By Roger Magalhaes
By now, every major manufacturer on the market offers automated window coverings. By the same token, virtually every type of window treatment has its automated version as well. Some manufacturers use third-party components such as Somfy and Rollease Acmeda. Others have developed their own motors and controls, including Hunter Douglas, Norman Window Fashions and Lutron.
The question is: Are you taking advantage of the sea of opportunities arising from this new wave of technology?
Intelligent window treatments and other technological advances are here to stay. Our society is only getting more and more connected. Security cameras, smart locks and smart thermostats are just a few of the items found in most new construction and newly renovated homes.
With the advancements in artificial intelligence and voice command interfaces such as Alexa, Apple HomeKit and Google Home, it is easier than ever before for consumers to experience some sort of home automation. As Main Street embraces this wave, the cost of manufacturing such products is getting cheaper. Consequently, more consumers will be able to afford them, creating a snowball effect.
Window covering dealers and installers are still facing a few barriers when it comes to selling automated window treatments. There are three major problems. Window coverings are still expensive products for most consumers, and adding motorization only worsens the situation. A good number of dealers struggle to justify the extra cost associated with automation and prefer to avoid upselling the jobs. Not many installers are proficient in installing, programing and troubleshooting automated shades.
I can assure you that once you overcome those issues, you will see an increase in job requests and, consequently, an increase in your bottom line.
If you struggle with pricing, you must seek help from a coach or other dealers that are open to assisting you. You can pay for advice from professionals or find some for free in some trade groups on Facebook, for instance.
Hire an installer that has experience with remote-controlled shades to guide you through the first few sales. Treat it as an investment and don’t plan on making a profit. Your focus should be on learning and getting proficient with automated treatments.
Attend manufacturer training, talk to other installers and join some industry-related Facebook groups as well. Order a couple of shades for your own home and get familiar with the product. Spend time learning the power options, the lingo and the control options. This will help you become familiar with the product and turn you into a trusted resource for dealers, designers and others.
The bottom line is this: Invest in yourself by learning about this trend while it is still at the beginning—and be prepared for a wave of requests once your reputation spreads around.
Roger Magalhaes is the owner and founder of Shades In Place and Trading Up Consulting in the Boston area. He started in the window treatment industry in 2006 as an independent installer and holds certifications from leading companies such as Hunter Douglas, Somfy, Norman Shutters and Lutron. He is the founder of the Facebook group Free Speech Window Covering Pros and the installation instructor for the Window Fashion Certified Professional FastTRACK program. Magalhaes also serves on the board of WCAA.