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February 23rd, 2022 by Nathan Hobbs

Residential Revival

By Manny Hondroulis

Prior to the housing crash of 2008, most flat glass window film dealers were heavily involved in residential installations, overwhelmingly preferring them to commercial. After all, who wouldn’t prefer the higher margins, faster payment terms and shorter sales cycles associated with the residential market? Then an economic downturn occurred as housing values plummeted. The residential window film market dried up quickly. Many of those dealers who didn’t forecast the housing crisis are no longer in the industry. But dealers who did pursued the commercial market
and were well-poised to satisfy growing demand.

By 2014, data suggested that consumers were spending money on their homes. New kitchens, baths, additions and other improvements were being made. Yet window film didn’t seem to be one of those spends, at least not on a needle-moving basis. Seven years later, it still doesn’t seem that the residential window film market has returned to its pre-2008 levels—at least not on a relative scale when compared to commercial.

Fast forward to 2020, a pandemic forced consumers to stay (and work from) home. Now comfort, privacy, security, fading and glare are on every homeowners’ radar. Not every dealer may be positioned to benefit from the spike in demand, but there are steps we can take.

It is important to make sure that your digital presence reflects your commitment to the residential market. Ask yourself the following questions: How strong is the residential content on my website? Am I posting pictures of residential installations on Facebook and Instagram? Am I doing any digital advertising geared toward the homeowner? Am I targeting the correct keywords?

Traditional Advertising

When installing film in a housing development, do you install a lawn sign advertising your business (assuming your clients provide permission) to neighbors? Do you place hangers on neighboring front doors (assuming the law or homeowners’ association allows)? Does your truck have your logo, or is it fully wrapped, for neighbors to see?

Cross-Promotion

How many automotive dealers make the most of every customer interaction by promoting residential films? Are your automotive clients even aware that you can also tint their homes? Is there merchandising in your waiting room advertising the benefits of residential window film?

Sales Presentations

How effective are your sales presentations? Are you bringing the appropriate demonstration tools? Furniture fade and comfort are typically the two biggest reasons why a buyer wants window film for their home. Do you have the proper sales tools (BTU meter, heat lamp, UV tester, thermometer, etc.) to show the performance of the films you are promoting? Not only do consumers want to see what film looks like, they want to feel what it can do.

And don’t forget security. Given the civil unrest and division that has plagued this country for many years, security is becoming more important to homeowners.

These marketing and sales suggestions were commonplace before 2008. But as the industry shifted to creating and responding to commercial demand, many of us forgot the basics associated with a successful residential business. If you’re looking to cash in on the residential demand associated with COVID, just dust off your old residential business plans, update them to include the latest strategies in digital marketing, and work to get back to pre-2008 levels. It would be great for the consumer … and the industry!

Manny Hondroulis is the vice president of Energy Distribution Products in Baltimore.

To view the laid-in version of this article in our digital edition, CLICK HERE.

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