Increase Your Business Through Weatherization
by Tara Taffera
Ryon Ray, manager for NT Window, a wholesale window manufacturer
in Fort Worth, Texas, was one of the first manufacturers I spoke to who
was positive about the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment
Act (ARRA) and the affirmative impact it had on his business. I interviewed
him for an article on the window tax credit (see May-June DWM, page 22)
in April of this year. He told me how business was up not only due to
the tax credits but also due to his involvement in weatherization programs
as it applies to windows.
At that time, my focus was on the tax credit, but I knew we would talk
again later regarding the weatherization program and the money earmarked
for this program in the ARRA. There’s a lot of funding available but not
many people know where to look for information and how to get involved.
DWM’s energy columnist Arlene Stewart wrote about this in her last column
(see July/August DWM, page 4) telling manufacturers simply: “If
you haven’t talked to your dealers about this program yet, you should.
If your dealers’ installers are not already participating, they will need
to find out how to become approved, because the program is highly regionalized.”
That article was followed by a blog from Jim Plavecksy (visit www.dwmmag.com
to read his post) who applauded the program but not the way information
“Some states already have a waiting list of qualified clients, but other
states don’t currently have such a backlog, and do not even know the best
way to get the word out to potential candidates. Details need to be worked
out and worked out quickly to help states spread the news to qualified
candidates so that the money earmarked for qualified candidates gets spent
within the timeframe encompassed by the legislation and in the proper
manner intended,” says Plavecsky.
Since it’s obvious that few know about the program I decided to go back
to the manufacturer having success in this market to learn more.
“We have almost doubled our business in regard to contractors coming to
us for window products. They [contractors] have seen great increases in
funds for weatherization programs due to ARRA,” says Ray, whose company
was involved with weatherization programs before ARRA.
I don’t know if Ray’s case is unique, but the relationship he has with
his contractors seems to be an ideal one.
“Last week we met with the contractors who gave us an update on upcoming
projects to make sure we would be prepared,” says Ray. “The contractors
we work with have already doubled our business and we expect it to double
again in the next three months.”
Things are going so well that NT Windows has operated a second shift since
the first week of March and is introducing some new equipment so it can
begin operating a second line.
Ray also offered some advice.
“There is a lot of money out there but you have time restraints that you
must meet,” he says. “The contractors really aren’t given a lot of time.
They are given a book of projects and have a very limited time frame [in
which] to complete them, then they start again. You have to be willing
to work within that cycle …. If we didn’t have communication we’d have
a lot of rushes.”
I’m not saying it’s an easy task. You may have to spend some time on the
Internet to find the appropriate contacts, then time on the phone to call
carious contractors to see if they need a reliable window supplier.
To start, check out http://apps1.eere.energy.gov/weatherization/about.cfm
for everything you need to know about the program, including a list of
state contacts (and basic information if this is the first time you’re
hearing about it).
And visit www.energy.gov and search for the word “weatherization” to find
the states that have already received funding and the latest news regarding
If you’re a manufacturer that already is taking advantage of the program,
I’d appreciate hearing from you regarding this or any other experiences
you may have with the program. I hope participation helps you weather
the storm many manufacturers are facing in the current market.
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No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.