The 2007 Carriage House Sales Report

© 2007 Door & Access Systems
Publish Date: Summer 2007
Author: Tom Wadsworth
Pages 32-34

The 2007 Carriage House Sales Report
Carriage House Door Sales Jump From 6% to 11%

The number of carriage house garage doors being sold in North America in 2007 is almost twice as many as in 2005, according to a new study by Door & Access Systems newsmagazine.

The new survey, conducted in early May, revealed that carriage house doors now account for 10.8 percent of the residential garage door market, compared with 6.4 percent in 2005.*

E-mail invitations to take the online survey were sent to 790 garage door dealers throughout the United States and Canada. A total of 159 (20%) dealers participated, similar to the response rate for the 2005 survey (23%). The survey defined a carriage house door as a residential sectional door (of any material) that appears to swing open via side hinges.

A Distinct Shift Upward

The study shows a distinct shift in the number of dealers who are selling more of these new doors. In 2005, 21 percent of our survey respondents said their carriage door sales constituted either 7-10%, 11-15%, or 16-20% of their sales. In our 2007 survey, that number jumped to 36 percent of the respondents. (See chart below.)

Conversely, the number of dealers selling few of these doors is dropping. In 2005, 73 percent of our survey respondents said their carriage door sales constituted either 0%, 1-3%, or 4-6% of their residential door sales. In our 2007 survey, the number of dealers selling few doors dropped to 48 percent. The number reporting no carriage house sales dropped from 9.5 percent in 2005 to 3.1 percent in 2007.

The Price Objection

Survey respondents were also asked why they didn’t sell more carriage house doors. Almost two-thirds (65%) cited “price” as a reason, often noting that steel raised-panel doors were cheaper.

One respondent wrote, “Price is the only thing that hangs up a sale.” Many respondents echoed that sentiment.

Even though the general trend is toward increased sales of carriage house doors, some dealers reported flat sales. Bill Dover of Flint, Mich., reported selling 20 carriage style doors in 2006, but only two in the first four months of 2007.

“One of our TV ads just shows carriage house doors, and we get very few requests for quotes,” commented Dover. “And when we do, homeowners in our area shy away from the prices of these products.”

“The fad hasn’t caught on in our area,” wrote another dealer. “People just seem to like the plain doors.”

The Price Motivation

Yet, some respondents also saw the price of carriage doors as an explanation for increased sales. “Five years ago, 95 percent of door sales were raised-panel steel,” said Mike Truman of Truman Door Systems of Vista, Calif. “Today, it’s 80 percent raised panel and 20 percent carriage style.”

“What is driving the change,” he added, “is demand for a different look to the house elevation and the fact that carriage style doors command higher profit margins for both the manufacturer and the dealer.”

“The common perception is that these doors are very high end,” wrote Brian Lucas of F&L Doors, Hazleton, Pa. “The consumer is not aware that there are so many options and different levels of pricing that can work for most budgets.”

Lucas says a little salesmanship can make a difference. “A little effort on the part of a salesperson can result in the sale of a carriage style door where something more mundane would have been used.”

More Options, More Sales

Since 2005, more manufacturers have introduced carriage house doors, and many suppliers have added new options and sizes to existing models. These expanded options are clearly contributing to increased sales of carriage house doors.

“By having more options, we’re seeing more acceptance,” said Dan Apple of Apple Door, Richmond, Va. “Carriage style doors that are made of steel or PVC offer a much more attractive price point.”

Another dealer wrote, “We have a wonderful assortment of carriage house doors. By offering as many grades and looks as we can, we have become carriage door specialists in this area.”

One important option in Florida is wind resistance. “For far too long, our local wind-load requirements have limited the offerings that we could take to the market,” commented Mark Marcilliat of Overhead Door Company of Pensacola, Fla. “Thankfully, this is beginning to change.”

Demand From Builders

The appeal of these new doors has penetrated the builder market as well. One respondent noted that new-construction tract builders in his area are upgrading to carriage doors--but to the lower-cost steel products.

“Custom builders constitute the majority of our carriage door sales,” he added, “with products ranging from high-end wood to stamped pan.”

“I have contractors that are starting to use the carriage house door as a standard item on their new homes,” said Scott Williams of Williams Door, Knoxville, Tenn. “Our carriage house door sales should increase greatly in the next 12 months.”

A Texas respondent wrote, “I am seeing a greater increase for carriage house doors even in production home builders. So I expect our carriage door sales to really increase in the near future.”

A Bright Future

Several comments offered similar enthusiasm and optimism for the future of these doors. “The request for carriage style doors has skyrocketed in the past year,” wrote Louis Jammer III of Jammer Door, Lawrenceville, N.J. “Four out of 10 sales calls result in some type of interest in this product.”

Another reply indicated that one carriage door sale tends to beget another. “We love selling them,” said this dealer, “because all of the neighbors call us about getting one for their house.”

The survey did not require respondents to write comments, but most dealers took the time to express their opinions about this new style of door. It’s certainly true that many dealers felt that “price” was an obstacle to selling more carriage doors. Yet many others had strong and positive opinions about the product and its future.

The comment from Greg Schults of Crawford Door Sales, Salt Lake City, Utah, perhaps best summed up the optimistic viewpoint.

“Carriage house doors are in such demand,” he wrote, “you would have to be completely out of touch with what the consumer wants today if you’re still promoting standard raised-panel doors ahead of carriage house doors.”

* The 6.1 percent and 10.8 percent figures were calculated by taking the average percent of each range offered in the survey. For example, when dealers said their carriage house door sales were “1-3%,” we assigned each of those dealers a sales percentage of 2%. When they checked “7-10%,” we assigned them a percentage of 8.5%. If “16-20%,” then we assigned them 18%, and so on.

What percentage of your total residential garage door sales are carriage house garage doors?
20051 20072
Percentage of Sales Percentage of All Respondents Percentage of All Respondents
0% 9.5% 3.1%
1-3% 42.7% 24.5%
4-6% 20.5% 20.1%
7-10% 14.5% 18.2%
11-15% 4.1% 11.3%
16-20% 2.7% 6.9%
21-25% 0.9% 5.7%
26-30% 0.9% 3.1%
31-35% 0.9% 2.5%
36-40% 0.9% 1.3%
41-45% 0.0% 0.6%
46-50% 0.9% 1.3%
More than 50% 1.4% 1.3%
Total 100% 100%

1 The 2005 survey was conducted between April 26 and May 6, 2005. It was sent to 967 garage door dealers throughout the U.S. and Canada, and 220 (23%) dealers responded.
2 The 2007 survey was conducted between May 1 and May 12, 2007. It was sent to 790 garage door dealers throughout the U.S. and Canada, and 159 (20%) dealers responded.

Photo Caption
: One of the many new steel carriage house designs at Expo 2007 was Amarr’s Northampton, a recessed-panel design that will be sold beginning in July.


Carriage Craze Continues at Expo 2007
Exhibit Study Reveals New Trends

Carriage house garage door sales may account for 11 percent of all residential garage door sales, but their presence at Expo was six times that.

At Expo 2007 in Orlando, exhibitors showed off 77 carriage house garage doors in wood, steel, or composite. With 113 residential garage doors on display at Expo, carriage house doors constituted a remarkable 68 percent of all these doors. That’s up from 61 percent in 2006 and 62 percent in 2005.

Steel Steals the Lead

Steel or aluminum doors continued to dominate the carriage house offerings. Of the 77 carriage house doors, 48 of them (62%) were made of steel or aluminum sections.

The steel version has clearly grown rapidly in the last few years. At Expo 2004, only 13 manufacturers displayed steel carriage house doors, and some of these doors were not yet in production.

Composite carriage doors increased their Expo presence from 12 percent in 2006 to 18 percent in 2007, while the number of wood carriage doors dropped from 25 percent to 19 percent in 2007.

Raised-Panel Reduction

Of the 31 residential garage door exhibitors in Orlando, 24 (77%) displayed at least one carriage house door, down from 82 percent in 2006 and 81 percent in 2005. The percentage of manufacturers showing a raised-panel garage door dropped to a low of only 58 percent (18 manufacturers), compared with 76 percent in 2006 and 68 percent in 2005.

Expo Displays 2005 Pct. 2006 Pct. 2007 Pct.
Carriage house doors 84 62% 92 61% 77 68%
Other doors 51 38% 58 39% 36 32%
Total residential doors 135 100% 150 100% 113 100%

Steel/alum. carriage house 49 58% 59 64% 48 62%
Wood carriage house 23 27% 23 25% 15 19%
Composite carriage house 12 14% 11 12% 14 18%

Manufacturers 31 100% 34 100% 31 100%
Manufacturers w/carriage house 25 81% 28 82% 24 77%
Manufacturers w/raised panel 21 68% 26 76% 18 58%