Sunday, October 9, 2011

Buying Local Series: Window Dealers

Buying local: Window Dealers
Buying Local can save you time and money in the long run when building your custom home.
When you are building your custom home the more things that you choose from the local area where the house is being built can be better for you and better for the local economy.
If you are building a new home, second home or recreational property it’s better to buy the things you need from the local suppliers even if they are more expensive. Having all of the material for you build sent from different regions because you believe you can save a little bit of money can turn out to be the worst thing you do, if you look at the consequences of your actions you might change your mind.
If you are saving 10% on items you are buying in a different location and then having them shipped to your build site that might sound like a smart economic choice, except until you have a problem with anything. Problems could be as follows; damaged during shipping, warranty, parts missing, some assembly required with no instructions or you just want to return part or all of the order. Companies that ship things considerable distances usually will charge you a large fee to take part or all of your order back if you’re not happy with it. Also for warranty, if could take months or even years before you can get someone from the company up to your home to look at the issue and usually they will charge you to come and look, even if it’s a warranty issue.
This is going to be a series on all the different types of local contractors that you can buy from and why you should buy from them. This first one in this series will be about window dealers.
Products such as windows and doors are a prime example; you may think that buying direct from the manufacturer is a better way to go because it seems that you are saving money. In reality if you look at all the costs associated with buying from them it could cost you more in the long term. Your local window supplier is technically a middle man for window companies; this means that he puts a percentage on top of your order to make a profit. In the world of big box stores people have been trained to think that the middle man is a bad thing. Actually someone like a window dealer is a good thing; instead of selling one type of window he sells dozens of window types and manufacturers. So by your budget, taste, wants and needs they can help you choose the exact window that will suit your build. Also window dealers get discounts from the manufacturers that they are able to pass on to you, making them more competitive. These discounts are not available to a homeowner even if they go straight to the source.  Once you have selected your windows, the window supplier will go over the order with your builder before it is placed with the manufacturer to insure that the measurements are all correct. The window dealer then tracks the progress of the window order so that it can be delivered to the building site when the contractor requires them. Many times with window manufacturers they ship the order as soon as the order is complete and ready to ship, this is because they have no room to store the windows at the factory. This can cause some major problems on a build site. A house that is being framed is a dangerous place for glass windows; there a lot of people working with air powered nailers and lots of lumber being carried around. It doesn’t take much for a window to be damaged in that kind of environment. If your windows have wood cladding on the inside, they can be damaged from the weather, windows are not made to handle weather on the inside, there made to keep the weather out. The biggest concern about having windows delivered early before they are ready to be installed is that they could be stolen. Many windows have been stolen off construction sites because they were stored on site before being installed. Window dealers are equipped with storage space to safely and securely store you windows until your builder calls them for delivery.
Speaking of delivery, if you order your windows from the manufacturer, they will ship them to the site in a transport or cube van with a driver. The driver is usually under orders that they are not to get off the truck bed. That means that when the windows are delivered the builder has to supply enough men to unload the truck themselves and carry the windows inside. Window dealers on the other hand will have had the windows delivered to their building, will reload the windows on to trucks and trailers and supply labour to help unload the windows. They will then help carry the windows into the building. It might not sound like a big deal to have your windows delivered in pickup trucks towing trailers; but if you have ever been on a construction site you would know there is no grass and very little driveway. This usually means that it is extremely difficult for tractor trailers or cube vans to get in to a construction site and turn around. Four wheel drive pickup trucks pulling trailers can pretty much go anywhere you need them to go to drop the windows off. All of this saves time and man hours that the homeowner has to pay for in the end. So the deal that you got from the manufacturer starts to look less and less like a deal and more like a giant headache.
When talking about warranty, window dealers are in the ideal position to help you. Window dealers buy such large volume of product from manufacturers they have more influence with them. That means that they will come out and fix warranty issues even before calling the manufacturer. They know that they will get paid for the warranty at a later date and so there goal is to keep you and the builder happy by doing the repair. If you are building a second home or recreational property having the windows come from a local window dealer means that the dealer can stop by your house to assess or fix the problem without you having to come up to the house to meet them. If you ever have a window broken from animals or flying debris during a storm, a window dealer will have the ability to have the window repaired properly.
A couple of other things that window dealers do that help save you money, they take responsibility if an order is delivered either incomplete or incorrect. They supply technical assistance to the builder if he has questions about certain window installations or answers questions on how window and doors should be properly operated, cleaned and maintained.
A window dealer is able to stop by the location of your build and assess what they believe you require for windows. So if you are building in a location with high wind and extreme weather he may suggest a certain window, the same if you are building a house in a real sandy location he may recommend that you install an all vinyl window so the sand doesn’t damage anything on the window over time.
Sometimes when a house is designed the designer doesn’t take into consideration the cost of the windows because of the shape or size. When the home owner starts to look around for pricing they could find that the windows are too expensive. A window dealer can assess the plans and come up with alternatives for windows that fit in the same space but do not cost nearly as much.
One last thing about buying local, in a world that has decided to go green there is nothing more green then buying locally.
So remember, when building your home try and buy locally it’s not just good for the local economy it’s good for you as the homeowner as well.

Rob Abbott
Operations Manager
Village builders Inc.

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