Tweed in June, giving all those installers who are interested in timber the opportunity to come and see for themselves how our hand-crafted products are made, and have a look around our impressive brand new showroom.
More details on the Open Day will be available shortly.
By Wolfgang Gorner, Sales Director at Allan Brothers