Say Vertical Slider to any installer and ten years ago they wouldn’t have given it a second look. Today however the VS has climbed down from the lofty perch of the ‘heritage’ niche and is now a vital part of many installers’ arsenal.
Much of that transformation is thanks to companies like Quickslide. Having kept the faith with the VS, Quickslide continue to combine an authentic-looking frame with good performance and realistic pricing, therefore making it more accessible to a wider audience.
Where there is good value however, there is always the temptation to sell cheap – and the window industry is not short of those who will do that – but Quickslide Chairman Adrian Barraclough says there is nothing to gain from slashing margins:
“The customers don’t expect it and they will not thank you for doing it. In most cases, the homeowner will not go for the cheapest price. They can see that a VS is a complex product and they want the assurance that they are choosing one that is well-made and reliable. If you cut your own throat on price, they are more likely to presume it is a cheaply made product and choose someone else’s.”
Continuing, he adds, “We are able to offer our VSs at such a competitive price because of our efficient manufacturing processes; we can make a quality product in less time and still make profit. That means there is plenty of room for an installer to do the same – ask a reasonable price that a customer is happy to pay and still make a decent margin. There will always be people in this industry who offer a cheap product at a cheap price, and they often go bust in the process, but a sensible installer should not need to do that. If you offer a quality product at a fair price, then homeowners will reward you, first by giving you the work and then by recommending you to friends.”
Quickslide has been at the forefront of developing the Vertical Slider as a good value mainstream product, as Adrian explains:
“Once you can offer the homeowner a good-looking, reasonably priced Vertical Slider, you are opening up a whole range of opportunities because they are looking at it as one of the entire range of styles, not just the niche function of choosing one VS that is needed to replace another.”
“We have not only developed a highly authentic looking window and maintained a reasonable price for the range, we have also continued to develop a product that meets the demand for high specification – especially in terms of energy efficiency – as well as an authentic appearance. On the one hand, the Quickslide frame detail itself is very faithful to the traditional timber frame, as well as a very comprehensive range of hardware. There is no doubt that if anyone chooses a Quickslide VS over timber, the biggest difference they will see is the price.”
Explaining the other benefits, Adrian says, “Then on the other hand, they will soon see a big difference in heating bills. We offer not only a ‘B’ Rating as standard but also the choice of ‘A’ Rated. This gives one of the most energy-efficient PVC-U VS frames available in the UK, with a potential of achieving ‘A+8.’ This is something that is obviously very important to the consumer and we are now finding more and more of them are going for the more energy-efficient options.”
Technical developments are ongoing in other areas too. The company has achieved Secured by Design on all casement windows and introduced a facility to add run-through horns and bespoke foiling.
Just as important as the product is the service and support that are so much a part of Quickslide’s reputation, and something to which Adrian attributes to his earlier experience in other industries where customer service has been an essential of good business for much longer.
“We’re proud to say that Quickslide installers see us more as partners than just a material supplier. If they have a problem, we recognise it as our problem too and work together with them on solving it,” Adrian explains. “For example, we know that they benefit greatly from our website and make a lot of use of it but we will always back that up with real personal contact. This is especially welcome to those customers who are less familiar with the internet but even the most internet-aware appreciate it too.”
Trade customers can also benefit from Keystrom Ltd, a Quickslide initiative providing web design, online ordering facilities, graphic design and branding support such as POS material, product-specific brochures etc.
Quickslide also offers interactive video guides, automated e-marketing to follow up brochure requests and online enquiries and back-end reporting tools for installers who register online. Soon, they will also have product and delivery tracking through the website.
Part of Quickslide’s commitment to quality has been its investment in carrying out as many manufacturing functions as possible in-house at its 150,000sq ft. state-of-the-art factory in Brighouse, West Yorkshire. As well as conventional frame fabrication and in-house profile foiling, the company now produces its own curved and arched profile. It also manufactures its own IGUs, and as of last year has its own automatic gas filling and a new Superspacer line.
Quickslide is best-known for its acclaimed Vertical Slider range but, as many of its installers know and appreciate, it also produces a comprehensive range of windows and doors of all styles and designs.