It is always just as you sit down to a nice cup or tea or when the kids are just about to jump in the bath – the doorbell rings and there standing on your doorstep is the smiley double glazing salesman. Your heart sinks and you wish that you weren't the only property in the street with the old wooden frames still on your house.
These people know how to make you feel like their product is the best and the cheapest. They point out how such and such down the street had theirs done last year and doesn't it look great? Then they point out how much money you will save in heating bills. How burglars will simply walk into your home unless you have a PVC door and how woodworm are probably eating into the very walls of your home as we speak.
Well even if you actually do want double glazing, the best remedy to the door step invasion is to be completely prepared and to know your stuff. The following rules should help you to steer clear of the cowboys and to get a decent quote without the strong arm tactics.
- Make sure you choose them, not the other way around. Avoid anyone who tries to do a deal across the door step. They obviously need the customers and do not have enough work.
- Get recommendations from friends and go around to see the work which has been done. Ask what the workmen were like and if any problems have been rectified.
- Follow up the recommendations with online checks of the status of the company, if the owner has ever had any other companies and what happened to them. Check recommendation sites for reviews. We particularly like this one – www.ratedpeople.com
- Check the company for their insurances, guarantees and memberships of trade bodies. Also check for product standards such as kitemarks, so you know you have comeback should the product fail. All this information should be available to you before you make any commitment.
- Call them for a quote and make it clear you have a set time window and you will not allow them to run over time. Also make it clear you want a written quote and no decision will be made at the time of the quote. If they don't accept this then you don't want to deal with them. If they try to say that they have a special deal for the day of the quote only – don't believe them
- Before they arrive do your homework as to how much it should cost. Online manufacturers can give an idea of the cost of a double-glazed unit and some will even estimate fitting costs.
- Your salesman should offer you samples to borrow, a list of local people who will allow you to look at their work, copies of their contract to look over, proper drawings and recommendations as to any other work which they feels needs completion to make the windows look their best.
- Get at least three quotes and use them as bargaining tools to get a better price.
- Once you have received your quote and are happy you will probably have to pay a deposit. Don't pay more than 10% unless you are having bespoke windows. Pay it on your credit card so you are covered by the Consumer Credit Act. If you can pay the whole bill in this way then do so.
- Make sure the contract states the breakdown of payments and that it seems fair and not open to increases at the last minute.
- A salesman who is confident in his job will appreciate that you have done your homework. It saves everyone time and you know you are being given the best possible price rather than the run around.