Product variety doesn’t ‘pigeonhole’ Olson customers
by Kim Mikus September 15, 2014
Editor/Daily Herald Business Products
An interview with Brian Olson, co-owner of Olson Windows, Doors, Siding and Roofing in Barrington and Warrenville.
Q: Describe your business.
A: We specialize in exteriors. We sell and install many different brands of windows, doors, siding and roofing.
I think one of our biggest advantages over the big companies is that we carry multiple product lines. We aren’t pigeonholed into telling our customers that they need a specific window, siding, or roof. We can offer a wide range of options. So we really take the time to listen to the customers needs to see what is going to best suit their home and budget. Obviously if one of the big companies (manufacturers) comes out they are going to try their hardest to put their product in the customers house no matter what. We are also constantly updated on all the new products and new options, for most manufacturer’s.
We are really a one-stop exterior shop for all customer needs. Because we do windows, siding, roofs, doors, garage doors a new customer can start with a door and plan their future work. We have several customers that one year we did the windows the next we did their siding, and maybe their garage door after that.
Q: What made you start your business?
A: We worked for many years as window installers, and were always trying to make sure we were doing a quality job. As time went on, we realized we had very little control. Most contractors were only interested in production, not quality. So we decided to start our own business and approach it from an installation point of view, always trying to do things the correct way and not necessarily the cheapest way possible. We would end up with happy customers. So here we are 20 years later, two brothers that haven’t killed each other yet.
Q: What has been the most difficult obstacle in running a small business?
A: Our business is very cyclical. In the winter we can get very slow, so dealing with the ups and downs.
Q; What areas do you service?
A: All of the North and Northwest suburbs.
Q: Is this what you pictured yourself doing when you were young?
A: I had no plans of doing this when I was young. I was always fascinated by the ocean, a kid from the Midwest growing up watching Jacques Cousteau on the television.
Q: What did you want to be when you grew up?
A: I wanted to be an oceanographer.
Q: What keeps you up at night?
A: Sometimes I’ll sit up in bed because I forgot to order a window, or I’ll worry about a customer.
Q: If you could give one tip to a rookie business owner, what would it be?
A: Don’t grow too fast, and watch your overhead for those slow times. Also, try and go out of your way to please your customers.
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