In our ongoing effort to shed more light on the replacement window business we’re answering questions that our customers commonly ask. One question we get all the time lately is “How long does it take to get new windows?”
When you’re considering a replacement window project I always suggest remembering that the windows will be in the house for decades. I know everyone gets excited. People want their pretty new windows in ASAP. As a window professional of many years I’ll just suggest that since the new windows will be in the house for a very long time. An extra week or two usually isn’t a huge deal.
Now sometimes people do have specific timing requirements. Say you’re selling the house or leaving the country for 6 months or you have a new tenant moving in on a certain date or your wife is pregnant and you’re trying to get new windows before the baby comes. These things happen. It’s important to talk to your window company about timing and to understand their response.
Ok great, but how long does it take to get new windows?
Well, the exact timing will vary. I know right now in most markets our company is averaging about 10-12 weeks or so from when the customer places the order until the windows are installed. This time last year we were closer to 8-10 weeks and 6 months ago we were closer to 15 weeks so things do change.
Now, that’s not the case for every product and option. We see custom sized patio doors taking over 2 months just for manufacturing. Bay windows are slow, painted exterior colors are slow, some products are definitely different than others. Some simple projects are going in faster than average too so it really can vary.
Did Covid impact window timing?
Absolutely. I know our company, and most every company, experienced huge demand. We went from being nervous in March and April of 2020 to being completely swamped with new window orders in May.
People were not going on vacation or out to dinner so they had more money in their pocket. They were also home more so the imperfections in the house became more clear. Everyone wanted new windows and every window company has been BUSY.
On top of that, the manufacturers had to increase social distancing at the plants. That meant there were more orders and fewer workers to make the windows. Things just took longer than usual.
Now we’re into April of 2021 and things are still busy but timing is getting back to normal for most products and in most markets.
What should I do if I have a hard deadline when I need the windows?
My first piece of advice in this situation would be to see if your deadline is really that hard after all. For example, a year or two ago I had a customer in Michigan who said she absolutely needed the new windows installed by Thanksgiving.
Being the honest and transparent company that we are I told her that we could try for that but that it wasn’t guaranteed. Well, for one reason or another we couldn’t schedule the installation until the week after Thanksgiving. She was mad at me. She held off on the installation until mid-January and then complained that the project took too long.
We never promised a pre-Thanksgiving installation, but I was still the bad guy. In my humble opinion that’s not a great way to deal with people or a particularly fun way to live your life.
In talking with her it turns out there was no real reason to worry so much about Thanksgiving. She just wanted the windows installed before her Christmas decorations were up. That’s why she ended up waiting until January, until the decorations were down. No big deal, no need to get all upset.
What could have made that better?
A better strategy would have been to communicate that if the windows aren’t installed by Thanksgiving they’ll need to be installed in January. Everyone would have understood the plan and nobody would have been upset.
If you really do have a make or break date in mind you should defininltey talk with the company about that ahead of time. Talk about what will happen if the windows can’t be installed by that date or if there is a service call required after that date.
Remember, it’s possible it rains on your installation date or the truck crashes or the window gets run over by a forklift in the warehouse. There are a million things that could cause a delay so rather than getting mad about it I’d suggest understanding the plan in case of a delay so nobody is surprised.
Will a salesperson make unrealistic promises to get a window order?
Absolutely they will and this is something to watch out for. I’ll sometimes have a customer ask me about lead times. I’ll give them my best estimate and then occasionally someone will tell me they went with a competitor because they could get the new windows installed in 4 weeks or something completely unrealistic like that.
As one of the larger companies around we know almost everyone. In a case like that I know the other company absolutely cannot install the windows in 4 weeks. The salesperson was lying. I knew it, the other salesperson knew it, but the customer did not.
Unfortunately by the time the customer figures that out it’ll be too late. Their deposit check will be cashed and there will be nothing they can do. The company will make up some excuse and they’ll laugh all the way to the bank.
When a salesperson makes you a promise about timing, ask them what will happen if that timing doesn’t materialize. You’ll want to understand the plan ahead of time. Nothing is guaranteed so it’s good to know the plan.
If you’re buying from one company vs another because of timing be sure you know the answer to the “or what” question. If they say the project will be completed ask them “or what”. What will happen if that date doesn’t materialize?
The answer is probably nothing at all so that might not be something to use as a deciding factor. They might be lying to you or there might be some reason that they’re not busy when everyone else is. Why is nobody else deciding to work with them? That would be worth understanding.
Can a replacement window project be delayed unexpectedly?
Yes. This is defininltey possible. Something can come in wrong, or damaged or otherwise incorrect and in that case it would need to be reordered. That’s just life so you’ll want to be prepared for that possibility.
The best strategy will be to talk to the company about expected timing, how they prioritize projects, if they offer rush service, how they’ll handle an unexpected delay, etc. There’s no pizza in 30 minutes or it’s free guarantee so don’t accept silly promises. Just understand the situation and you’ll be ready for a successful window replacement project.
To find our company or other recommended companies in your area check this section. You can also find window reviews here and information about the tricky window sales tactics that many companies uses here. We hope you enjoy the site!