What You See Is Not What You Get

What you see is NOT what you get.

It is quite normal to get several estimates when considering vinyl siding or vinyl replacement windows. Many companies come to your home, take some measurements, and write a price on a card. Their only hope of earning your business is to have the lowest price. We all have busy schedules. Often consumers, wary of a long “sales pitch” actually insist on this approach. This is a disaster waiting to happen!


People confuse home improvement with other retail purchases such as auto shopping. All Fords are the same. They are made on the same assembly line. They have the same warranty; get the same mileage, etc. The only difference is the quality of the customer service that the dealer provides, and the dealer’s location in relation to you. Even doctors, lawyers, accountants, engineers and a myriad of professionals have standards, codes, ethics and procedures that are required to assure that the consumer is treated fairly.

In home improvement, especially window replacement and vinyl siding, there are few inspections, and limited oversight by anyone other than the purchaser. As long as the work “looks” good enough for the consumer to pay, that’s all that matters. Home improvements consistently rank at the top of consumer complaints. The naive consumer cheerfully pays for substandard work, not knowing the corners that have been cut until later.

If you start calling vinyl siding and replacement window companies in last year’s Yellow Pages, you will find that one third of the listings are no longer in business. Many individuals fail because they don’t charge enough to honor the warranty on their work. The consumer files suit, and the individual contractor simply files bankruptcy, and opens under a different name. The consumer is now forced to pay others to do the job over, at increased expense.

Do business with a company that has a track record, remember that shoddy installation might not be evident for a few years. Check out the Better Business Bureau Report. Don’t pay in advance; if a company needs your money to start a project, there won’t be any money to repair it. Compare apples and apples. Spend some time to get an education in the mechanics of the project. You should be considering several things; the type of improvement, the materials used, the techniques involved in the installation, the warranties provided and by whom, the experiences of prior customers, the financial stability of the firm.  Invest your time in advance of the project, not after your home has been damaged.

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