Total Installer sat down with Chris Brunsdon, Founder and CEO of window software business Tommy Trinder, who discusses following his dad into the industry, and what he feels the future holds for both the company and the glazing sector in general…
TI: How did you first get into the industry?
Chris Brunsdon (CB): I did a degree in drama, became a failed actor then ran out of money. So in the mid-90’s I went cap in hand to Dad, who took pity on me and gave me a job in his window firm, Oxford Double Glazing. I started as a delivery driver before getting promoted and officially becoming the world’s worst window fitter. In the end Dad had to take me off the tools, because all the other fitters refused to work with me, and so my career in double glazing sales & marketing officially began!
TI: And how did you get to your current position as CEO of Tommy Trinder?
CB: Tommy Trinder and the Framepoint app was borne out of frustration. The frustrations I had trying to sell windows to homeowners with the wrong piece of software to hand; software that was clunky, overly complicated, built for manufacturers not installers, but most of all dull as dishwater. When I was out selling, I just wanted a piece of software that had some wow factor about it, something that would get the customer’s heart beating faster and help me take an order. That was the motivation behind developing the app. Seven years of technical development (and well over £1million of investment later) Framepoint was born.
CB: Framepoint is designed to wow homeowners and win orders. It also saves installers heaps of time on quoting (typically around 30 hours a month) and dramatically cuts out room for error.
TI: For installers not aware of Tommy Trinder and the Framepoint app, can you briefly explain what it is and why it would be of benefit to them?
It’s a doddle to use – you just draw, with your mouse or finger, like sketching on a pad, and instantly see your windows and doors come to life in full, photo-realistic detail.
You can price as you go or send off pricing requests in a click to multiple suppliers. Touch and tap to show off different colours, handle options and glazing etc. all fast and super slick. And then click to show customers how their new windows and doors will look on the house. Generate awesome quotes and contracts, all in one touch, together with all the other documents you need: survey docs, purchase orders etc.
Importantly with Framepoint you can combine any product, in any material – PVC, aluminium, timber, steel – from any supplier in one quote. You’re not shackled to one fabricator: Framepoint sets you free!
TI: What do you see as the main ambitions for Tommy Trinder in the coming years?
CB: We launched commercially three years ago and now have 400 window firms using the app. Over the next three years, we want the finest 1000 installers in the UK to be using Framepoint. We will also launch in the USA in summer 2023; the beginnings of a global roll out that sets us on our mission to become the world’s favourite window and door sales tool.
TI: How much more knowledgeable is the installer when it comes to using technology like the Framepoint app?
CB: There’s growing recognition that in our competitive, post-pandemic environment there’s more to winning hearts & wallets than simply getting a quote out of the door. Savvy installers are actively looking for tools that will delight customers and help them stand out from the crowd; software that will help them deliver a great ‘buying experience.’ So there’s a sense that technology like ours has moved from being niche, to a ‘must have’ for any firm with a desire to sell to the discerning customer.
TI: The last couple of years have seen huge challenges for installers to contend with on a daily basis – how have you helped your customers through these challenges?
CB: We’ve very much tracked the Covid wave with our users. When we couldn’t go out at all Framepoint became the solution for helping installers sell without home visits. Demand for our app surged as salesmen took to Zoom. Free sketching PVC-U, timber and aluminium products with clients in real time via Framepoint became a ‘new normal’.
Then came the demand tsunami. Installers, working all hours to keep up, turned to Framepoint in the need for speed. It was all about saving time and reports came in of some Framepoint subscribers saving as much as 30 hours a month on quoting.
Looking ahead, we see 2023 as the year when window companies will need to go back to selling. And in a tougher market, our mission will be to provide the technology installers need to give them the edge and win orders; to keep sales up when leads are down.
TI: How important is it for the installer to up-sell and diversify their offering? Is this a trend you recognise in your customers?
CB: In a market where we are predominantly replacing the replacements it’s all about giving homeowners reasons to upgrade. Framepoint subscribers have always had the edge here because it’s so easy to show off premium features such as foils, dual colours, dummy vents, mechanical joints, flush casements, surface mounted bars, in a very visual way.
In terms of product diversification, the truth is we are all diversified now; gone are the days when you could make a living out of just selling a white PVC window. But the problem is most configurators are designed from the perspective of fabricators to help installers order ‘correctly’ and lock them in to their singular product range. These solutions fall over as soon as there is a need to specify products from multiple manufacturers on one job – a composite door, an aluminium bi-fold and some sash windows, for example. The ability to present and quote a diversified product range through one app is a big draw for Framepoint.
TI: Is there still room for innovation in windows and doors in general? If so, what sort of issues will this innovation address?
CB: I’ve been in the industry for long enough to understand that the material that a window is made out of is a thing of fashion; it changes based on consumer sentiment and sales and marketing gusto. PVC-U is associated in the public imagination with plastics, which is not a favoured material in the modern world. Already we are seeing an aluminium resurgence.
But my money would be on innovation driving the development of some new, super-material which will eclipse them both within the coming decades.
TI: Are there any particular trends you’re recognising within the market that you expect to see in 2023 and beyond?
CB: Covid changed consumer behaviour beyond belief. We covered “a decade in days” in the adoption of all things digital. 27% of retail purchases are now online (38% amongst the young), visits to an E-doctor have increased ten-fold, online fitness is growing by 42% per year, and twenty times more people use Zoom every day.
Double glazing is not immune to this trend. Expect 2023 and subsequent years to be dominated by a move online in the way we present our business and interface with customers. Big change is coming here.
TI: Sustainability is a topic of ever-growing importance to installers and end-users. What do you feel sustainability means to your customers and how do you see it impacting the supply chain in the coming years?
CB: Yes, the elephant in the room is sustainability. And climate is set to dominate the decade. I genuinely believe that driving, unnecessarily, point to point to effect tasks that could be done just as well online will fast become morally dubious in the public imagination. This could happen quickly; think plastic packaging, eating meat etc. Selling remotely is carbon neutral and will assert itself as the way in which homeowners and installers come together in the first instance.
TI: And lastly, can we expect to see any exciting new features in the Framepoint app in the next year?
CB: Yes, loads! Watch this space…we’re only just getting started!