Michael Collins offered NWDA members many reasons to be optimistic.

“Last year at this time it was tough to be an optimist,” said Michael Collins, vice president of the building products group at Jordan, Knauff and Co., when he addressed attendees of the Northeast Window and Door Association this week. But this year, he says, is a different story.

“If you’re not finding optimism now you should probably re-think things, because clearly there are signs of optimism,” said Collins.

Collins pointed out, however, that the industry is now in a “new normal.”

“We’re not going to get back to two million housing starts,” said Collins. “Builders are doing the right thing. Again this is part of the new normal that we all have to adjust to.”

Regarding the coming outlook, Collins said, “2011 will be a little better [than 2010], while 2012 will be strong.”

Collins encouraged attendees to take advantage of some unique marketing opportunities, including one centered on those homeowners who will receive their first-time homebuyer tax credit this year.

“If I were a residential window company, I would do an ad campaign saying, ‘use that money on new windows.’”

“It’s a proven statistic that people remodel within two years of buying,” added Collins, “and that’s when we didn’t have a homebuyer tax credit.”

Collins also addressed the ending of the $1,500 windows tax credit which expired December 31, 2010, and what effect, if any, this will have on the industry.

“There were builders who said after the homebuyer credit expired no one came through a home for up to 50 days. Will the same vacuum be created?” asked Collins.

He then answered his own question saying, “If there was a vacuum you would have seen it immediately.”

Collins also encouraged manufacturers and their dealers to be creative when it comes to marketing. He told the story of one dealer who said, “I’ll pay your heating bill for the month.” This was due to homeowner concerns of energy that would be lost due to the window installation.

“If you are creative you will do well,” said Collins. “If that dealer would have said, ‘I’ll give you a $300 discount’—big deal. But the homeowners loved the fact that the dealer would pay the utility bill.”

Although Collins says he talks to many window companies who are doing well, still, it is by no means an easy market.

“It’s a slug-it-out kind of market,” said Collins. “Even the ones that are doing well are slugging it out.”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *