Click a question:
How long does a home visit take to get a quotation I have heard that salespeople want to sit for hours until we sign?
Answer: This I can justify and breakdown into multiple answers as everybody's needs are different. Firstly let me explain the brief job description of the person that would normally call on you. We much prefer to call them consultants, of whom are prepared to work unsocial hours normally late evenings and weekends whose job it is to advise customers on their product range, give the companies price to carry out the works and secure a valued contracts for their company (these thick skinned people are often the joke of many a comedian, TV program, newspaper or the general topic of conversation at some time in most peoples lives). Some are human, with families, just doing a days work and enjoy their working environment. Yes there are rouges out there. The object of asking a company to your home is that you are interested in the purchase of replacement products firstly the main thing in your mind is price, can I afford it, what if it is beyond my budget? All of us are human, we all experience in our lives this dilemma whether it be a new car, holiday or weekly groceries. It is the sales consultants job to listen to your needs and requirements, then advise you on their recommendations and companies cost. To do the job correctly can take time, you are possibly looking to spend a lot of money on your investment. Theoretically I could call on a prospective customer and come up with a price in less 20 minutes. Most people will get 3 alternative quotes (fine by us) some go for six or even more obviously for every body that calls to do the job correctly will compound the customers time. Most people ask companies to call during unsociable hours i.e.: Evenings normally after you have had your evening meal and at weekends. This is classed as our working day so your consultant should be wide-awake and ready to do his job, (obviously you may be tired after your days work and thinking of other issues). For customers wanting a guide price only why not use our ONLINE QUOTING SYSTEM. Without the need for any body to take up your valuable time. As with most companies our initial home consultation is Free. We are not charging you for a call out, travelling, advice or written estimates (think of this next time you call out a plumber or consult your solicitor). If we could charge you I would make a good living just on estimating.
Why are some companies much dearer than you, what are you cutting out?
Answer: We feel we cannot cut much out of the quality of our product, our installations are carried out that we do not have many on going service calls or complaints. We cannot compromise on our standard of installation vehicles. We dare not use cheap rate labour. I cannot see what we are cutting out, our prices are competitive and we are a solvent company with many satisfied customers.
Why so long?
Answer: Our job is to secure orders for our company, if customer A is happy with a brief visit, ok we get an early day. If customer B wants to discuss rocket science related to the product (these can take longer) ok. Everybody has a different point of view, some people want more information. My personal view is once I have made an appointment to see a prospective customer, my time becomes theirs. I am prepared to spend as much time with them as they need to be sure they are making the correct choice by ordering with Cristal. It is not unusual to make a second visit or discuss issues further by telephone or e-mail. One of our rules is that the customer has invited us into their home, we assure them that we promise not to outstay our welcome.
The other quotes we have been given are higher or lower then your company, all windows look the same to us.
Answer: I am glad that we are not the cheapest quote you have been given. Its true many windows now do look the same, (possibly due to the introduction of the New building regulations April 2002 that now covers windows and doors). Many reputable suppliers products are compliant under the BBA certification on performance insulated sealed units carry the same glass and air caps, every manufacturer has a similar locking or hinge system all offer a choice of colour finishes. There are still a few ways to keep costs down on the materials used for the products but we feel the savings are false economy. We cannot see any major innovations on the horizon for windows apart from self cleaning glass. To us we still try to offer what we feel is a quality made product, with all the benefits at a sensible price to allow the company to remain in business.
How can other companies do the job cheaper?
Answer: Lets look at some possible ways for you. Lets use the most basic of basic products that will fill the hole in the wall. Are you dealing with a friend of a friend who works from a white van, can do the job for cash with no v.a.t? Does not declare this extra money to the Inland Revenue possibly works for a major company but can do the work as a private? You won't have to worry about a warranty as he is only a mobile phone call away should you need help. Its true he will probably do an excellent job. But warranties for replacement products are standard in this industry for TEN YEARS, will his telephone number still be the same? By law replacement products come under building regulations and require a certificate of compliance both for the product and the installation. (The installation company or installer is liable for this) Under the Fensa scheme the company that carries out the works will notify the building control office via Fensa of compliance of whom will issue the necessary documents. Including a Insurance backed ten year warranty. Obviously all documentation must be in place along with receipts for the works carried out. It is surprising how many of our customers contact us in a few years time to say they are moving, but the buyers solicitor now wants copies of the warranties and will not complete the sale until proof of the warranty on the replacement products are produced (can duplicates be sent we seem to have lost ours). How do you explain to a prospective buyer of your property that this was a cash job, no questions asked, wink wink. Some companies work on the principle of using cheap subcontract labour to fit their products, this obviously saves the company a vast amount by not paying nation insurance, holiday and sickness pay, saves the cost of paying out for a vehicle as the fitter has his own. They only work as and when the work is available. This is not true in all cases as there are some very specialised people out there with a host of skills offering their skills on a contract basis and can command a higher rate of pay. (This is often the case in offices, Construction companies The NHS and most large organisations). We use our own direct full time employed teams of installers, but do use the services of skilled plumbers, electricians and related skills as required. The only other way to save money is to price your job as a basic fit and seal job,(Thus the price seems a lot cheaper). All extras i.e. debris removal / disposal, making good to fitting areas, pebble dashing etc. charged on a daily or hourly rate plus materials once the job is being installed. How nice to be presented with an additional, no negotiable charge at the end on your installation. (A major national company actually has this written into there contract). The price we quote is for the complete installation, (subject to survey) we do not come looking for extra money. Occasionally we do come across defects in properties (X-ray eyes have not been issued to us yet), that may require remedial works. We will discuss this with our clients and offer a price to carry out the works, alternatively they may source other persons to do the works. We try to be fair. Conservatories are a completely different issue: Not yet under full planning or building regulations there are many ways that companies can cut corners and save money, books running to many volumes can be written on the subject. Mostly savings are made on base constructions that surveyors are astounded at the build quality and that some companies’ still use window frame materials for roof structures. Along with anything between the two. Customers should remember that a conservatory structure should be formed along similar lines of a normal extension, much of the criteria is the same apart from the roof. If you had an extension built would you let a builder build onto a small foundation 100mm slab (many people do when having conservatories built). We feel the quicker legislation is put on conservatory buildings the better as then everybody is in a level playing field prices should then stabilise and become realistic. We are happy to advise any customer on our way of carrying out a conservatory structure and would be happy to liase with any survey, architect or local authority on any aspect of design, structure installation. We spend a long time monitoring our prices and realise that we are not going to become millionaires but can still earn a good standard of living for our families by not being greedy with the view of staying in business for years to come. We do advertise the fact that if any prospective customer can come up with an alternative quotation, we will try to match or better that price on an exact like for like basis. We often tell prospects with the prices they tell that we cannot do the job and they would be best to take up the other offer, we do not want to become busy fools.
We have heard that some companies keep offering extra discounts or free goods. Do you?
Answer: This is the area that we try to advise but also have sympathy with the client. Would you agree: In life every body wants the highest quality product at the lowest possible price? Our prices are computer generated to cover the full cost of the job at today's prices. We do not build in false discounts, inflate prices to offer interest free credit, offer free holidays, televisions or any other cheap incentive to purchase. We personally think that if a client wants to by windows or a conservatory that is what they should be quoted for. If they want a holiday there are good deals about for a holiday or TV, Why not take the money off of the cost and buy your own TV and not be given some end of line bulk buy junk. Discounts are normally available for bulk buying with most companies, here we are different. We take the view that our customers would appreciate that the price being offered is the price for that time, (not that they could get it cheaper by adding extras). We will endeavour to give our best price on every job (if finance does not allow the cost of a new door. We believe if we get your window order correct then you should have no qualms about coming back to us for the door. We like to take the job away for costing at the office as we can view all aspects of the installation. Our biggest costs are by far labour. If this can be utilised to its full capacity on a larger job we would then be able to offer a slightly better price to a job done in stages. We would rather take a rather laid back / no pressure approach to our pricing and selling policy with no dutch type auctions. Many companies employ their consultants on a commission only basis, giving them a high marked up price list, heavy sales targets and pressure to sell. These are the guys that will start of with a ridiculously high price and immediately offer a large discount to entice you to buy. If no response further discounts may be offered along with another 10 % to sign on the night. As a further insult to your intelligence they will most probably make a spoof telephone call to a manager, (normally a vacant number or an answerphone to acquire you a special discount as your home is a prime site or some other magic wonder). Can you now believe these people? How the price has tumbled from a grossly inflated figure to what appears to be a bargain. Believe me there a people out there who will buy at the first price given.
What normally happens when Your consultant calls?
Answer: I would firstly like to be shown around the property to view the areas the client is considering and take approximate measurements, (I would like to add at this stage that these measurements are only approximate for a pricing purpose). Being in the trade for so long after a while you can normally judge the size relating to the pricing matrix. This has concerned some people in the past, thinking that the windows will not fit. (Once an order is placed a detailed survey is carried out on a made to measure basis). Whilst viewing the windows notes are being taken of the customers existing opening styles, and any other problems associated with that particular room, i.e. noise, security issues, condensation etc. We would normally like to look at the outside of the property as many typical installations may need additional works carried out that can then be explained to the customer, i.e. cables attached to window frames, access problems to various windows or potential aspects that could effect the installation costings. (No properties are the same in our book). With this information we can discuss with the client his or her own personal needs. i.e. change the style of window to lead lites, change designs and openings, is the job required to be priced in stages, anticipated time scales. At this stage the client is given the choice to see a full size working model of our products or discuss the product range in more detail. Once we know what the customers needs are price can be prepared and presented. (We work on the principle of taking the information away and contacting the customer with our quotation). A price can be worked out there and then either on computer or by hand but this does take time and already the clocks been ticking away, (how time fly's).
How can any reputable company offer its products at ridiculous high prices then cut the price by thousands?
Answer: What if you still say no? (Let the battle commence he wants your order, he still has to earn his commission. This is normally where they refuse to leave your home until you have signed). Many people do. For those who do not do not despair you will now be bombarded by sales manager, installation managers even possibly the Pope offering you further discounts to buy from them. (No wonder people become disillusioned). What if you had purchased at the higher prices and you found out later you could have purchased much lower? Will you get a refund? Do you think you are going to get a far superior product or installation? I do not think so, (they have to claw back all the discounts some how). We think this type of selling is an insult to any customers intelligence, we to are customers and often experience similar experiences when buying new vehicles, computers related products, or accessories to our business. It is hard work securing the best price, we often change a supplier due to this type of practice. Normally you only buy replacement products once and we all have short memories on how we where treated with any company. We believe in treating our customers with courtesy and respect and try to offer honest advice, competitive prices for our high standard products and quality finish.
So why are some other companies that much dearer?
Answer: Possibly there vast overheads, and top heavy management structures, advertising costs, remedial works by not getting it right first time high sales commissions general inefficiency. Sponsorship deals, to name but a few. Whose paying for it all? (You've guessed). Many of these companies can produce high quality work, but are normally part of a group that is looking after its shareholders interest often sold off and re-structured over the years. Why not ask some of the big boys to produce their companies portfolio and changes over the past ten years. (You may be surprised). We strive to keep the company on an even keel, with heavy investments in computer technology, sensible outlays on works vehicle, reasonably priced overheads on buildings and showrooms, fixed budget advertising no high commission sales people staff paid at fair rates our savings are reflected in our prices. We are not looking to be a big concern and are quite happy to be large enough to cope, small enough to care and go to bed at night with out the burden of big headaches. (Perhaps that's why I am not a millionaire). We often use a quotation from the works of John Ruskin that reads: "There is hardly anything in this words that some man can make a little cheaper and sell a little cheaper he who considers price alone becomes this mans law full prey". How true in this industry.