WINDOWS 101

 Replacement Window Sales – The Dog and Pony Show

Many home improvement companies offering window replacement follow a formula of aggressive marketing to set an appointment by any means necessary and they follow that up by aggressive selling tactics once in the home to secure the sale then and there.  On the Marketing side there’s the coupon for the third, fourth or fifth window free.  Or the free or ridiculously low installation cost.  Are they really not paying those guys to install those things?  Are they paying them less?  These are all just marketing gimmicks to get the phone to ring, and ring it does.

On the sales side, there is a well worn methodology.  It starts with the warm up.  Let’s get to know each other.  It then bleeds into the Company story.  We are the greatest thing since sliced bread, and we have objective looking numbers to prove it.  They tell you they build the windows and their installers have received training at the finest window installation university.  They will build urgency, and you will feel shame for having lived in impoverished conditions and squandering your children’s future on unnecessarily high energy bills.  Then discussion will turn to how the windows are put together.  How the good guys build them, and how bad guys do it. 

Then comes the price, or so you think.  Out they roll the list price, which is good for a year.   Then comes the monthly special they heard about on the television, the radio, or in the monthly coupon mailer.  But wait, they have another option for you.  Mysterious marketing dollars may be available to bring down the price.  Or they may have the “initial visit discount,” offering you the low, low price today and today only. 

Now there is a cost associated with marketing and selling windows, and that cost is part of the cost of every window.  The gift card that convinces you to make an appointment is paid for by the windows. The television and radio advertising is paid for by the windows.  The clipper magazine ad, the Val Pak ad.  The search results on Google or Bing.  They are all paid for by the window.  And the simple economics of it is that the more a company spends to market, advertise and sell its windows, the more the customer is paying for these things instead of paying for good windows and good installations of those windows.  It is really that simple.  Doesn’t it make more sense to learn more about windows so you can make an informed decision on what you want before you start the process? 

How much will my window project cost?  This is the $64,000 question. Many a homeowner only wants to know how much it is going to cost to take them from their current situation to replacement.  Now, to budget for the cost, there are several on-line sources that can tell you what it may cost, and these sources will vary significantly.  For example, in Cost v Value magazine (2014) in the Chicago market, the cost for replacing 10 double hung windows with a standard pocket installation is $11,980.  Meanwhile, Cost Helper magazine will tell you that people are paying between $300 and $700 per window.  Or you can also go to Angie’s List and check out the daily deals offered on line.  Recently, one company offered 5 windows for $2,000 ($450 each) and another offered 5 windows for $2700 ($540 each).  So if you want “some idea”, there you are. This gives you a glimpse of the bottom of the barrel.  It’s dark down there.

There is no cut and dry answer as to how much you will pay for having new windows installed in your home, but there is a tried and true method of finding out whether you are getting the best value for each dollar you do invest, and that is to research.  Your average window salesman learned enough to be the smartest guy in the room when it comes to windows, but that doesn't mean you can’t come to the table with the same knowledge.  And that is why we have put together Windows 101.  All the information that is in this crash course is the information that is imparted in a good window presentation, so by learning it here and now, you can opt out of listening to it when a window salesman comes knocking.  Now instead of passively absorbing an hour plus presentation designed to get you so say “yes”, you can confidently proclaim, “I am looking for a full frame installation of 8 double hung windows, vinyl frames, wood grain interior, white exterior, with a U factor of between .27 and .23."