Don't Overlook the Obvious
During the first nine months of 2003, Atlanta, GA, issued nearly
40,600 permits for new, single-family homes, according to the U.S.
Bureau of the Census. That puts the city at the top of the list
for metro markets (see page 14). Overall, across the United States
nearly 1.1 million such permits were issued last year. The National
Association of Home Builders (NAHB), using data from the Census
Bureau and the National Association of Realtors, estimates that
when the final numbers for 2003 are tallied, 1.07 million new homes
would have been sold.
In its “Housing Facts, Figures and Trends 2004” NAHB reports
“new homes today are larger and have more amenities than ever
before.” The median new home today is 2,123 square feet, with
the largest portion (22 percent) between 1,600 and 1,999 square
feet. And—get this—each new, single-family home has, on
average, 19 windows. Do a little rounding off and some quick math
and you get a whole bunch of windows out there that
New home construction, obviously, is a prime target for many window
coverings retailers. Month after month, many of the successful dealers
we’ve profiled say their businesses are located in regions
with a considerable amount of new construction going on. But perhaps
this market is too prime of a target.
At least one very successful, national window treatment franchise
refers to new construction as “the low-hanging fruit.”
These are new homeowners faced with the need to cover their 19 new
windows—and cover them quickly, no doubt. You might think this
makes them an easy sell, but so do all of your competitors. And
are they a “quality” sell? It’s not inexpensive to
cover a whole houseful of windows, so for many of these new homeowners
price is the first concern.
Assuredly, marketing to new construction is way to get your foot,
literally, in the door. Treating these customers the right way now
will bring them back to you when they’re ready to upgrade.
But here’s an important fact from NAHB’s estimates: by
the end of 2003, slightly more than 6 million existing homes would
have been sold—six times as many new homes. These are homes
that already are in your marketing area—no long drives out
to the ever-expanding suburbs. These are homes in which the new
owners might well be asking the seller, “By the way, who did
your windows?” These are homes your competitors, looking for
a quick-sell, could be overlooking.