Have You Seen an Effect?

John G. Swanson
May 11, 2010
THE TALK... | Segments, Channels, Markets & Trends

 

Our poll results show some companies are seeing a bump in sales as a result of the new EPA lead paint rule.  No doubt because they are picking up business from other companies that aren't trained, certified and ready to tackle jobs in pre-1978 homes or have simply decided not to work in that market segment anymore.  More respondents say the new rule has had a negative impact already, however, and the comments we received from readers indicate the same.

"This new lead law is really putting the damper on sales to homeowners at my business," reports Bill Schul of Air-Chek/Window Depot in New Jersey.  "We had an increase in January through March, but since implementation of the RRP, homeowners are balking at the increased cost of installation, as well as the extended amount of time for the install."

Part of the problem, he notes, is that the general public is still not well informed about the law.  According to Schul, his salesmen are getting the impression that potential customers might think companies are "pulling a fast one" on them.  Another effect is the added time adde to a job.  "Our crews are capable of installing 20 windows in a day by not using lead-safe practices, but are reduced to approximately six windows a day using lead-safe practices," he says. "Some homeowners have to take off from work for the install process, and don't want to hear that a job will take three days to complete."

It is too soon to tell what will happen, but the impact of the new law will be negative, predicts Wayne Gorell, president of Gorell Windows & Doors.  "The farther north and east you are, the more it will impact you, as the housing stock is older. The cost is not the only issue, many dealers are telling us the cost didn't lose them the sale, the 'embarrassment' factor did," he reports.  "Facing the neighbors, having the yard taped off, hazmat suits on the workers, plastic sheeting with all the appearance of a disaster or a crime scene."

A Texas-based dealer reports he went to visit an upscale homeowner needing new rollers on his patio doors.  The header had sagged and locked in the panels, and the repair would crack the paint.  The homeowner "freaked out" when told there would have to be a lead test before anything could be done.  "Not sure what he will do, but would guess it will involve Mexico, and cash," the dealer predicts.

"Due to our RRP certification we have been fortunate to land work that we were previously unable to get," reports one West Coast manufacturer. "These particular projects are HUD-funded grant programs managed by the individual cities. The only reason we are able to secure this work is that the other firms are not yet up to speed on their training, etc." 

So far, this manufacturer also reports, "zero homeowners know about this new law, nor do they seem to care."

Gorell reports that his company's dealers are responding to the law in a variety of ways.  "We have dealers who plan to actively go after this business on the one spectrum, to dealers who say they will just not sell to homes built before 1978, and everything in between," he notes. 

 

Survey Results as of 05/18/2010: 

Have You Noticed Effect of Lead Rule Yet?

Yes, we've lost sales as a result.

  

 

60%

Yes, we've gained sales as result.

  

 

22%

No, we haven't seen effect on sales.

  

 

15%

Yes, we've seen shifts in sales to certain customers.

  

 

2%