Building success, one stair at a time.
Southern Stairs is a leading manufacturer and installer of timber stairs, balustrading and handrails using the finest timber, stainless steel, glass and wires for private clients and builders. For more than 30 years, they’ve helped their customers create their dream homes with their dream stairs.
Southern Stairs’ wide-range of clientele includes builders focused on project homes, to builders in the “high-end market” and everyone else in between – many of whom they’ve consistently worked with for 20 or 30 years, says Managing Director and owner Robert Mulder.
“Some of the builders we do work for might only do one or two jobs a year and others might do as many as 20 or 30 jobs a year. It does go right across the board,” he adds. “We do some commercial work as well.”
One building company in particular, Binet Homes, have been a recurring customer for nearly three decades, Rob says. “We must be doing something right, for builders to keep coming back to us. We like to keep to the quality side of the market doing a good job for a good price. We deal with a lot of people who do renovations to their home or want to renovate an existing stair to a more modern design.”
Today, Southern Stairs ventures predominately through the Sydney region metropolitan area, from their head office and showroom in Kirrawee to Wollongong – where they have a second showroom – through to Palm Beach, Helensburgh, Kiama and the Southern Highlands.
Quality, service and price
When Southern Stairs launched in the early 1980s, they were one of the first companies to focus on building stairs. Since then, they’ve maintained a strong position as leaders in the industry when it comes to quality, service and competitive prices. According to Rob, that’s why customers keep coming back.
“We’ve got a lot of regular customers,” he says. “Some builders think they can get cheaper prices elsewhere, but they end up coming back to us again as they realise we have the quality and service that the builders and clients want.”
Southern Stairs’ high level of quality and service has earned the company many word-of-mouth referrals and recommendations, Rob says. “We thrive on recommendation work. A lot of people talk to friends and family and we get quite a lot of people who spread the good word about us.”
“It’s all good quality service and that makes people keep coming back,” he adds. “They’re happy to come back to us for a second, and third, and fourth time around. Every time a client changes their house, they come back to us for their stairs.”
The company’s repeat business is not only a result of their outstanding product and competitive prices – they also come from the strong relationships they’ve maintained with customers over the years. “We get quite a lot of good feedback from customers,” Rob says. “Some people, when they come to finalise their account, comment on how polite we were and what a good job we did. We try to make sure they’re happy with the whole process.”
“If they have a problem, we try our best to solve it right away. We will come up with a better idea and make sure the customer is very happy. We like happy customers. “
Southern Stairs is also flexible, which helps to forge and maintain positive customer relationships. They do their best to accommodate every request that comes their way. “We have a solution for every staircase, with a vast array of designs and ideas that will appeal to every customer.” Rob says.
A happy family
Customers aren’t the only people Southern Stairs fosters strong bonds with. Currently, the company employs upwards of 25 to 30 people, directly and indirectly – all of whom they enjoy positive relationships with. Rob himself visits the factory daily and chats with the employees to see how they’re doing. “They’re all a bunch of happy guys and quite enjoy what they’re doing down there. It’s one big happy family,” he says.
As a member of the HIA, Southern Stairs have also made it a priority to take on apprentices on a regular basis. “We’ve really focused on getting tradespeople out there and putting them through the whole process,” Rob says. “Many of our apprentices have now become good quality builders and we now build stairs for them.”
Southern Stairs’ commitment to training staff and apprentices netted them an award from the HIA for Host Trainer of the Year in 2010. Rob says it “was great being recognised for our efforts.”
“It’s good to employ and mould our future tradesmen,” he adds.
Finally, the company also enjoys a positive working relationship with all of their subcontractors and suppliers. Some of them have been working with Southern Stairs for more than a decade, Rob says. “Contractors are a critical part of the whole process, so it’s important that we have strong a relationship with them. When they go to a site, they are the final process in providing a professional and quality finish.”
Accurate and precise
While Southern Stairs is currently happy with the size they have grown to, they are always looking at expanding technologically. For example, they recently added a new computerised CNC router in their factory that produces a product that is more accurate and precise, Rob says.
Looking ahead to the longer term, Rob sees Southern Stairs continuing to be one of the leading companies in the industry. To maintain that high standing, they will continue to manufacture and install to the highest quality and will continue to regularly update their showroom, and adapt to the current market trends.