Budget Blinds Delays, Backorders & Expected Lead Times
Like many of the world’s suppliers, the custom window treatment industry is experiencing unprecedented delays and extended backorders. These delays may affect orders we place for your custom window treatments. Pre-COVID, most window treatments could be ordered, manufactured, shipped and received in approximately 3 – 4 weeks. In fact, some products, depending on location of manufacture, could arrive in as little as 10 days. But our world has changed and we are now experiencing lead times of 5 – 6 weeks and up to 12 for some specialty-shaped products. Global supply chain, labor, and logistic constraints continue to impact operations.
There is hope! Budget Blinds is the largest custom window treatment provider in North America, which means we have the widest selection of products from the highest number of manufacturers. This includes Hunter Douglas, Lutron, Norman Window Fashions, Enlightened Style and many more. This allows our design consultants to recommend not only the best products at the best price, but also take ship times into consideration. In other words, we can customize a solution for your home or business based on your needs and the ever-changing global situation we are faced with. If one manufacturer has a known delay, we can switch to a different one that may be shipping on time. Choices are something we can control. But there are many things we cannot.
Some lead times are unpredictable and shipment delays have become common. Orders may not be shipped strictly by date but based on what fits into the available aircraft or truck. Large orders may wait longer than small ones. Long packages may wait longer than short ones. Just because a shipment is not moving does not mean it is lost. It is just waiting for space to become available. There is no way for us to know if a package that has been custom-crafted for your home is waiting on a truck for a driver or fuel, in order to complete its journey to Colorado Springs.
Just one example of communication from one of our most reputable manufacturers follows:
“We are experiencing increasing delays with shipments. We wanted to let you know what is happening and what this means for our service to you.
First, there is not enough air freight capacity internationally. DHL advised us their volume is up 78% over last year. FedEx told us shipping volumes are at the level they expected in 2026. UPS is in the same situation. DHL is adding planes, but currently we see delays with shipments waiting to get on planes.
Second, US domestic delivery is also a problem. DHL cannot recruit enough staff in their hub at Cincinnati and are now having to divert full planes into Chicago, Los Angeles, and Miami to clear customs there. When shipments are cleared, they are sitting waiting for domestic flights and when they get to local service centers, they are sitting waiting for trucks and drivers.”
Freight costs are increasing. After delaying as long as possible, the custom window treatment manufacturers raised their costs on shipping to us. We have chosen to absorb as much as we can, but the freight companies are changing requirements and costs continue to increase. For example, freight companies have drastically reduced the maximum ship length (such as a very wide shade) before oversize ship charges are incurred. Some manufacturers are choosing to respond to this by cancelling the option for wider window treatments.
Our suppliers more frequently suffering recurring stock-outs on critical parts. This has created an increase in extended backorders and even full production stops on some products. We have discovered that many times this is the result of small things (e.g. paint availability or chips for automated wifi hubs). We have no forecast on when this could change, we can only respond to the information provided. Sometimes we have been informed of the stock out the very day your product is supposed to ship. We know that our manufacturing partners are doing everything they can to avoid this. That said, since we have such a wide variety of manufacturers and products to choose from, if one product is experiencing extended backorders, we can normally suggest an equivalent product that is not.
Additionally, there have been labor challenges across many industries. Manufacturers can only respond to increased demand by hiring more employees, and those workers are in short supply. (The port situation in Los Angeles is just one example of how dramatically the labor shortage can affect business everywhere in the US.) We’ve all seen schools close classes, restaurants close their dining rooms, and more, all due to staffing shortages. Even our small business here in Colorado Springs is not immune. Although our dedicated team works very hard to provide you the best in customer service every day, the labor situation has put us in a position where we have been chronically short-staffed for 18 months or more.
We used to provide expected time to install for everything we ordered. Now though, we have seen lead times go from 3 weeks to upwards of 12-15. When we provide an estimated arrival time for your window treatments, we are only doing our best guess based on a variety of moving targets and information we have at that time. We have asked our Design Consultants to no longer provide best guesses since we don’t want to disappoint when your window treatments are delayed by even a few days. We do not like communicating bad news any more than you want to receive it! Please remember, the products you get from us don’t exist until we order them for your windows. They are truly custom and 99% of what we do is not in stock, but rather, has to be made from scratch, like a custom piece of furniture.
We Look Forward to Serving You
We are doing our best to present to you solutions that we can have manufactured and ultimately installed in your home in approximately 4 to 6 weeks. We frequently can beat that timeline, but we occasionally miss it due to a combination of factors. We do sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.
As a locally owned and operated business, we take pride in providing a premium experience to our El Paso and Teller County neighbors. We are the best reviewed custom window treatment company in the entire Pikes Peak Region, we have been voted Best Employer and Best of the Springs years in a row. We deeply regret any unexpected delays or issues. We don’t know of anything else that we, or our team could have done to make this any better. Every day the situation seems to be changing and we have been told different things by different suppliers, so we can only communicate to you what we know. This has all been a truly unusual and difficult situation to manage.
From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you for putting your trust in Budget Blinds of Greater Colorado Springs to fulfill your custom window treatment needs. We will continue to strive to give you our best every single day. One day we will settle into a new normal. In the meantime we daily continue to provide the best in custom blinds, shades, shutters and drapery for your homes and businesses.
–Mike & Dina Burwell, Owners