Some construction specialists want to accept every project that comes their way, but others are more selective. This can be due to time constraints or because a project does not really fit the company profile. The latter is true of EeStairs. “We are true specialists and like to take on the challenge of complex projects,” says marketing executive Rebecca van de Beek.
EeStairs focuses on luxury projects in the upper segment and prefers only to receive invitations for this type of work. “If we do something, we do it well. We deliver quality and 12Build helps us with the invitations to tender.” EeStairs has been active with a complete company profile in 12Build since the end of 2018. It is listed at the top of the search results for its specialisation. In its profile, EeStairs indicates that it works on projects above 100,000 euros. Projects are also welcome below this, but EeStairs points out in its profile that the company is a specialist for the exclusive segment. Setting the bar at 100,000 euros means that EeStairs receives invitations to tender that are more in line with the expectations of the customer and the company itself.
Two and a half years ago, Rebecca van de Beek sent an unsolicited application to EeStairs. She comes from Voorthuizen. Barneveld, where EeStairs is located, is just down the road. She often drove past the building with the beautiful, illuminated staircase, radiating quality design. It was reason enough for Rebecca to take a look at the website and ultimately to apply for a job. Rebecca is responsible for the overall marketing strategy at EeStairs. She devises marketing campaigns, nationally and internationally, and then works these out in detail.
Specialists in high-quality staircases
EeStairs is an international specialist in staircases and balustrades. The company was founded in Barneveld in 2000 by Cornelis van Vlastuin and Dick Cluistra. It all started with straightforward steel staircases, but since then the company has moved on to the exclusive staircase market. “All of a sudden we were no longer suppliers of steel staircase constructions, but specialists in complex projects,” explains Rebecca. “Now we are really excited when we get a project that is beyond the comfort zone of other suppliers. We always find a suitable solution.’’
The EeStairs head office immediately draws attention to what the company excels at. Visitors to the building are greeted by a striking spiral staircase. The two major departments located in Barneveld are a steel workshop and a wood workshop. Steel and wood in one place? At EeStairs, it works. Rebecca: “Our staircases have a steel frame. These are then fitted with wood. It is common in the construction industry to be a supplier of either steel or wood.” EeStairs, however, does both. “If a main contractor has a supplier that can do everything, from supply to installation, from steel to wood, it will reduce potential risks.”
Projects that do not fit the profile of EeStairs will not be taken on
EeStairs has a small sales department. It has one or two sales consultants in the countries in which it is active (the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Canada). It might seem a lot of work for so few people, but EeStairs has found an answer to this: “12Build makes the whole tender process much easier, but also much faster,” explains Rebecca. When EeStairs receives an invitation to tender, it first looks at what type of project it is. Does the project actually fit its profile? Rebecca: “I consciously set the price high because we aim to attract only relevant tenders.” The filtering capability of 12Build means that EeStairs is not inundated with less specialised projects. In the past, that was the case. “The invitations to tender through 12Build are comprehensive. Which enables us to assess whether a project is interesting for EeStairs or not.”
If an invitation to tender arrives through 12Build that does not fit in with its target market, it simply clicks on the relevant button to indicate the company will not be submitting a quote. This enables both parties to know immediately where they stand. “We are extremely busy and therefore in the fortunate position of being able to select those projects that appeal to us.” One of the benefits of 12Build is that it enables main contractors to pinpoint the right party for the job. “Ultimately, it saves us time, because we no longer have to take a shot in the dark, but can focus on the target.”
EeStairs keeps a close eye on the number of invitations to tender it receives, how many times it submits quotes and which commissions have been won. This data is available with 12Build. “We have a much better picture of this in the Netherlands than in other countries in which we operate because here we work with 12Build,” says Rebecca proudly.
“We no longer have to take a shot in the dark. With 12Build we can focus on the target.”
Direct clarity for all parties
12Build also ensures a large number of new contacts with main contractors. “For us, the platform is primarily a sales tool. We position ourselves well and can precisely indicate the lower limit we would consider for submitting a quote. Main contractors filter on these amounts and would not see EeStairs if the figure is lower than this. As a result, we continue to serve the upper segment.”
Since January 2021, EeStairs has been positioned at the top of the search results, thanks to the Promoter subscription in 12Build. “Our profile has been fully optimised with quality labels, specialisations and, above all, reference projects. After all, reference projects are the lifeblood of the company.” The EeStairs portfolio is brimming with photos of staircases from around the world. From London and New York to Amsterdam. “If we can showcase reference projects, we will have an advantage over the company next in line in the search results.”
“Before we optimised our profile, we had considerably fewer invitations to tender through 12Build,” she explains. “This is because the market is not always aware of who a construction specialist is.” 12Build solves this problem with its extensive database. Main contractors use the 12Build database to search for suitable construction specialists for their projects. They can filter on specialisation, quality labels, willingness to quote, financial health and many other areas.
EeStairs is not only active in the Netherlands, but also internationally. Rebecca sees many differences between countries. “A good reference is essential for collaboration in France,” she says. “In Belgium, it is important to be included in the tender specifications and in the Netherlands our customers still compare on the basis of price.” That is why EeStairs is often told that it is too expensive, although Rebecca explains that this is absolutely not the case. “If you receive a tender from us, it will be complete and everything has been taken into account at an early stage.”
A staircase piece by piece through narrow streets
“One of our most memorable assignments was to place a staircase in the Bentinck House in The Hague,” recalls Rebecca. The Bentinck House is one of the largest office buildings in The Hague, just a stone’s throw from the Binnenhof. The staircase for the renovated building was completely built and assembled in the EeStairs workshops, because the assembly team had to know that all the sections fitted properly. The staircase was then dismantled and transported to The Hague. “You want to transport a staircase as complete as possible, because this means fewer pieces to assemble on location. This saves both time and money,” she continues. “The staircase was dismantled, we stood in The Hague but our transporter was unable to get close enough to unload everything in front of the building. So the sections were unloaded from the truck with a forklift and then navigated through the narrow streets.” Rebecca laughs and then shows the photo that was taken at the time. “Look, it was a huge job to ensure it all went smoothly, but these are the types of challenges we face.” Once the staircase was assembled at the location, nobody would be able to see that it was delivered in sections. Everything fitted together perfectly and was then finished off on site according to the specifications.
Good contact: fellow construction specialist advised using 12Build
Before EeStairs started working with 12Build, the company first phoned around to fellow construction specialists, asking for references. All responses were positive. “This gave us the confidence to start collaborating with 12Build,” says Rebecca. “It felt good right from the start.”
Mario Zijlstra from the Customer Success department at 12Build had a lot of contact with EeStairs. Rebecca: “Mario helps us regularly to optimise a profile. He explained to me that you benefit most by showcasing reference projects, quality labels, specialisations and other such areas. If you want to be found through these areas, your profile needs to be presented properly. Everything is now in order.” When 12Build employees see that a profile is not up to date, they will phone the customer to plan a meeting to look together at what can be improved.
“Our onboarding process might have taken a little time,” says Rebecca with a laugh, “but we are pleased we now collaborate with 12Build.”
We feel the same way, Rebecca. For sure.