1st Quarter Homebuilding – A Mixed Bag

As one of the homebuilding industry’s leading providers of garage doors, we keep a close eye on national homebuilding trends and statistics. Almost three months into the year, here are a few trends on the kind of building taking place, the pace of building and mortgage rates that help to explain the performance of homebuilding in the first quarter of 2014:  

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  1. Multi-family construction: The Wall Street Journal reported on March 9 that the share of new homes being built as rental apartments is at its highest level in decades. One of the biggest reasons for this, the paper reports, is that job prospects are improving for Millennials. This is allowing them to leave Mom and Dad’s nest or move out of shared homes into their own apartments. At the same time, lending standards are still tight, which is keeping this generation renting instead of buying. In addition, Baby Boomers are downsizing into smaller digs, which leads the paper to predict that there is going to be a greater emphasis on multi-family building for some time to come.
  1. Long cold winter begets slow first quarter: It used to be that only those who live north of the Mason-Dixon line had cause to complain about the weather in the winter – not so this year. Winter storm after winter storm slammed much of the Eastern half of the United States this year, even distributing snow and ice as far south as Atlanta. That cold weather has had an impact on homebuilding, particularly in the Northeast and Midwest. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, building permits in January were down a seasonally adjusted 5.4 percent from the month before, but they were still up 2.4 percent compared to January 2013. It was the same story in November and December, too, with building permits declining month-to-month but still improved over the year-ago periods. In the next few months we should learn if these declines are weather-related or the continuation of a trend.

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  1. Mortgage rates grow … slightly: March 13th saw the release of news from Freddie Mac that mortgage rates climbed to 4.37 percent for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage from 4.28 percent just a week earlier. For 15-year mortgages, the fixed rate moved up to 3.38 percent from 3.32 percent. The mortgage giant’s chief economist noted that the increase was due to a jobs picture that continues to improve.

“Mortgage rates edged up amid a week of light economic reports. Of the few releases, the economy added 175,000 jobs in February, which was above the market consensus forecast and followed an upward revision of 25,000 jobs for the prior two months,” said Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist, Freddie Mac. “Meanwhile, the unemployment rate nudged up to 6.7 percent, the first rate increase in over a year.”

What is homebuilding looking like in your region? Is it picking up, slowing down or remaining steady? Leave a reply below to let us and your fellow Wayne Dalton dealers know what conditions are like in your region.

 

Wayne Dalton Garage Doors: the Builder’s Choice

If you’re a Wayne Dalton dealer, it’s likely that one of your best customers is a local homebuilder. But if you don’t have a homebuilder in your customer database, you’re potentially missing out on a great source of revenue, especially considering that Wayne Dalton garage doors are built to be the garage door of choice for the home building industry.

Since our founding in 1954, Wayne Dalton has become known as a company that doesn’t just meet standards, but sets them for the entire industry. For example, Wayne Dalton invented pinch-resistant door panels, which help prevent homeowners from accidentally getting fingers caught between the sections of a closing door. Wayne Dalton also invented the TorqueMaster® Plus, a system that safely and cleanly contains garage door counterbalance springs inside a steel tube and results in faster installs because the springs are wound with a drill.

Wayne Dalton TorqueMaster® Plus

Wayne Dalton pinch-resistant door panels

 

 

 

 

 

In the last year alone, Wayne Dalton introduced a new carriage house-style Model 6600 steel garage door, a new bi-directional wood grain finish on the Model 8300 Sonoma panel design, as well as the addition of the Sonoma panel design to the Model 8700 Specialty Vinyl line and the Classic Steel 8000, 8100 and 8200 models. These new additions increased an already extensive selection of residential doors – available in wood, classic steel, aluminum, fiberglass and vinyl – that will complement virtually any architectural style a builder takes on.

Here’s something else to keep in mind: our constant innovation and new product introductions are recognized year-after-year throughout the industry. For example, last year we were proud to have won first place in the Best Residential Doors category of Professional Door Dealer’s 2013 Best of Business poll. This came on the heels of winning a Silver Innovation Award in the garage door category from Home Builder Executive magazine in 2012.

These awards mean that as Wayne Dalton develops innovative products, the building industry takes notice! It’s also why many of our dealers tell us that from the smaller production home builder to the custom builder, Wayne Dalton is their choice for garage doors. The builders in your area should be making that choice too.

Do you have an experience with local builders choosing Wayne Dalton garage doors? Leave a response below and let us know.

Dealers: Help Homeowners Take Advantage of the Hot Real Estate Market

It’s official – 2013 was the best year for residential real estate sales since 2006 and according to the National Association of Realtors, 2014 is expected to hold up just as well. For Wayne Dalton dealers, this means there is a lot of opportunity to help homeowners, remodelers and contractors prepare for the spring selling season by suggesting ways to improve their home’s overall value. Luckily, an annual survey of home improvement projects from Remodeling magazine confirms that homeowners need only look to the garage for a great home improvement project.

The magazine’s 2014 Cost vs. Value report, which evaluates common household improvements based on cost and the value homeowners can expect to see from the project at resale, says that garage door replacement is one of the best and most economical projects homeowners can take on, especially compared to other popular home improvement projects like a family room addition, deck addition or a backup generator.

For example, the survey shows that the cost for a mid-range garage door, is about $1,500, and will deliver an average 83.7 percent return on investment (ROI) at resale. For a higher-priced, upscale door that costs around $2,800, the ROI for homeowners is 82.9 percent.

On some homes, a garage door comprises up to 40 percent of a home’s façade, which means a new garage door can make a huge difference to a home’s curb appeal. By pointing both homeowners and remodelers in this direction, Wayne Dalton dealers can help themselves and their customers – they benefit from increased business and their customers recoup the value of the remodel.

To read the full results of this year’s Cost vs. Value study, including detailed cost and value estimates for projects based on location (nine U.S. regions and 101 U.S. cities), visit www.costvsvalue.com.

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And don’t forget, helping your customers find that perfect door is even easier, thanks to the all-new Wayne Dalton Garage Door Design Center. Available at Wayne-Dalton.com, the Garage Door Design Center is a visualization tool that is optimized for viewing from a computer or tablet. Simply upload a photo of your customer’s home and the design center lets you show them what their home will look like with a new Wayne Dalton garage door. If a home photo isn’t available, the tool lets you choose from photos of common home designs to see how Wayne Dalton garage doors complement various architectural styles.

What other tips do you have for homeowners looking to increase the resale value of their home? Let us know by posting a reply.

New Commercial Finish Options from Wayne Dalton Add Beauty, Value

Wayne Dalton dealers: The next time you’re driving around your city or town, take a look at the commercial buildings you pass.

You’ll likely see a mixture of stunning and ugly buildings, Spartan facades and highly decorated ones. Looking at the sides and backs of those buildings will reveal a different picture, especially if those structures have garage doors. What will you see? More often than not, a white and featureless, commercial garage door that doesn’t match the building.

While unassuming white doors have their place, they are often employed too frequently because there are few options available. Realizing this, we’ve introduced two new finishes that will provide your commercial door customers with more options, plus some added value in the form of a more attractive commercial garage door.

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Now available through Partner Connect, Wayne Dalton has added Walnut and Golden Oak bi-directional wood-grain finish options for Sonoma panel designs on the ThermoMark Model 5150. Offered as an upcharge, these finishes are available on Model 5150 doors up to 20-feet, 2-inches wide and up to 20-feet, 1-inch high in 24-inch sections.

Should your customers want glazing, they can choose from among lite insert options, color matched to each finish, that are exactly the same as the on the residential Model 8300 Sonoma.

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For single lites, the inserts are available for any one section (except the bottom section) up to a maximum width of 20-feet, 2-inches and a maximum height of 20-feet, 1-inch. For double lites, inserts are available for sections with a maximum width of 18-feet, 2-inches and a maximum height of 9-feet, 1-inch.

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Wouldn’t you like to see some of these well-designed commercial doors in your town? Contact your Wayne Dalton supply plant or Wayne Dalton district sales manager to find out how you can make it happen.

Wayne Dalton Recognized as Industry Leader in Residential Doors

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Since our founding nearly 60 years ago, we have committed to producing well-crafted, high-quality garage doors, that’s why we are proud to announce that industry professionals from across the country have named Wayne Dalton residential garage doors the best in the business in Professional Door Dealer’s Best of Business poll!

This comes on the heels of last year’s victory when the poll named Wayne Dalton as first place winner in the Best Commercial Door category. Combined, these two awards are great examples of our commitment to manufacturing high-quality commercial and residential products.

In order to provide our dealers and customers with the latest in residential garage door trends, we’ve introduced a number of design upgrades and a new carriage house model over the past 12 months. Our wide selection of residential doors – available in wood, classic steel, aluminum, fiberglass and vinyl – are built to complement any architectural style while satisfying the personal taste of a wide range of homeowners.

Dealers, you can use this award as a strong selling point: If Wayne Dalton residential garage doors are rated as number one by our peers and industry leaders, then your customers should feel comfortable choosing one for their homes and businesses.

We are honored to be recognized for our commitment to quality and craftsmanship. To see our collection of award-winning residential garage doors, visit our web site at www.wayne-dalton.com

Opening Up With Wayne Dalton: Construction Specialties

As part of our Opening Up with Wayne Dalton series we strive to provide you with tips and information that you can use from some of Wayne Dalton’s most successful dealers.  Take a look at what Daniel Burguete, co-owner of Construction Specialties in Brownsville, Texas, has to say about his accomplishments in the commercial market.

Tell us a little bit about Construction Specialties – how long you’ve been in business; how long you’ve been with the company; and, the markets you serve.

As co-owner of Construction Specialties, I have been with the company since day one. We have been in business for almost 20 years and have continued to expand our reach. Our largest market is in Mexico, but we also serve the South Texas border region, Puerto Rico and Brazil.

Tell us about one of your biggest commercial jobs and how you won the business.

Because we are mainly a commercial and industrial dealership, we have accumulated a large number of high-profile projects over time, such as baseball and soccer stadiums like the new Omnilife Stadium for the Chivas, a Mexican football club in Guadalajara. This project required more than $500,000 in Wayne Dalton rolling doors and grilles, so it was a huge project for us. We’ve also installed commercial doors on large distribution centers and storage facilities for Walmart, Costco, H-E-B, and others.

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What is the most important thing to keep in mind when selling commercial doors?

Precision is extremely important in this business. Look at the blueprints for each project and make sure you are duplicating the design as closely as possible. On a similar note, do jobsite checks as much as you can to ensure that things are running smoothly. Before agreeing to do a job, make sure you have the capacity to do the install properly and safely. You should also have everyone in charge sign-off on your plan before moving forward.  Finally, safety and quality control are extremely important if you want to be successful.

Do you have any tips for dealers who are interested in increasing their commercial door sales?

The first thing you’ll want to do is ensure that your sales team is properly trained on Wayne Dalton’s commercial product line. A dedicated and motivated sales force is very important for a dealership’s success in commercial door sales.

Next, make sure to keep extensive records of everything your business does. For example, create industrial sector databases and keep records of client information for future direct mail or email campaigns. Personalize these campaigns by designing materials that highlight products that would be of interest to these specific sectors.

Maintain your online presence by building a strong website and SEO strategy. Cultivate your presence within the contracting community by joining a local chapter of the Association of General Contractors (AGC) and staying in touch with your regional architects and commercial contractors.

When doing the bid work, pay personal visits and leave a company binder with your product lines. If this is not possible, campaign electronically to all potential clients frequently, making sure to include relevant and important information about your company.

Most importantly, focus on customer care and build relationships. Make each and every client feel like they are getting the best care from your company.

Tell us about the most interesting or unique commercial install you’ve done.

We’ve done many interesting installs over the years, and there are a few that stand out, either because of the size of the projects or the time constraints that we faced.

For example, we installed a 75-foot-wide Wayne Dalton aluminum and glass section door with four mullion separations for Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers, a company that auctions heavy construction and farm equipment.

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Two Walmart jobs also standout. One project required us to install 56 sectional doors in Guadalajara, Mexico, in one night. We did it in 10 hours with four installation crews. This was definitely one of our biggest challenges, but we had a great crew and I was there to personally make sure the job was completed properly and on time. We also installed 200 dock positions and doors for Walmart in Mexico City.

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Why are Wayne Dalton commercial doors the best in the industry?

Wayne Dalton provides not only good, reliable products, but by far the best customer service in the industry. I always receive same-day responses on special pricing and technical questions. The company has a can-do attitude and builds great dealer relationships.

Our New Garage Door Design Center – Created with the Dealer in Mind

Providing our dealer network with the essential tools and latest technology to make the sales process easier is a top priority at Wayne Dalton.  When we can do this and improve the customer experience, we’ve got a win-win situation.

If you are a Wayne Dalton dealer looking to enhance customer service and increase sales (and who isn’t?), the all-new Wayne Dalton Garage Door Design Center will make your day.

Completely redesigned and optimized for tablet viewing, the Garage Door Design Center is a visualization tool that shows potential customers what a new Wayne Dalton garage door could look like on their home before they commit to a purchase. For the dealer, it’s a sales tool that could help to make the difference between a customer choosing an entry-level garage door or an upgrade.

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From top to bottom, Wayne Dalton updated the Garage Door Design Center to provide a better user experience. Not only is it optimized for tablet viewing, it also features easy navigation, products organized by collection consistent with Wayne-Dalton.com, and access to Wayne Dalton’s full product offering, including all new products and product enhancements. The Garage Door Design Center is still accessible from the Wayne Dalton website via tablet or PC.

Wayne Dalton dealers can upload a digital photo of a customer’s home to the Garage Door Design Center to show homeowners how the latest garage door styles, colors and accessories can make a big impact on curb appeal. If a home photo isn’t available, the Garage Door Design Center also allows users to choose from photos of common home designs to see how Wayne Dalton garage doors complement various architectural styles. Best of all, the tool guides users through the entire process.

Wayne Dalton dealers: Give the new Garage Door Design Center a try on your next sales call and let us know how it worked for you by leaving a reply below.