The sweet spot

Nathan Court
Nathan Court

There has never been a better time to sell and install aluminium bi-folding doors, according to Sternfenster’s sales director Nathan Court, but only if you choose the right suppliers.

Once reserved for prestigious projects, aluminium bi-fold doors have come to represent an affordable high-end home upgrade for many homeowners not directly affected by the cost-of-living crisis, Sternfenster’s sales director, Nathan Court, believes.

In turn, he says, this creates a valuable opportunity for retail companies to build-in significant margin into their offering, while remaining competitive.

“We have reached a pivotal point in the life cycle of the aluminium bi-folding door,” Nathan explains. “Once the preserve of elite properties, bi-folds are now being chosen by more homeowners looking to bring light and space into their homes.

“But we haven’t reached the point where price is being driven down to stupidly low levels, so a healthy margin can be realistically built-in to the price. We are in a bit of a sweet spot, if you like.”

Despite these perfect market conditions, Nathan also believes that margin could be lost to inefficient installations, and unnecessary return trips to site if the right supply partners aren’t found.

“Profitability doesn’t stop with the price of the product,” Nathan says. “Many factors can affect the margin that you end up securing, including delivery times, ease of installation, marketing tools – all important considerations when pricing and completing jobs.

“Sternfenster will be turning 50 next year, which means our products have been made for the trade for half a century. We didn’t get here by accident. Key to our success is the close relationship we have with our customers, and understanding how we can make them more profitable.”

Sternfenster manufactures and supplies the Visofold 1000 Smarts bi-fold to the trade, which is undergoing a design upgrade to include time-saving knock-in beads and co-extruded gaskets. The Lincoln-based trade fabricator also promises delivery to site in just five days – complete with the glazing, and other products, such as the casement windows.

“This is what 50 years in the industry has taught us: you may get interest with a headline offering, but in the real world, installers need complete orders and consistency across all product ranges. If you keep returning to site to meet the deliveries for the separate components of a project, you will eat directly into your profit margin because each of those journeys costs money.

“So confident are we with this five-day offer that we will take £100 off your next bi-fold order if we miss it.

“And once those products are on site, you don’t want to pay your fitters for unnecessary time spent installing them, and thanks to the new upgrades – which will include easy knock-in beads, adjustable hinges, and co-extruded gaskets – your time on site can be reduced dramatically.”

Sternfenster supports this sales process with a virtual showroom, online quoting engine, and simplified online communications – all accessed via its EasyAdmin service.

“You could say it’s taken us 50 years to get to where we are today,” Nathan says. “But the reality is, producing an attractive, secure and thermally efficient bi-folding door is only part of the equation. Real efficiencies can be found in the reliable delivery schedule, online marketing support, and ease of installation.

“This way, the margin you price-in at the start of the job should be the margin you walk away with!”