You heard it here first, BF Rich windows will cease operations immediately. They informed their customers and employees earlier this week that they will be closing their doors for good. We received this tip several days ago and waited to verify the information before publishing. It is certainly unfortunate news.
As a business owner myself it’s not easy to talk about any company going out of business. Their employees, suppliers and customers will surely be negatively impacted. The biggest challenge here will be for their customers with pending orders and their past customers whose warranties will likely be useless.
Folks bought these windows with the expectation of a lifetime warranty and they will likely not receive that benefit. Even worse, there may be folks with pending orders that can’t be filled.
We haven’t heard any news about how pending orders or future warranty claims will be handled. We’ll update this post with additional info if and when we receive it.
BF Rich was founded in 1957 and currently employs approximately 130 people in their window manufacturing facility in Delaware. They have a very long history in the industry. I know one of our installers in the area was a huge fan of their products and was frequently trying to get us to carry them in our retail stores.
Remember when folks ask us for recommendations of replacement windows we often talk about the risks associated with working with a small manufacturing company. Just in the last several years we’ve seen Gorell, Republic, Schuco, Kensington, Serious and BF Rich windows close their doors for good.
These companies often have great brochures and convincing salespeople. Unfortunately, they can’t help you when an issue like this arises.
Smaller window manufactures are faced with relatively high fixed costs in a very competitive business. When they’re faced with a slowdown in sales, the need to retool a plant or the expiration of certain credit facilities they can quickly find themselves in a bad situation with very few options.
I saw a comment from the VP of Sales at BF Rich windows saying that their troubles stemmed from the great recession of 2007. This likely means that they were unable to secure the financing they needed to maintain their business. In my experience most retail replacement window companies have fully recovered from the slowdown of that period. That would mean their wholesale sales should have recovered, but there is probably more to the story.
Window manufacturers may still be feeling the effects do to the way their fixed costs, equipment and manufacturing facilities are financed. Many manufactures have also updated their product lines in recent years which is undoubtedly an expensive process. This means new designs, new tooling and much more. A company with limited financing options may not be able to make that investment in the business. That would cause them to have less competitive products, which would cause difficulty in attracting new customers and achieving much needed price increases.
It’s a shame to hear of a window manufacturer going out of business, but it’s likely to continue to happen. The industry is very fragmented and is undergoing a period of consolidation.
We’ll continue to report the industry news as we receive it and I’ll do my best to recommend products that are offered by companies that are likely to stand the test of time.
We thank the tipster who sent in this information and if you have any more info on this situation or anything else going on in the window industry please feel free to reach out to us at [email protected]