Questions You Need To Ask Your Double-Glazing Salesman
When it comes to buying double glazing your sales people are likely to be extremely friendly, helpful, and eager to answer any questions you may have. It’s easy to get bowled over by the salesmanship, however, to avoid being taken in its a good idea to have a list of questions ready in advance. By asking the right questions you can make sure that you’re talking to a reputable double-glazing company, and not one of the many cowboys out there.
So before you sign on the dotted line, remember to ask:
How long have they been established?
Now this isn’t to say that al newly established double-glazing firms are necessarily cowboys – or that all well established firms are beyond reproach. But if you are going to trust someone to make alterations to your home it’s reassuring to see that others have trusted them before. Ask how long the company has been established, and check with Companies House to be sure. If it’s a relatively new company, ask if you can get some references from their previous customers.
What do they guarantee?
More importantly, what legally enforceable guarantees do they offer? Ask what product standards they’ve been awarded. A kite mark from B.S.I, who regular British standards for safety, security and glass products etc. is a good one to keep an eye out for, as is approval from the B.B.A , the British Board of Agreement, and FENSA, a self-regulatory body for the whole glazing industry in the UK.
You also want to know what they have in the way of insurance, should things go horribly wrong. The company should have a minimum of £2 million cover, and their certification should cover the people who will be performing the actual work.
What trade organizations are they a part of?
Most established double glazing firms are part of one or more industry bodies. This services multiple purposes – it helps small companies cover issues of insurance, while also giving you a body you can refer to should you feel the company is treating you unfairly.
Recognized bodies include G.G.F – the Glass and glazing federation, B.P.F – the British plastics federation, F.M.B – the Federation of master builders, the Guild of Master Craftsmen, and more specific organisations such as the Conservatory council and Conservatory association, who both deal with, funnily enough, companies that build conservatories.
How many projects are they working on at the moment?
One of the trademarks of a cowboy is they will have lots of jobs ongoing at the same time, and will often bill you for the time spent on the phone to or travelling to and from other clients. A good contractor won’t spread themselves too thin, and will use the word of mouth from one client to bring in their future jobs.
This is why, again, it’s a really good idea to get some references from your double glazing firm. It’s hard to fake good word-of-mouth.
Can they show me their work?
Can they show you some samples of their products? Or one better, are there some installations they’ve done locally that you can take a look at?
How scary is the contract?
Look carefully at the terms of the contract, does the small print seem reasonable to you? Are the payment terms acceptable (and dependent on them finishing the job to get all their money)? Have you seen the full specifications for what they’re going to do?
What does your gut say?
This is a question you need to ask yourself. Whether you’re dealing with an established double-glazing firm like Anglian Windows or an operating running out of a single van, do you feel comfortable giving them people your money and access to your home? Even if everything seems in order, if you’re feeling uneasy about it you should wonder why.
This is particularly important if the salesman is using high pressure tactics. Any salesperson worth their salt will have enough confidence in their products and services to give you time to think it over, if they’re pushing you to sign on the dotted line straight away, that’s an alarm bell.
Sam Wright is a freelance writer who covers home improvement and consumer rights issues.