Here’s Your Window of Opportunity
This year, Custom Contractors Inc. (CCI) celebrates its 25th year in the Hawaii window market. CCI has sold an impressive 200,000 windows to more than 15,000 customers during that time period.
“You have to adapt to the times,” noted owner Luis Larcina. “As our customers’ needs change, we want to be there for them. A lot of our customers want to transition away from jalousie windows. They are extremely hard to clean, let in dust, dirt and noise, and do not let your AC run efficiently. Most importantly, the jalousie window accounts for over 85 percent of entry points during burglaries.”
The aluminum awning window has been CCI’s biggest seller. The manufacturer, Victor Sun Control, has been making this style of window for more than 53 years and converted several of its components to deal with Hawaii’s harsh salt atmosphere.
“It’s been a great product for Hawaii right from the beginning,” said Larcina. “It addressed all of the jalousie short comings, they’re easy to clean, seal tight, meet building codes and feature Torque Bar activated cam lock security. As Victor Sun Control’s largest customer nationwide, we have a lot of say as to how the product is made and the quality shows.”
CCI offers endless glass options for its windows ranging from simple tint (reduce glare), obscure (privacy), laminated or tempered (for safety and security), to Low e (for ultraviolet reduction).
A close second in CCI’s inventory of replacement and new construction windows is its vinyl line, PLYGEM (formerly CertainTeed), one of the country’s oldest and largest manufacturers of this kind of window. Among the various architectural shapes offered are single and double sliders, single and double hungs, casements and sliding doors.
While all of the options may seem overwhelming and confusing to the average homeowner, this is where CCI’s experience and expertise comes to the forefront. Twenty-year veteran and head estimator at CCI, Robert Abbett, better known as Rabbett, perhaps says it best:
“When I go into a home, I find some of our customers know what they want, most are open to practical ideas and applications. We sit down and examine the homes unique variables including trade wind direction, path of the sun, privacy and security issues, and aesthetics,” he explained. “We then choose a window and glass type to meet that need. I’ll supply them with a computer generated drawing and individual pricing for their windows.”
Another thing that makes CCI atypical in the home improvement world is its low-key sales approach. “We have great products, prices and experience,” said Abbett. “We won’t use gimmicks like ‘sign tonight and we’ll give you 20 percent off’ or ‘we’re going to make your home the neighborhood model if you sign tonight.’ Companies that use these practices know that if they walk out the door without a contract, they’ve lost your business. We actually encourage our customers to get other quotes; in the end, they feel better about us.”
In addition to Abbett’s 20 years at CCI, lead installer Larry Fischer has also been with the company for 20 years. Office manager Cheryl Wilson has been with CCI for 15 years and shop manager John O’Donnell for 10 years. This type of departmental leadership allows CCI to smoothly transition a large quantity of jobs — typically 80 to 100 at any given time. That volume allows CCI to ship full containers of windows at a time, saving customers from $30 to $40 per window on average, and eliminate the damage that occurs when shipping in common containers or air freight.
While CCI’s core value is home replacement windows, it also has extensive commercial and high-rise experience in Hawaii. The company specializes in Lanai enclosures (Kahala Towers and Kapiolani Bel Aire to site two condominiums) and builds its own bay windows. With an estimated 20 million jalousies still out there waiting to be retired, CCI will be around for a long time. For more information, call 483-0100.