If you’re considering a window replacement and have a few quotes lined up, it is often tempting to go with a company that offers the best price.
After all, they all offer the same thing. And if a sales consultant hears what the other company is willing to do for you, chances are they’ll offer to match or even one-up the competition.
Sounds good, right? But in reality you may be comparing apples to oranges.
If the windows and services offered by two different companies are the same or very similar, the price can vary by hundreds, but definitely not thousands of dollars.
If the difference between quotes is more than 10% of the total cost, this should really be a cause for alarm.
So what’s REALLY hiding behind the big difference in price? Here are five things you may be getting ripped off on or not being told by a window company you’re interested in.
1. The Type of Installation
This is a really big one, and we mentioned it countless times. There are specific pros and cons to full-frame and insert (retrofit) installations, and one might be more appropriate for the condition of your windows than the other. The big problem is that there are companies on the market who sell insert windows as a full-frame replacement. At the very least, in a full-frame replacement the brickmould, jamb, and frame get replaced, usually for vinyl parts. These additional parts and labour are what drives the cost of full-frame replacements significantly higher than retrofits. Knowing the difference between the two can save you thousands of dollars, but equally as important, ensure you get the right windows for your home.
2. Product Quality
Another reason for a big difference in price is the quality of the windows themselves. This is an important thing to look out for with companies that carry different types of windows. Sometimes a company will advertise energy efficient triple-pane units that are on par with competition when it comes to Energy Ratings, but the product that actually goes into the home is of substantially lower quality. Regardless of who you go with in the end, make sure that the brand and make are specified both on the contract and the windows that arrive in your home.
3. Hidden Fees
If a product consultant really wants to beat the competition, they may lower the price beyond a profitable margin for the company. But the work still has to get done, and someone has to pay for it. Believe it or not, some companies will go back to the customer and ask for more money after the contract has been signed. This is where you will really regret going with the cheapest option; because now not only do you have to pay more than you expected, but the completion of your project depends on it. When you are ready to sign the contract, make sure you discuss the fact that the amount stated is the final amount you are going to pay. If the quote is put together properly and isn’t designed to trick you, the company should be fine with making the contract sum the final amount for the project. That’s the whole point of a contract after all.
Many companies in the window industry and home renovations today, capitalize on market demand. They set up shop in a city quickly, sell and install as much as they can, and move on to another place. Not coincidentally, these are also the companies that offer the lowest quotes and offer you just about anything you can dream of as long as you sign with them. What’s the catch here? Unlike companies that are in it for the long run, these businesses usually don’t invest in proper safety nets like insurance. For them, it is way easier to ride off into the sunset and leave a customer hanging, rather than invest their own money upfront to secure a business that won’t exist in a year’s time. It may seem like an afterthought, but make sure to ask a company if they are bonded and insured. Even if they may not have the best product, at least this will tell you if a company is serious about their business and customers in the are.
The same can be said about a company’s accreditation. All trustworthy businesses today take part and are accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB). The BBB is a good indicator of how long a company has been in business for (the age of accreditation should be fairly close to the age of the company), and how well they deal with customer complaints. The age of accreditation is also an important factor in a company’s rating. A company may have an A+ grade on BBB, but in reality has only been accredited for less than a year and has had no complaints opened against them.
5. No Service Department
If you spend some time researching window companies online you’ll find one thing in common throughout most of the negative reviews. When customers complain about a window company it usually isn’t about the quality of the product or installation. Most customers express their dissatisfaction with a company if they are not getting timely service when things go wrong. And this is actually a major concern if you consider most windows have a warranty of at least twenty-five years. You don’t want to be stuck with a product that doesn’t work, much worse with nobody to resolve the problem you have. Look for companies that have a designated service department. This way you’ll know that your investment isn’t only protected on paper, but there is actually someone there to help you and make things right.
It is often tempting to go with a company that offers you the best price.
After all, a window is a window is a window, right?
But in reality, just like with anything in life, you get what you pay for. And while you may save the money going with a company that is significantly cheaper than the other competitors, chances are there will be something missing. You’ve already decided to replace your windows and make the big financial commitment. Why not make sure that you are investing in the best thing for your money, and your investment is properly protected for the duration of its warranty?