Replacing the old windows in your home with new, energy-efficient models can be a great upgrade for your home! They can add value to your home, while also decreasing your monthly energy bills. They also look great!
If you have a lot of windows in your home, or want a lot of specialty windows or upgrades, the cost of window replacement can be relatively high. Fortunately, it’s a project you typically only have to do once.
When you take on a large home improvement project like this, it’s important to do your due diligence. Otherwise, you can end up paying more than you need to, or you could end up unhappy with the results. We spoke with Michal Bohm, owner of BM Windows in San Diego, and a veteran of the replacement window industry about things homeowners need to look out for when shopping for replacement windows.
The High-Pressure Sales Tactic
High-pressure sales tactics are nothing new, and they aren’t exclusive to the replacement window industry, but Bohm tells us that a lot of replacement window companies—especially those operating in competitive markets—use this tactic.
Bohm explains, “Many replacement window salespeople are taught that they need to do or say whatever it takes to make a sale before they leave a potential customer’s home. They’ll tell homeowners that the price they are giving them is only good if they sign a contract right then and there, and that if they wait, the price will go up. They might make up some reason for this like, ‘We’re placing a bulk order tomorrow and we can add your order to it to get you a better price.’ This is just nonsense. There’s no ‘bulk order,’ and there’s no reason why a homeowner shouldn’t be allowed to think things over or get quotes from other companies.”
If a company tries to pressure you into buying before you’re ready, it might be because they know their prices are higher than others, and they don’t want to give you the chance to shop around and compare.
Installation Not Included
Another thing Bohm has seen in his years in the replacement industry is companies that will give homeowners prices that don’t include the installation of the windows. The price will just be for the windows themselves. The homeowner will just see the bottom-line price and think it looks great. Then, when the installation day comes, the replacement window company will slap them with a second bill for thousands of dollars for the cost of the installation.
“This is borderline dishonest,” Bohm says. “People assume that the quote they are being given from a replacement window company includes installation, and rightly so. Replacement window installation isn’t generally considered a DIY project, so why would anyone want to just purchase the windows? The companies that employ this tactic are taking advantage of the fact that most homeowners don’t read all of the fine print in the contracts they sign, and aren’t familiar with purchasing replacement windows.”
If you receive a price from a replacement window company that seems too good to be true, make sure you ask if the price includes installation.
Also on the subject of installation, make sure you ask about who will be installing the windows a company is trying to sell you. Some replacement window companies only sell the windows and then outsource the installation to subcontractors. These subcontractors may or may not be trained in replacement window installation.
Bohm says, “Look for a company that has their own team of installers. These people will be familiar with the products they are installing, and have likely received factory training on the best installation methods for those particular products. At my San Diego replacement window company, we only use our own professional installers. Because of this, we are able to offer a lifetime guarantee on the installation.”
This is a common tactic with almost all salespeople—the upsell. A salesperson will try to convince you that you need certain upgrades or features to really be happy with your purchase. Some of these add-ons can really increase the price, and many of them are completely unnecessary.
“At our company, we don’t try to talk homeowners into upgrades unless we really think they can benefit from them. For example, if they live on a busy street, we’ll mention that they might want to consider an upgraded sound suppression package. Or if there’s a certain room that receives direct afternoon sun, we’ll suggest that they add some additional UV protection to the windows in that room. But in general, the windows we sell come standard with all the features people need.”