Husband & Wife Must Be Present

window salesman scams and tricks

Ever heard a window company say they require that both the husband and wife be present for their quote? Maybe they said they needed all the decision makers or everyone who is on the paperwork for the house. Have you wondered why this would be?

The answer is plain as day, but it might not seem so obvious if you don’t have much experience with home improvements. To make it short, they want you both to be there so they can try to talk you into buying on the spot without taking any time to think it over.

Remember these companies have been in business for years, they’ve met with thousands of folks who were considering a replacement window project just like you are. They know if they meet with the husband alone he’s likely to say “I’ll talk it over with my wife”.  And the wife will likely say the same thing about the husband.  Or one partner about the other, you get the idea.  Once that happens there isn’t much the company can do to close the deal. They’ll likely still try, but they know their odds are significantly reduced.

best replacement windows of 2015

Why does it matter so much if someone buys on the spot or takes a couple days to consider their options?

For many companies it doesn’t matter at all. Keep in mind that every company knows how their offering compares to their competitors. They know if they are offering a great value or not. If they know their prices aren’t very competitive they know they need to talk you into buying right away. If the let you have time to compare you’ll never buy from them.  Of course they won’t tell you this, they’ll tell you this is the best deal anyone has ever seen on windows as fantastic as these!!!  Not likely.

How can you tell if they’re really offering a great deal? 

Tell them you want to think it over for a couple days or maybe even a week.  If they tell you this deal will be gone in a week for any reason (no matter how convincing it may seem), you know FOR SURE that it’s not a great deal at all.

A great deal today will be a great deal tomorrow will be a great deal next week.  If a company really is offering you a great deal they’ll be confident enough to let you shop around.  A company that doesn’t want you to shop is a company that already knows what you’ll find.

Why is a limited time deal necessarily a bad deal?

Because nothing changes in the window business on a daily or weekly basis.  The cost of the products and the labor and everything else is the same today as it will be tomorrow and next week.  Why then is their pricing changing so quickly?  Because they know that if you compare your options you’ll see it’s a bad deal.  They know if you see it’s a bad deal you won’t buy from them.  They know if you don’t buy from them they won’t make any money.

Most importantly they know human nature makes you hesitant to make a large decision on short notice.  You’re not likely to sign a $5,000 to $10,000+ contract without thinking it over.

How do they get folks to sign on the spot?

They use another aspect of human nature against you.  They know people are naturally hesitant, but they also know folks hate to let a good deal get away.

If they tell you these windows normally cost $1,200 each because they are so out-of-this-world amazing, but you just lucked out.  You happened to call them on the last day of the rebate when they only need 2 more orders to reach their quota and it’s the managers birthday so he threw a sale and the really want a model home to use in your neighborhood so you can get them for only $600 if you buy tonight!

You get the idea.  All of these specials and sales can sounds very convincing.  Just remember it’s all made up.  There is no monthly rebate quota, or managers special, or neighborhood discount, or military special.  They’re trying to get you to be so excited about this fantastic deal so that they can overcome your natural hesitation and buy without taking any time to think about it.

So back to the “both owners must be present” line.  

Now that we know all this does is increase the chance they’ll be able to talk you into something, you can use this knowledge to your advantage.

There are thousands of companies, large and small, in your area that offer replacement windows and doors.  You’re probably only going to get quotes from 1-5 of them.  Use this info to your advantage by not meeting with companies that say they want both of you to be present.  It’s perfectly fine if you both are present (in fact I would suggest it), but the requirement is the surefire sign that you’re going to get a drawn-out sales pitch and you’ll most certainly be better off without that.

 So now that you have the inside story on that, what to hear a funny example?

When I was visiting the flower and patio show in Indianapolis last year I walked buy a well known window company at the state fairgrounds.  I overheard them telling a potential customer that they needed her husband there at the appointment because they were afraid of being sued.  They told her (with a straight face) that they had been sued before because a wife had ordered windows without her husband knowing about it.  They said he didn’t want to pay for the windows so he sued the company.

I really almost started laughing.  Aside from the Mad Men feel of a comment like that it’s also completely false.  They were sitting there lying to this poor woman and she was completely believing it.

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162 thoughts on “Husband & Wife Must Be Present”

  1. This happened to us. We had one of these national companies out. Never again. Like you said after a 2 1/2 hour presentation, we were given the “hard sell” big time. The original quote was $13,800 and then when we said we wanted to think about it, the quote dropped $3,000 for a tonight only deal. When we said we still wanted to wait, the guy asked us what number would make us sign that night. Told him over and over we were not signing anything. It was hard to get the guy to leave. It was a bad experience. Live and learn. Needless to say, we did not go with this company.

    1. Thanks for writing. We hear about this kind of thing every day. It’s unfortunate because it gives our whole industry a bad name. It’s a little concerning that large companies still operate this way. This tells you that some folks must be buying it. If this kind of maneuver didn’t work they would all be out of business by now.

      I’m glad to hear you didn’t work with them. Even if the price gets reasonable at the end by working with them you’d be encouraging them to continue acting this way. Every little bit helps!

      1. You are wrong folks…

        Companies want both people (all decision makers) to be their to maximize everyone’s time. Every representative in ANY industry wants that…In our industry, each homeowner will have different input regarding, window type (slider, double hung, casement, other configurations), window color, install process, etc. Price is only one variable. We want to address all the concerns ONE time and not come back multiple times because both could not be home. Also, it is common for both homeowners to NOT be on the same page. So simple projects have be quoted multiple times.

        Of course window/siding/door companies like to do business the first night. Any sales person in any industry wants that. Doing business the first night really does save money by saving time. If companies to go back to every customer twice they see half as many prospects. Makes sense, doesn’t it?

        People buy “on sale” and on time…the Home Shopping clock, “weekend” car sale, President’s Day sale, year-end clearance …..etc., any limited time offer. No different anywhere.
        We have one shot when we are in the home. Once we leave, regardless of price, we have a 15% chance of getting the business. Why? Because people do forget things such as quality differences, warranties, etc. People forget 1/3 of what was discussed in 48 hours. Problem is….what 1/3.
        If a company shows you competitive quotes, if you like their product, if the price is reasonable, if you like their warranty, if you like their BBB review and Angie’s List Review, if they guarantee the lowest price in writing for comparable products, then why not do business with them if they save and you money that night? They save you money by saving you time. Simple concept.
        Finally, there is more to the project than just price. Not all windows are the same. And people do forget specifics.
        Cheaper is not always better. You get what you pay for.
        There are always resources to check…..BBB, Angie’s List, Cost VS Value report. etc. Do you homework THEN invite people in.

        1. I appreciate that this is a common view and you do a great job of explaining it. Thanks for taking the time to write. The problem is that if you have a great deal considerably more than 15% of people will call you back. If 85% of the people who take the time to evaluate their options do not pick your company you may want to consider how you’re positioning yourself. We’re considering offering an info product to help window companies do a better job of offering a great value. You can get on the list to be notified about developments here.

          1. As stated earlier, only 15% ever do business companies in our industry we leave. This is an industry norm. It is not just “the deal” but because of:

            –Sometimes people get confused after seeing multiple companies. We lost a job once because we discovered the prospect mixed up our lifetime warranty (everything covered, including labor as long as you own the property and is fully transferable) with another company. The other company got the business as a result because they liked “their” warranty. And they paid more for the job, and got a lesser quality window! That person had SIX companies come in.

            –People forget 1/3 of what is discussed within 48 hours. Which 1/3 will they forget? After a week goes by most only remember one thing…..the price….not the quality, reviews, install quality, value, etc.

            Again, it makes no sense to go on one person appointments. Those appointments sell at approximately 10% because the “other” person has to be consulted—who has not met you, not seen your product, not know what differentiates you…etc. Inevitably we will have to come back, regardless of the deal or value initially presented, and it will waste both the homeowners’ time and ours. We do less business going to the same appointment twice–you can only be in so many places in a given week.

            Often the other person can’t be there for no good reason. We once got to an appointment only to see the wife pulling out of the driveway. We got to the door and the husband said she was going shopping for a pair of pants. Really? We just drove a 1/2 hour to your home, at your request, to improve your home, and you could not be there? Maybe the pants were on sale and the sale was ending that day….get the point?

            –Sometimes the “other” homeowner who is not there has no interest in doing the project at all. They “let” the homeowner who is there see companies “to get estimates,” only to tell the other spouse—see, we can’t afford it (regardless of price).

            –If someone is putting something in your home, and opening up walls to do it, that is designed to last a lifetime, shouldn’t both people make time to meet with you if they are truly committed to the project? We are professionals, not hacks. We would want to be treated like any other professional.

            This site leads people to believe that we are all just “tin men” trying to trick them. When in fact people often confuse themselves and pay more for less quality. Again, if you like the company, like the product, like the reviews, are shown competitive bids, AND are guaranteed the low price for a comparable product–in writing– why not buy the first night? It is often said when selling a house that the best offer is usually the first one.

          2. I appreciate you taking the time to share your point of view. It doesn’t seem unreasonable to me that someone would take time to think over a $5-$10k purchase. The idea that 85% of people who compare their options decide not to work with your company feels like a pretty strong indicator that you’re not offering a great value relative to your competitors. When faced with that truth your options are to come up with a better one day close knowing that you’re going to lose people who are aware of their options or you could find a way to offer a better value so that people who shop around find that you are offering a genuinely good deal.

            You’re not going to convince me that offering false discounts and “incentives” to get people to spend a lot of money without comparing their options is a great business practice. Of course you don’t need to convince me of anything. Good luck out there!

          3. Window Dog…You are mistaken. Nick…is correct. His figure of a 15% call back ratio may even be high, at least for some areas. NICK…is a Professional. He is not an order taker, and he is NOT a rookie who won’t be around next week. You want the lowest price? Go to Wal-Mart. You want work on your home? The Homeowner should be ready to do due diligence and to complete the homework I assign him…before I ever leave the driveway.
            The best negotiations are always “Win/win.” The customer gets exactly what he has been offered, (sometimes even more,) and the sales person also wins by demanding to be treated as a Professional and his/her time valued. I will tell prospective customers upfront, that they can tell me “No,” for a zero pressure sales call. That customer can feel free to tell me “Yes.” I will tell the customer, up front, that I do not make call backs. Those are simply not productive for me. I ask, in setting up the appointment, that all decision makers be there for the appointment. (again…Nicks stats are correct)
            Some prospective clients, cannot make a decision. That’s ok. You’ll tell me this before I spend my time and efforts. I, as a Professional, will then decide if I want to make a presentation, or not. Again…the best negotiations…are “Win/win.” I have instructed prospective clients to call me when they are ready to proceed…BEFORE I go to work for them. (I am a Professional, I do not perform unpaid labor) I have had customers who have actually called me back to gain another appointment, when I declined to do a presentation. (They could not/would not,) make a decision. Suddenly, they understand that there was no pressure, just honesty. I do go back on those calls, with a very high closing percentage. (I offer a good product, and great service)
            You can run off a lot of rookies, and play games with a bunch more. Call me, and you’ll be doing business with a Pro, who respects your time, and…his time. Can’t handle that kind of honesty? That’s ok. There’s a Wal-Mart down the street, and their sales people make minimum wage, for a reason. There are window companies that offer cheap windows. What makes a customer really angry, is to discover that those that offer cheap, must pay for cheap installations. Install labor will do NOTHING extra that may be required. Even a Great Window is a waste of money, installed poorly. It takes a lot of time and effort to EDUCATE a customer who knows very little of the differences between a good job, a fair price, or a cheap job, at a “bargain” price. I don’t work for free, and I have found that my prospects, when treated as intelligent homeowners, rather than just consumers, appreciate the breath of fresh air approach. Most Professionals I know, feel the same.

          4. Ha, that’s great. Did you just leave a Dave Yoho seminar? I love that there are companies out there acting like you do. It makes my company look that much better. Good luck out there.

          5. As a potential customer, I would kick both Nick and Phil to the curb immediately.

            Your comments show little respect for the customer. Yeah, maybe the wife did want a pair of pants. If you were meeting the person responsible for the decision, then do the job ya nut!

          6. Ha, I think Nick and Phil are frustrated because their job keeps getting harder every day.

          1. Sadly the windowdog is missing the point of nick. It not JUST HIS COMPANY…it is a home improvement industry statistic done through multiple surveys. Only 15% of consumer when seeking multiple estimates choose the “best product” the rest typically choose the last person in the house.

          2. Hi Joe, can you send over that study? I’d love to see that 85% of people make a bad decision. Until you send something real I’m not going to be very confident you’re telling the truth. Please do send I’m sure our readers would love to see your info.

          3. If you want someone to make a decision today, put the best price on the table to start with, and make that price good forever. Once you start lowering your price for a decision today, you’ve exposed that you are a charlatan. And how would you feel if he homeowner had 3 companies coming in for quotes, you were #3, and they made a decision to go with #1. Then they call you and say don’t bother. Your chances then are not 15%, but zero%. Your 15% number is suspicious anyway. If I look at 3 bids, each has a 33% chance of being selected. That number drops only for the guy who is trying to sell a poor quality product, or an overpriced one.

          4. The window dog is right. I have been in sales all my life and worked for multi-international companies. Have taken numerous sales seminars and read most of the major writers for sales and taught sales. Having both husband and wife present is the hard sell. Sale techniques teach with the wife present it places the husband in the difficult position of not purchasing on the spot when his wife shows extreme interest and wants to buy now. Husbands do not like to disappoint their wives, nor will they have a disagreement in front of the salesman. Construction processes stress to get 3 quotes, check the contractor for liens and complaints through local city internet site, get a written quote, make sure they have insurance and workers comp make sure their contractor’s license is current. Can you imagine a husband and wife making sure they are both present for 3 quotes in our busy world? If your quotes provide specifics on everything you discussed, i.e., color, size, material, permits, when you could start, finish, warranties, labor, and materials, the homeowner can make an informed decision based on the quotes he provides. The time can be longer than you want, it can take 6 weeks to gather the info to compare product, price and warranty. People do not always choose the cheapest, however, if the quotes compare identical products and your at 15k and the other guy is at 12k if the homeowner liked you the best he might give you a second bite at the apple. But in reality, he will be left with the feeling you tried to rip him off. Construction companies reputation are only slightly better than a used call salesman. The only person one has to blame are the companies that inflate their quotes to their benefit, and to the disadvantage of the buyer. These companies give your industry a bad repretation. Word of mouth referral provides more business to you than cold calling.

        2. You’re absolutely right and these are valid reasons. Wanting both people there that are involved in making the decision is the right thing to do and a more efficient use of everyone’s time.

          1. But, forcing a wife to be there when she has NO involvement in the decision is a bad business practice. I had to be here with one group and I was very upset to just sit and listen and have no input. Not really much to have really, on siding. I would never butt in and change anything. I have more faith in my husband than that. I get off work at 6pm and I had to make supper. Well, I had to sit and listen instead.

          2. You don’t have to. Just tell the company you’re not interested. There are MANY companies offering the exact same products and services. There is no need to deal with a company that pushes you around from the beginning.

          3. My job as a customer is to screen the products and pricing for the decision maker. You are responsible for your own time.

        3. But this does not justify salespeople outstaying their welcome. In one instance the sales guy turned up at 7pm and at 9pm I asked him to leave as it was getting late but he persisted with tying to sell us windows when we made it clear that we only wanted a quote and were not signing any contract. I made this clear to the company head office when the appointment was booked. At 11:30pm we finally got rid of him with some help from the Police as I didn’t want to risk prosecution for sending him through one of the windows he wanted to replace.

          1. I know what you mean we had the same problem. When we made the appointment we made it clear that we were not interested in doing windows right now but would be interested in a quote . We told the salesman that came the same thing. His appointment was at 10 he came at 10:15 by 1 o’clock my husband had a doctor appointment he needed to leave –he wasn’t interested kept trying to get us to commit told him again we were not ready right now want to think it over he said he could go to lunch and come back we told him no we still weren’t ready. My husband left – he stayed for another hour trying to convince me – his price went from approximately $7800 down to $4800 if I would sign today and do an endorsement for the company. Now I was really irritated at him just wanted him out of my house of course then his friendly attitude started getting a little nasty. When he was walking out the door he said I know you’re not going to go with our company- he was right no matter how good his price was and how good his product was I would not go with it because of him and I don’t trust a salesman who’s price goes from 7800 to 4800 so at $7800 I was really getting ripped off. The company was Power never heard of them before – their corporate office is in Pennsylvania.

        4. WRONG! They do not want you to have an excuse to not sign on the line. I have told a salesman over the phone I ONLY want a price for window installation so I can prioritize the 15 windows in the house. I was told my wife needed to be there. I asked WHY because I wasn’t buying that day – it was only an estimate. He said – company policy. I hung up.

        5. I agree except that when people walk around and I don’t know them or their companies, they still insist to meet my wife and me. That is a lot of pressure right there before I can do my own research.

    2. What is comical is all you think comission salesman like to waste there time with all you estimate collectors. If people donr buy on the first night they dont buy anytime in the near future

      1. Thanks for taking the time to write Bob. It’s interesting to hear the perspective of the “buy today” salesperson. I hadn’t expected we’d get that. Our typical customer buys within 2 weeks of meeting us. I think that’s because they can get a few more quotes if they want to and the see that we’re offering a pretty good value. Why do you think your typical customers don’t come back?

      2. I don’t find that statement to be accurate. I purchase many things. I shop, research, and return to purchase. Sometimes I upgrade because I have had the time to research. In fact, that is what I’m doing now. I have to buy windows. There isn’t a choice not to. But I want to buy the right window for me. I did the same thing with my appliances. I shopped, got a quote, came home, researched for a few days, returned to the same store, and my sales ticket was higher as I upgraded after reading comparison reviews. Just because your in sales, doesn’t make you a human nature expert. It’s probably the attitude of this mentality that keeps people from returning. Customers are not dumb. They can sense desperation. Desperation freaks customers out. Freaked out customers buy from normal and non-aggressive and product confident sales people.

          1. One thing I have not seen is that all interested parties should be present to pick out styles, colors and options as this can change price. Let’s say you’re in the market for a new front door. It can really change the look of your home. We had a customer who insisted that he made all the decisions and that his wife didn’t need to be present. It can be quite the rabbit hole to go down without a trained professional knowledgeable in said product guiding through the maze of options based on your preferences, experience as to what styles go with certain homes and budget. Don’t even get me started on different hues of colors! Well, he picked out the door, 2 side lites hardware etc. Showed his wife the rendered computerized pic as well as the catalog pic showing the separate features. He couldn’t however, show her the samples because she wasn’t present. Needless to say, you can guess what happened. Day of installation……she came home and hated it. She admitted she wasn’t at the presentation because of exactly what you are warning people about. It’s a shame. 10k door, and she hated it. We don’t want that to happen to another customer. Now we truly insist and try to explain why all interested parties need to be present but because of novices like you who give blanket advice you scare good people. We take a no as graciously as we take a yes when we meet our leads and it is to our benefit to truly educate them and give them the best information possible. Because if it doesn’t come down to the the cheapest price and they all were present for the measure,inspection and picking out of stylescolors and options and finally what exactly the warranty entails they’ll buy from us. Also, you are wrong in your assumptions that prices don’t change. In our business sometimes prices change weekly. Asphalt shingles, plywood, etc. Change all the time. Especially these days.

          2. Hi Aimee, thanks for taking the time to write. I think saying “all interested parties” is a little bit of a trick. Does that mean if the wife says she’s not interested you’ll just meet with the husband or not? I think your example is fake, but you never know. I’m sure you could have left a color sample behind with the customers in your example. Provia even puts multiples of each color on the sample rings for that exact purpose.

            It’s been a while since I’ve been a novice. If you want to compare resumes one day I’m here.

        1. Well said Beth!

          I had two companies try the “both of you ” approach. I didn’t look at either seriously.
          However; it made me look more in depth to really see why there were such price differences.
          I ended up understanding the products better and made a major up-spend of $10,000 to get the best possible window for my home within reason. I chose Sunrise for 42 windows at $30,000 and was almost ready to go with Alclad Mezzo for a fraction of that price. I ended up with quotes from good pro’s with great products like Zen Windows, Sunrise, Softlite, Anderson, Simonton, Lowes, HD, and couple of clowns trying to hammer me to close.
          The ones who informed me so I could make an informed decision without pressure were the best! Cheap products tend to be hard sold… quality doesn’t.

          1. Thanks for sharing your experience. What did you like about the Sunrise product for $10k additional?

      3. Bob,

        I never buy anything “that night”. I recently spent nearly $20,000 to replace the roof on my home. I took 4 bids. I did not go with the last person in the home (as suggested by a poster). My wife was not involved in the bidding process as she couldn’t care less about our roof. I would have steered clear of a company that required that we both be there. We took 2 weeks to evaluate all the bids and reviewed their ratings on Angie’s List (I’m a charter member and NEVER hire a contractor who isn’t well thought of on The List) and hired the contractor who offered us the most value, but not the lowest price. That’s it. Thanks to The Window Dog for reaffirming my process…

      4. I don’t agree Bob. I am shopping for windows but I make it clear to the salesman that I am getting estimates and comparing windows at this time. I do intend to purchase the windows in the very near future but I won’t be pressured into buying right now. So far this week I have had 4 estimates and learned about 4 different brands of windows. Next week I have at least one more consultant. After seeing all and comparing what I get for my money I will decide who I will purchase my windows from. The one thing for sure is that I will not purchase them from any “hard sell” salesman. Looking at this site is one way that I can insure I get the most for my money. It’s called due diligence. I do my homework since most salesmen only tell me what they want me to hear and not always the truth.

        1. It’s funny to me that one thing all of these expert salespeople seem to not be able to see is that their typical customer is usually more financially stable than they are. The customer has achieved some level of financial success, owns a home and has the money to invest in improving their home yet the salesperson still seems to think that customer is completely incapable of making a rational decision about a financial matter.

          I would guess the average customer is much more capable of making a smart decision than the average window salesman. It’s as if the sales training class they went to last week just left that part out…

  2. I was floored to be confronted with this by a local window company the other other day. I just did a $30K roof replacement with none of this “both of you” rubbish and did a Google search to see how common this practice is.

    Thanks for the article. I have a new rule – if asked to meet with us both, scratch that company from my list. I don’t play games and I don’t want contractors I hire to play games either!

    1. That’s a great rule. It’s a surefire sign that you’re about to get a whole lot more sales pitch than you might be expecting!

  3. As a (company name removed) owner I hear from window salesmen from these kinds of sweat shops all the time (looking for a no pressure sales position). The salesmen with a conscience don’t like it because they know it’s wrong. At one of these places they are required to stay for 4 hours or until they get a contract or they get fired. They even have GPS trackers on their laptops to confirm they are complying. I don’t want that kind of pressure in my home either, let alone give it. Get your quote online. It’s pretty simple when you do it that way.

    With the internet what it is now-a-days, there is no need for a salesman to ever visit your home just to get a price on your replacement windows. Ever!

    1. That’s an interesting approach. We find it’s difficult to give accurate quotes online as many customers aren’t experts at the terminology and details of the project. We find a quick meeting to discuss specifics is helpful. Of course, there’s never a need for the 3 hour sales pitch!

    2. Yes Dan. There is no need to see and touch the product, operate it, ask any questions about the install process, etc. You can buy windows online just like buying a box paperclips, It is a commodity right? Laughable. Just like I would buy a car online without driving it.

      1. I don’t think I ever said that. My company meets with folks every day. Interestingly I was at a conference this weekend with the owner of a nationwide window company that never meets with their customers. They do business entirely online. He told me that at their main location they haven’t seen a customer or an installer all year. I don’t think that’s the greatest strategy, but it seems to be working for them.

        You’ve got to keep up with the times Nick. Insisting that both spouses be home and giving them a “today only” pitch is getting more old fashioned every day.

        1. Yes it is. That is why our business grew over 30% last year.

          Oh yes, I believe retailers will stop having “limited time” offers, Memorial Day sales, etc. And there are never any lines at stores for Black Friday—the one day deals. American never buy like that. Really now.

          1. I think you misunderstand me. I’m fully aware that mattress sales exist. Perhaps my difficulty with that type of business strategy is that I know the price of a window project today can easily be the same tomorrow. To tell someone it will be different tomorrow feels dishonest to me.

            I sold cars in college and I had a lot of fun with it, but when it was time to run my own business I decided not to manipulate people. You’re free to make a different choice.

          2. The only people who drop off quotes are the guys who sell specifically on price. If we all sold cheap, trash grade, $300.00 (or less, cripes) installed windows then yea, we’d just hand out as many estimates as humanly possible–who cares if both spouses are there.

            Companies that DO NOT sell garbage, however, need to sit down with the spouses to show them the difference between a high performing window, and the trash, or else they believe it all blends together. Couples often grocery shop together, why is so hard to ask for them to be there when they’re about to invest thousands of dollars into their home? Answer: it’s not. The only homeowners who shop that way are the cheapskates who don’t really give a care about what get’s installed in their house– ie your best customer most like.

            And let’s not even mention the fact that that several other industries offer limited time offers. Maybe your time is meaningless to you, but revisiting a homeowner several times is time that could be spent in more productive ways. The same logic can be applied to installation. Add 2 hours to an install = money. The same goes to drawing out the sales process. So yea, if we can get the job in less time, sure, we’ll take off a sizable profit chunk off the job. If not, well, here’s a 90 day price while you weigh your options.

          3. Thats the standard line. Which windows do you sell? I’d love to hear about what makes them so great. What do you think are the top 2 or 3 factors that separate them from the junk other companies offer? And what is your average per window price?

            Most people who post comments like yours stop talking when we ask questions so we’ll see if you’re willing to backup your rhetoric.

          1. Ha, just because I sold cars years ago? There are many good people in that business, just like there are many good lawyers. They’re not all bad 😉

          2. The $300/window installed was probably a vinyl double hung window with double pane glass with or without low-e glass and argon gas. The equivalent to a builder grade window or the cheap Home Depot window. The funny thing is, PVC aka Vinyl is the same vinyl in all vinyl Windows. To get something better, you have to use a better material (Fiberglass, a composite, etc).

            I used to sell residential home improvements, and usually once you leave the home, no matter how great your product is over the competition, with the best installers that worked for the company, not subs, the job would go to the competitor most of the time. Maybe one of the home owners didn’t like you, or didn’t have their 3 or more bids, or were concerned with affordability (you can only go so low). At $300 I made $6 a window 20 years ago in commission, at $500 I made $50 a window. I knew I could sell at $300 a window, but wouldn’t make anything, and risk the customer wouldn’t buy or still want a better price or the financing would buy down the contract, or I made a mistake calculating the job cost, and it could cost me commission. The window I used to sell had a frame engineered by GE and has since been bought out and eliminated by a fiberglass window manufacturer.

            The point is this, if someone is really interested in getting the work done, they will spend 3 or 4 or more hours to learn as much as they can about getting the work done. It’s the same for any major purchase. I’ve taken a few hours to buy a $600 dishwasher, why wouldn’t you do that to spend ten times as much on your home?

            Daniel giving estimates over the phone or web, is working purely on low price and volume, and will have the quality product to match as quality costs money, and is long remembered after the cheap price is forgotten.

          3. Thanks for the feedback Jeremy. I know that’s the line from those sales consultants and I love going to those seminars too. It’s just an old way of doing business and it’s not accurate. I feel bad for the old fashioned companies who are struggling to change in a new market.

      2. I bought a new Porsche (for my wife)on the internet without driving it; just spec’ed it, color, options, etc. She test drove it because the salesman believed that if she did, I couldn’t walk out without buying.
        Windows are a commodity that your touch & feel at a store. The real art is the installation, and no matter how hard, smart, diligent, etc. I tried in choosing a contractor I’ve been satisfied only about 50% of the time, and cost was NEVER an issue (it’s not “you get what you paid for”).
        I’ve paid $1,600 for 2 hours of work, and the guy doesn’t return 2 phones calls & 2 emails to answer a after-completion question after I paid.

    3. You are correct. Windows should only be bought on line. They are all the same. No one actually needs to see, operate or learn the differences with he company, product, etc. It is like bag of peanuts…they are all the same. ….and the install process does not need to be examined to determine if a total tear our is needed. How funny!
      I am sure there is a segment of the market that is suited to the online process but most intelligent buyers want to meet the people who are improving there home.

      1. And we are not manipulating people. We ran the numbers. Every time we have to revisit a customer cost us money. In addition to currently putting over 50,000 a year on my car, I can see less people if I have to go back twice…..less people, less revenue. So why not offer a discount when we first see them to cut down on gas, wear and tear and time.
        We show people other estimates from 10 other companies when we see them. We give them every shred of information too. Answer all questions. So what is left….Money. We offer it. They don’t have to take it. Our estimates are good for a full 30 days.
        And yes prices do change. Our manufacturing facility had an 8% price increase. So our estimates cannot be indefinite.

        1. I’m surprised that you don’t have a company car. I thought that was pretty standard these days. Which estimates from other companies do you show people? That seems a little questionable too. Do you show them quotes from other companies offering very similar products with the same options for less money? I would bet you leave those out. We’ll put together a whole post on that. Showing competitors quotes is a good one.

          Recently someone told me about a company that was telling customers that they were the only company in town that offered Super Spacer. Of course anyone in this industry knows that’s not true, but many customers probably believe it. I suppose the company would justify that by saying that they were trying to get the customer to sign up now so they could save on gas.

          Your line of thinking that you can see fewer customers if you see people twice only makes sense if your schedule was completely full every day. Even then customers would be perfectly happy to email you the paperwork or use a docusign type service. It really doesn’t hold water.

          I sense the frustration in your tone, but I’m not sure how to help. Good luck out there.

        2. A business can operate anyway it can . . . a restaurant does it with pricing its menu (not cheap food), not taking reservations (don’t want no shows), etc. Doctors charge a fee for no-show appointments.
          The market will decide if that’s what it wants, and tolerates.
          I can’t REFUSE sports programming on my cable, which is about 1/3 of the content cost (ESPN, etc.). When a game changer comes along, I’ll tell Disney (owner of ESPN) to go f_k themselves and in the meantime, I’m bending over.
          Good luck.

        3. After you have spent 3 to 4 hours at someone’s home with your sales pitch they pick out windows you give them prices you’ve done the measuring you given them a price. What would be the reason you would have to come back ? Everything should be in the quote you gave them you have a copy they have a copy of the customer decides to go with you – they give you a call and make an appointment to put the windows in no need for the salesman to come back.

          1. On the husband and wife argument, I see the point to have both present. I have encountered this with everything from time shares to bath and basement remodelers to burial plots. Couples’ opinions can differ, and at times, you are part salesman, part counselor. Also, psychologically, the partner who has spent the 2hrs to understand the product becomes more invested than the other, making consensus more difficult, particularly if the other partner was there for a competing estimate, because now it becomes “my contractor vs yours”. But on the topic of having to come back twice, I agree with the docusign comment that a return visit is simply unnecessary if the buyers are merely agreeing to proceed with the work as quoted and described. I suspect the concern is more around statistics around the sale falling through once the immediacy of the situation is removed.

        4. Having competitors prices…. I’m positive that allows “price fixing”. I am also positive there are anti-trust laws that prohibit that. Again I’m positive.
          And there s nothing wrong with allowing people time and not pressure them into a purchase. Because if it came down to it, the court would side for the customer. Again, I, positive on this as well.

        5. Sounds like Nick relies on the BOTH present so he can squeeze a deal out of a few suckers to pad his bank account

      2. We all make typos and I’m sure one could find plenty on this site, but when making a comment about intelligence of your buyers I’d suggest you double check your grammar.

      3. Here is a review from a (Which is it? Intelligent or unintelligent) customer who got her quote online and was already a purchaser of windows (experienced in the art of receiving salesmen just to get a quote).

        Installed six windows… Member Comments:
        “I’ve had three different companies install windows. The first was a disaster and the second went okay. Zen Windows was the BEST! Wished they had installed all my windows. The windows were ordered and installed in a timely manner. Installers were great… same people that had originally measured the windows. Very pleased with the overall process.”

        NOTE: If she had wanted to “see” the windows, she could have at time of measure. But she didn’t. She had already seen them online. She didn’t need to see a blow torch demo or have someone explain all the details about low-E. She wanted great windows and got them. She wanted to know the price. She got that in 5 minutes. At a lower price. With LOT’S less hassle. No pressure. No pricing games.

        She seems to regard herself as an intelligent winner. I think she is too.

        1. No she would have been more intelligent had she bought all her windows from Zen. Most likely a promo for your company.

      4. One other observation about your comment:
        You wrote: “but most intelligent buyers want to meet the people who are improving there home.”

        You do realize that most window companies (the big ones anyway) send a salesman out to “meet” their potential customers. These are not the people that own the company or actually install the windows. In fact, they are more skilled in sales processes than window installation.

        Do you think that “intelligent” people know this? Do you think that “intelligent” people equate meeting a salesman to get their window info is better somehow than getting it in their inbox? Do “intelligent” people insist that their “window education” come from viewing a mouth utter the words as opposed to reading it online?

        If the online process is so inferior, perhaps you should take up your argument with colleges and universities as well as competing window companies. Ebay, Amazon and Craigslist should have consulted you before launching. Online retailers should close up shop or admit that they are preying on “unintelligent” people. Or at least they should have consulted Nick about it’s merits before doing so.

        The “in person” sales process will never go away. There are both intelligent and “other” gents that will always take preference for that method. But that does not mean that doing things via phone, fax, email, Skype, Facetime or website is “less intelligent.” It does mean it is “different” and it is a change. Some people, and even more so, companies have a problem incorporating “change.”

        A wise man of the ages once said, “The times, they are A’change’n.”

      5. I want to work for Nick! Why does the windowdog want to be so narrow mind about a good salesman?

        1. Ha Mike, I’d be glad to buy you a beer one day and talk sales. I’m a big fan of great salespeople!

        2. Mike, the window dog seems to state facts. It seems people have needlessly become defensive. Weird isn’t it. Maybe guilty conscience

      6. I would disagree with this statement Nick. Most truly intelligent people do their research, probably online and not in front of the sales person who may or may not be telling them the truth. If I could have an honest spread sheet outlining different features of the windows and rating on the installers i would not need to call different companies scheduling appointments they may or may not show up to, that’s the same time you are saying saves money. I am also wondering why do you think that your and other sales people’s time is more valuable than mine?
        I really don’t think I need to “meet people that are improving my home” either. What, am I going to be inviting them to the Thanksgiving Dinner? I need a quality product that meets my needs at affordable to me price and installed by competent and confident installer. If your company hires subcontractors to do the install or the turnover for the in-house installers is huge I don’t want any of those.

  4. I guess this is the reason that (company name removed) is the fastest growing window company in the USA. We have mastered the process of giving accurate quotes online… with the customer being fully informed and not having to worry about a presentation or a price switch later. 🙂

    1. Glad to hear it’s working for you! We always support ways to make the window business easier for folks to deal with. Great work.

  5. We just had a bad experience here as well. My wife had dropped off a ticket at a St Cloud based home improvement company booth. We were looking for replacement windows on our home.
    We got a call and sure enough they wanted us both there. They verified/reminded us the day before the appointment and again made sure we’d both be there. It was supposed to be an appointment for an estimate, but turned out to be a high pressure sales pitch.

    We were pretty green on prices and such. This was why we wanted to start with an estimate. We got the ‘you need to buy it tonight or the ”discount” won’t apply’ pitch as well. The woman did a great job demonstrating the windows and we did like them (Preservation brand). They quoted us 12826.00 (with discount) for 8 windows. Six of which were 32×72″. We foolishly agreed to the proposal as we had three days to cancel. She mentioned they were not BBB accredited, but had a 98% rating with BBB. A quick check and subsequent eye opener was the D- rating. I ran the numbers by my son who gasped. Then went and check around. Way, way to high. The ratings and comments all reflected a pattern of high pressure sales tactics.

    Needless to say we signed the cancellation forms and Priority Mailed them the very next day. I also spoke to the sales woman who was the branch manager (as well as faxed the company with the forms and a statement indicating we cancelled) and considered the matter closed… She started the why and was warming up for the argument, but I shut her down with just telling her we changed our minds and the decision was final.
    We mailed these forms well before the deadline third day. We saw that on the postal tracking site they had received the notice at the address on the cancellation form. Then the phone started ringing… different numbers – no messages. After too many calls, I answered one and sure enough, it was a person from the company saying he heard I was ‘thinking’ of cancelling. That was about the last complete sentence he got out. I told he we HAD cancelled and had satisfied Minnesota 325G.07 as well as the FTC three day cool down rule by mailing the signed and dated forms to the correct address and that I had receipts showing when it was mailed as well as when they received it. I mentioned that if he was in the business of selling these products – surely he was familiar with the law.

    Then came the ‘we need to send someone out to fill out cancellation paperwork’. I nixed that too by again quoting from the statute that we do not have to give them any reason other than we changed our mind and now we consider the matter closed. He bad me a good night and I sure hope that’s the end of it.

  6. Just found this site – great job. I wanted to share…

    I had a window company in Orange County, CA send a salesguy to give me a quote about 8 years ago…I was 8 years younger and naive I’ll admit. When he got there, he was the man with the gift of gab and reminded me of a retired grandpa – very soft spoken and “appeared” genuine.
    Wrote up the measurements and then asked me if I was ready to order. I was honest and told him, he was #1 of 3 estimates I planned on getting. He got me to initial the estimate – I made sure it was an “estimate only” – yes. He replied. He said he needed my initial, so he could prove to his boss that he was working and it would hold the price he quoted. I know what you’re thinking, but I here’s what I thought: Supposedly reputable company, nice old man, only initials… what could go wrong?
    Fast-word about 4 weeks later, I get a call from the window production company – “We are ready to schedule your final measurements and the window order can be completed”. WTF? I don’t know what you’re referring to, I haven’t ordered any. In fact, I haven’t even got the 3rd est yet. “Well sir, I have an order here. Maybe you should contact the sales rep.” Ok, I will.
    “Bill” – What order am I getting called about? HIM: Well, you said you’d be ready in a month?
    ME: I think you’ve made a mistake. And since I think you’re playing games now, you can take me info out of your company index.
    Bill: Well, I’m sorry to hear you feel that way.
    ME: Don’t be… I don’t deal with high pressured sales people.

    Fast-forward another week: “Yes sir. This is Blah Blah, President of Blah Blah Home Improvements. Understand there was a misunderstanding about your order.”
    ME: Yep. You’re guy lied to me and then tried to railroad me into buying windows from you. I even think there’s a bit of fraudulent intent and misrepresentation there.
    PRES: “Well, I’ve been in this business for 30 years and never been called a fraud before.”
    ME: Until today sir.
    PRES: “If you think you can cancel this order, I will have to refer it to our legal department. Since we are entitled to collect up to 35% of the quoted price on the contract.”
    ME: See what I mean. It wasn’t a contract. It was an estimate. Look at the paperwork. I had Bill write that across the estimate so it would not be confusing. In fact, why don’t you go ahead and send it to you legal dept… Or better yet, come to my front door and I’d be happy to explain it to you personally. Since I’m working Fraud cases, I think I might be able to shed some light on the subject and clarify things to you. Not to mention, I’d be happy to look you and your company up on any past complaints or ‘misunderstandings’ you may have had with other people in the past. How’s that sound?”
    ME: Thanks for the call. I look forward to you and your legal department contacting me again.

    Mind you, they had quoted me about 32K for 11, double pane windows and one bay window.

    This took place a while ago, before the info on the Internet was as readily available as it is today. Take you time, do your homework and don’t be afraid to walk away or call people out on their bad business standards, or BS for short.

  7. Similar story, but with Anderson windows. When I made the appointment I said there was no possible way we were buying, they said no problem. The guy came out for 2 1/2 hours, told us 22 windows would be $50,000, and then the back-and-forth began he ended with $32,000 but critical we sign right that second.when we said we would think about it and that this appointment was about building a relationship he yelled at us that he had been there for 2 1/2 hours and we were going to make him leave with nothing to show for it. It got so bad that we had to threaten to call the police. I was actually afraid for a couple weeks that he was going to come back.

  8. A bit off topic, but dealing with a basement waterproofing issue. I had multiple companies out already and had the three hour visit and same day sale offer with discount. Of course we had to be present as a couple.

    It has been a few months and they continue to call to re-evaluate, one of which I accepted and the same pitch on the fix was made but without the wife present. They were to re-evaluate other options, but stuck to their original solution.

    A second company who already made their first visit is scheduled for tomorrow. Their scheduling just called and is pushing for us to be present as a couple. I’m thinking of canceling but like the fact of entertaining their visit to gain additional knowledge of how they would fix the problem. A waste of time if I get presented the same solution like company A.

    Any advise during the visit tomorrow, if they will do it with only half the couple available?

  9. This just happened to me! I used Softlite’s website to request a contact from a vendor. The next morning, Bree (sp?) from Castle Windows in NJ called. She insisted that my husband and I both be present for an estimate visit so that they didn’t have to make a return visit if we had questions. Softlite just lost a potential customer!

    1. Why couldn’t both people have been there? Why should the salesperson have to drive back 2-3 times?

      1. Because you work for them. Many companies will leave paperwork with the customers and then they can email it back when they decide to move forward. That would save you a trip. If you don’t like going to a customer’s house in-home sales may be a bad line of work for you.

  10. A large (33) double hung, wooden sash weight/cord replacement project here. Have to say the contractors were very good before my final suggestion but just feel compelled to note Home Depot as one of the worst pre-selection experiences ever. Threw out a “List” of 32.5K with a special “27.5K” 24 hour number. No single window cost, no list price sheet but, instead, an iPad with not to be seen info. Ran around measuring but would not tell me the cost/window. Later that night a confirming email with another price drop to 25K with 1K coming from HD after the fact. Huh?

    Two local and very highly rated contractors were about $200. apart with Harvey windows. Went to the showroom to see the windows. At HD they did not have the brand on the floor. Just a corner during the visit. When I alerted the HD rep I have gone elsewhere he said I should keep his contact info as I will need new windows in a few years. Nice, real nice. Plus HD was 30% higher after all these price drops. But, as he said, each job comes with “me”.

  11. The truth for most companies in my area is this. We are all looking for an opportunity to earn your business, whether it be that night or two weeks from then. I would be doing consumers an injustice if I didn’t show the window to both homeowners. While I don’t agree with offering false deals or incentives. There is nothing wrong with asking for someone’s business whether it is the same night or a month from then. The consumer has the ability to say no. And any respectable business person will gracefully accept that answer. The point is that if a couple needs time to talk about the project, that is great. We salespeople ask that you allow us time to present the information to make an informed decision. I got 4 quotes on my French drain, and I wanted my wife there for all of them. We spoke about it, and decided together based on the information presented. SPOILER ALERT: We didn’t use the cheapest guy either. We used the guy that took time and listened to both of our concerns.

    1. In my opinion, ‘high pressure sales’ is asking a customer to do something they don’t want to do. I do not WANT to sit and listen to a bunch of men talk about siding, or anything that I don’t understand. I trust my husband wil do a good job deciding on siding. Good grief!!

  12. I like that Phil jumped in.

    As a professional (window business owner) it is important to us (as a business) that we (at the very least) HAVE A CHANCE to earn your business. In my experience we only have a better than 10% chance if both homeowners are present. I don’t care if you buy that day, that month, or in a year – as long as we have a chance to earn your business that’s all that matters. We don’t force people to both be present and we see only one homeowner all the time but we explain to them (just like I did above) that all we want is a chance to earn their business at some point.

    In ten years I can count the number of times a husband or wife sat with us without the other and we ended up with their order. On the other hand if both are present we have (on average) about a 50% chance to earn their business AT SOME POINT. We are not about high pressure the same day – all we want is a chance 🙂

    You can do a lot of volume without high pressure, buy same-day tactics but you need to make sure that you leave every appointment with the best possible odds and that means (most of the time) that both homeowners were there.

    My wife and I do all major house-related (or other major expense) related shopping together because it makes sense – we’re partners.

    We’re not all bad. I love this website but I feel we (professionals) are often not cast in a good light.

    1. Thanks for your point of view John. I agree that it is easier if all interested parties are present so you can answer everyones questions. I feel the same way. The point we’re trying to make is that any company who says they absolutely will not meet with someone unless both a husband and wife are present are typically going to be a little pushy.

      Thanks for taking the time to write!

      1. The window dog has replied to me! AWESOME!

        I love you dude! You’re the best!

        It is always annoying when you’re the guy calling to set an appointment AFTER the company that was totally rude about both being at home.

        In general, and this is a big reason I like you, my (and I can assume yours as well) job is made harder by companies that do the type of stuff you outline on this site. I literally spent 15 minutes outside of a customer’s house this past JANUARY because he had such a bad experience with another company that he wanted to screen me before he let me into his home.

        If more guys did business like us I think we’d all be happier!

        1. Ha, I’ve gone through the exact same thing. You’re absolutely right that companies who operate that way make like harder for the rest of us. We just need to keep fighting the good fight!

      2. Hey. i see this conversation is from years ago, but I just (now, in 2018) ended a free estimate meeting because the salesperson said that both myself and my wife had to be here. However, he didn’t just say it was company policy, but that it was actually required by law. Is THAT true? We live in New York.

    2. My husband and I just got the “hard-sell” yesterday. I was in sales for more than 17 years, 9 of them in automotive sales. And I know “hard sell” when I see it. I was certain the guy had a superior product [replacement windows] than our other bid, but the price kept dropping and dropping if we sould just “sign today”. It was exhausting.

      A major faux pas on the salesman’s part is he mostly talked to my husband. Like I was just another piece of the living room furniture. When I was in sales, I always spoke to BOTH spouses equally, perhaps leaning more towards the wife because – hey, it might be the 21st Century but we usually control the purse-strings.

      Oh and we got the “virgin vinyl” pitch too – as if ProVia made their windows out of milk jugs and patio furniture. I guess since we didn’t “sign right then and there” the price shot back up $10K but oh well, we have another bid coming Wednesday evening. Not signing with them, either. But we are signing with SOMEONE by June 28, 2023.

      1. That’s a pretty common situation in this business. Both the sign today type of pushiness and the ignoring one spouse are things we hear about all the time. You might check this section for recommendations of local companies who may be able to help out. Good luck with the project and let us know how it goes!

        1. Well the 3rd one earned our business. Yes they were the lowest priced but offered the same financing options. They were more than $5K under our first bid and HALF the price of the high-pressure company. So we’ll be getting them early to mid October. We don’t need the highest price window out there; I’m nearing 63 and hubby is 58 and neither of us is gonna live forever. So why not go with a perfectly good window from a 5-star company and save between $5 and $15K?

          1. Sounds great. Not surprising to hear the high pressure company was twice the cost of the option you picked. Those guys are characters.

  13. In 2002-2008 I sold windows for a good living, gave quotes that were fair, got orders after they shopped around, used follow up skills, happy customers. We did show a 35 % off! but it made sense! and we’d shave off a bit more if they asked, anyway life was good. The clients called us from some newspaper ad. Then in 2008 the phone stopped ringing, compNy sold, everywhere in area was affected. So nowadays canvassers create the lead and the hard sell is used, I can’t work for a company that wants me to close it on the spot, charge people $850 average window, $650 is what it used to be. One last point, the appointments are so poorly confirmed the company’s waste a salesperson time now, because half the time the people aren’t home… And they won’t let me call the client to confirm for fear the clients will cancel.

  14. This article isn’t entirely accurate. My (and most window companies) give three days to cancel the contract. We have the windows measured and in production on day four.

    Further, I have had multiple ‘tire kickers’ sign without their significant other present only to cancel and have their deposit refunded because their spouse decided replacing windows wasn’t a good idea. It’s a complete waste of everyone’s time. I (and many others) require all decision makers be present for that reason alone.

  15. The main reason why companies want to have all the decision makers present is so there is no confusion later on. One person may choose one product and the other person may not like it. There are different options that windows have; operation, grids, obscured glass, sliding doors or French, etc. I work for a window company and I can tell you we sell all the top window companies. They in fact compete with each other giving our company weekly and monthly discounts. For example, no up charge for custom patio doors, free low e3 glass for the month, or an upgrade to triple pane. If the company takes the promo away; how can the company honor that price?-Especially if its the last day of that promotion. There is a huge difference in price between companies in most cases. Most companies that are the low price leaders end up going out of business and reopening under a new name. Selling cheap windows means servicing them much more. And without charging the projected service cost for past customers, window companies don’t have the means for fixing them. Not all windows are made the same and there’s a big difference between estimators and salesmen. A salesman wants to keep happy customers to get referral business and estimators could care less. They don’t even show them the products that the customer is buying. When ethical companies want customers to “sign” the same day does not mean they’re a bad company. When most people see a window demonstration they forget 90% of the features and benefits and end up shopping for price, especially if they end up buying two weeks later. I’ve had multiple people call me a year after our appointment and tell, “Gosh I wish I would have bought from you then. I went for a lower price and my windows are falling apart and that company does not want to help.” The more quotes that you get the more confused you will become about the windows. Do your research before calling a company to give you a bid. Thanks for letting me share!

    1. Thanks for posting Alex. I can’t say I agree with you about requiring both people be there or using same day pricing, but I do agree that carefully reviewing the options not focusing entirely on the price are great ways to get a great end result.

      Thanks for taking the time to write!

  16. I am looking to replace all the windows and the patio door of my 30 years old house. I’ve enjoyed reading all your articles and feedbacks from other people here, definitely helped me a lot trying to understand the difference of brands and materials…etc. You have mentioned that your company is in this business, any chance you provide services in MA? thank you!

    1. Hi Jess, unfortunately we don’t, but thanks for asking! We’re actively looking for a great company to recommend up your way. If you find a winner let us know! For now I’d suggest starting with Angie’s List. We have special rates setup for our readers. You can find them here.

  17. Here’s a new twist on this tactic. This happened before I found your website.

    I completed an online request for a quote to replace windows in my home and received a call from a company in a nearby suburb. The lady on the phone was quite pleasant and very helpful in setting up an appointment for a representative to come out to give an estimate. During the call she asked if my wife would be present during the rep’s visit and I explained that my wife has no interest in such matters and I would be the one making the final decision. She stated that the company prefers to have both husband and wife present and I reiterated my statement. She then scheduled an appointment for the coming Saturday.

    The same lady called to confirm on the day before the scheduled appointment and, again, asked if my wife would be present and I, again, explained that she would not be part of the process.

    About twenty minutes before the sales rep was due to arrive, he called and said that he was running a bit late. He asked if my wife was home and I told him exactly what I had previously told the lady on two separate occasions. He was very pleasant during the phone call.

    I was outside on my driveway when rep arrived. He stepped out of his car, introduced himself and immediately asked if my wife would be joining us. I said that she was not home and, again, explained that she had absolutely no interest in deciding on such matters. He seemed a little put off by my statement so I commented that it seemed somewhat silly for a company to make such an issue out of having husband and wife both present during an estimate and that he might tell his supervisors that I said so. He then told me that it wasn’t his company’s policy but, rather, a “requirement” of the Better Business Bureau that the company only do an estimate when both partners were present. I was skeptical that the BBB would make such a demand but I didn’t push the issue.

    He then asked if I was prepared to sign a contract that day. I said that I would review his estimate and make a decision within a week. At that, he became quite irritated, returned to his car and said, in a very curt tone of voice, “You have a good day.” He then left.

    The following Monday, I received a call from the office lady asking to reschedule the estimate. I quoted the sales rep’s comment about the BBB requirement and questioned the validity of that statement. She apologized and said that, no, the BBB did not “require” both partners to be present but that they only “recommended” it. I said that I highly doubted her statement and she huffily replied, “Good luck with your windows” and hung up the phone.

    Because she seemed so certain of what she had told me, I wondered whether her statement could actually be true so I contacted the BBB via their website to set the record straight. Less than an hour later, I received a phone call from the BBB and was told that they would never make such a recommendation let alone a requirement.

    I later did some online research and found your web blog. I clicked on the list of windows sales tactics and there it was; “HUSBAND AND WIFE MUST BE PRESENT” with a full explanation of the reasoning behind that request.

    At that point, I got angry. Both the sales rep and the office lady had outright lied to me. I was thankful that at the age of 74, my fifty years of experience in business had given me at least enough good sense to be wary and that I had avoided doing business with a company that seemingly has no qualms about being dishonest. If they can’t compete without such tactics, I can only imagine the stuff they might pull once I had signed a contract.

    1. That is a fantastic example. I’m sorry you had to deal with the headache, but I thank you for taking the time to share the story with everyone. I’m sure our readers will find it to be helpful.

  18. I am starting the window shopping process. I ran into the husband and wife scenario when we got our new roof. I don’t remember if I told them my husband would be there or not. I then googled them and found the same type of stuff, husband and wife, 3 hours long, disappearing discounts if you don’t sign tonight. It was too late to cancel, so I met the guy outside and told him I already had two estimates and I’d heard his company was much higher. I gave him my absolute highest price to even entertain his sales pitch and he admitted he could never come that low. He wasn’t supposed to admit it, but realized he’d be wasting both of our time. I got my roof for 8k, he couldn’t have given me less than 16k! From then on I decided never to do business with that kind of operation. (they still come around trying to get us to do windows with them…one of those companies that sends college boys around knocking on doors…First word of name is “Power”)

    As far as having my husband home with me for 3 window quotes, or any quotes….not gonna happen. His time is limited and I am the researcher and info gatherer. If I don’t approve then it’s not gonna happen. He doesn’t research the types of roofs,windows, hvac, or the price of cars (he does know what kind he wants!). He just agrees when we need something and I get a few things together and we discuss them. If a company wants to wait for him, it won’t happen.

    I researched the roof, and the hvac. If he had questions I got answers. With the windows he will want to see them. They can leave samples, direct us to a reference or site to view them, OR make anther visit if they made the first cut. For the hvac, we did end up with a company that came out early, after I got competing quotes and got them to agree to a reasonable price.

    Don’t assume the “little woman” isn’t a decision maker. I doubt the person collecting the quotes will be the least informed of the couple. And, I prefer to deal with locally owned and operated, not franchised. I want to know who is responsible and where I can find them!

    1. I am a sales rep for a reputable home improvement company in my region of the country. The windows that we demonstrate and sell are simply of higher quality than those of our competitors. Having all decision-makers present is not mandatory, but is highly encouraged. There is 1 primary reason for this stipulation:

      There is a greater likelihood that a sale is made that same day or that it is made on follow-up within the following week. You might not like to hear it, but sales percentages drop dramatically when you cannot close a sale the first time out.

      Furthermore, all potential buying parties should have access to all the information. When you have the most valuable product in the marketplace, education is paramount because your price is typically higher. Parties who are not present most likely will not have access to all the salient information, which can hurt both the buyer and the seller.

      For example, I might explain to you that our windows are 100% Virgin Vinyl and are guaranteed and warrantied not to fade as a result. You might simply convey to the other party that the windows are all vinyl, a common and reasonable mistranslation. The other party thinks to themselves, “Aren’t all the windows we’re looking at vinyl? That seems like a silly point.” This mistranslation results in value lost in our product for the party not present, and it jeopardizes the likelihood of the sale occurring at a later time.

      Consumers, give sales reps the courtesy and do yourself a favor: if at all possible, try to have all decision-makers present for the appointment, even if you know you will not buy anything that day. If you are reading this blog-post, you are likely already aware of shady business practices in the industry. Be sure to ask lots of questions in an appointment. At the end, if you are not prepared to buy, no one is stopping you from saying no. Conversely, no one is stopping you from saying yes if you trust the company, their representatives, the product, and the service.

      Bottom Line: It is faulty logic to automatically assume that a company asking for all decision-makers to be present is nefarious and doesn’t want you to take time to think about your options.

      1. Hi Rev, thanks for taking the time to write. I always like hearing salespeople who really believe their product is “the best”. Which products are you offering?

        It seems unusual that you use 100% virgin vinyl to indicate that they’re the best. As you may be aware, there are only a handful of vinyl extruders in the entire country and they produce the vinyl extrusions for almost every window company. It’s likely that the vinyl in the windows you offer is the same vinyl in many other products. Are you aware of any reputable manufacturer that does not use 100% virgin vinyl? If so, have you seen anything to prove it or are you just taking your manager’s word for it? I’m sure our readers would love to know which companies do not.

        I do appreciate you taking the time to write. It’s interesting to hear the perspective of someone in the business. It’s not uncommon for us to hear from someone who genuinely believes something only to learn that they’ve been drinking the cool aid from their boss. If you have any additional info on the vinyl or anything else that makes your windows better than another we’d love to hear it.

        Thank for writing!

  19. Not for nothing, i can understand why window dog is saying companies that use these tactics are unethical. But i can also understand the perspective given by the industry guys, i do agree that on the first and most important meeting, you would want and should have all parties concerned there. Can it seem high pressure? Definitely! But make no mistake in an industry filled with miss-communication, using a tactic that decreases that does makes sense. With the added benefit of the possiblity of a sale that day…But if the company truly has your best interests in mind, they wont be high pressure either way. It seems window dog is honestly just completely against people using specific tactics even when there absolutely has to be good companies out there that have great products and service but still use higher pressure tactics… That makes a company that is higher pressure and does a ton more volume AND does top notch work with at least a decent warranty very dangerous to companies that take a more relaxed approach.. I can see both sides here

    1. Hi Bill, I appreciate your perspective. We’ve always found that if you’re genuinely offering a great value people will buy it without being manipulated with “buy today or else” type tactics. To me it’s an inherently bad sign when a company feels they need to operate that way to get business. It is absolutely true that reasonable people can come to different conclusions. Thanks for taking the time to write.

  20. I have installed windows for several years, but just this year went out on my own doing windows, siding and gutter. My best sales tactic has been to have product information in hand for the customer and leave them as much written info I can. I also separate my bid by labor for install and cost of windows. I have a 80% closure rate which I believe is a result of transparency in business practices. I’ve only had one customer squak about the labor rate. I showed him a receipt for caulking and foam insulation, a copy of my city business license and liability insurance telling him that there is a cost associated with my being able to install his windows. Current workmans comp for my state is 12.7% for window installation. He admitted that he hadn’t taken that into consideration. If people feel you are being honest, you will get their business. If you treat the fairly and honestly, you’ll get their friends and neighbors business.

    As for having both husband and wife present, I do ask but don’t require it. If I have to make two trips, it shows I am willing to do any it takes to care for my customer. I measure, submit estimate and ask them to give me a call when they are ready to proceed. Has worked out rather well so far. No pressure sales. Actually had one company (national brand name) that was $240 higher on 11 windows. Customer had heard of brand I was offering but was hesitant. I told them if they felt more comfortable with the national brand then by all means go with them. Bottom line was that they had to be happy with the decision. Husband called me two days later saying he researched my brand and had a check for the.deposit on the windows.

  21. Great article and debates here. We have a very high close ratio for windows specifically but I wanted to tell you that we never ask for the business. We educate the homeowner on choices that are available, we make recommendations based on our extensive experience, for both the type of installation and product choices, and we ask them to decide what’s best for them. We sometimes leave a written estimate and sometimes send it later. But it usually takes 2 visits or at least a few back and forth emails, before they tell us they want to proceed….and that’s ok with us. I sell how i like to be sold, which is no pressure and lots of education. There are many philosophies to in-home selling, this is just what works for us, and more importantly for me, what feels right!

  22. Hi there

    My wife met a door/window salesperson at the door and agreed to a visit for the purpose of receiving a quote.

    We do need a new door at some stage but I baulked at the ‘you must both be there’ line we are now receiving in ‘phone conversations. I looked up the tactic online, found this site, and am glad to find my gut instinct proven correct.

    I am a Cambridge graduate and am more than able to decide on the best deal, given a satisfactory explanation from well-educated and ethical salespeople. I don’t need the hard-sell and refuse to have someone attempt to pressure us into a ‘sign on the line now’ special deal.

    I want a quote, nothing more, and will shop around. I will not be pressured and anybody attempting to do this will fail to get anything more than a metaphorical boot up the arse and a quick exit.

    I work for myself and have people call all the time. I don’t expect them all to book in but give them the information they need and allow them to decide for themselves as to whether they see me or somebody else. My time costs money, just the same as a window man, and I give it to prospective clients because enough will book in to see me pay my bills and thrive. That’ what professionals do.

    So, this window company will not be receiving our custom and i’llbe calling somebody myself for a quote, just a quote and will not see anybody who insists that both people are present.

  23. Great conversation about a very controversial topic. I think the key is when a company INSISTS that all parties are present, that is an indicator that high pressure may be coming. I don’t see much wrong with asking for it, as it can save the time of having to repeat information and muddle up the reason for even being there which is to determine a proper solution to a problem, however, again, demanding it is poor form in my opinion.
    I’d also add that a company’s unwillingness to provide as much information as possible upfront, whether it be via website, email, or phone, is a red flag as well.

    1. I completely agree. There’s no question that it’s helpful to meet with everyone who is interested in the project so we can answer everyone’s questions. When a company requires certain people be present it’s a pretty big red flag.

  24. In Texas, we are a joint property ownership state where both or all property owners must be present when making decisions that affect or alter the shared property. Otherwise the company can get in serious trouble and fined.

    1. That’s not true. That’s the exact type of line a window company might give you. Thanks for sharing a great example

  25. I love this! I called a well known window company to meet with a schedule a meeting with a “no pressure estimate” to replace all of the windows in my home. The first question: “Are you married? If so, we require that both of you be present.” I pushed back because as long as they are paid, if I choose to contract with the company, it is none of their business. I reminded the rep that this was a “no pressure estimate” and that I planned to get at least 3 quotes before I made a decision and I would NOT be making a commitment on the day of my meeting. I was done, stated that I would prefer not to schedule for an estimate and thanked her for her help. This company called me at least twice a week for 2 months wanting to know if I were still interested in windows. I stopped answering their calls. Thank you WINDOW DOG!!

  26. We are in the bidding process of building a new house. The builder works with a contractor that uses PlyGem, but we don’t like the reviews we’ve seen. The contractor has allowed us to choose another company. What is the best company for new construction windows at a reasonable price?

  27. A two-legger is obviously designed for a one sit sale. When I walk into your house I will seat you and your spouse exactly where I want. And the manipulation begins.

    I will go through a ten step sales process that will take three hours of your life and use anything you say against you at any time to counter an objection.

    If you don’t fall for the first price drop you can wait for the second. If you are stubborn, I will call the company owner from your home who will yell, scream and curse me just like at a sales meeting. He will expect me to close with a yard sign and another 5% off.

  28. I scheduled an appointment with one of those “the wife must be there” companies. I fibbed and said she would be and once he arrived I said she was stuck at work. He answered questions and gave lots of info but no estimate. He said if he gave an estimate and I didn’t take it, he wouldn’t be able to offer that price again. He did apologize on behalf of his company, and said the policy of requiring both spouses be present made him look like a jerk.

    1. It made him look like a jerk and it made the company look like a jerk. Typically when they operate that way you get a lower price after they leave. They call it rehashing their old leads. If you don’t buy today the “manager” will likely call tomorrow with another, lower, once in a lifetime type deal. My best advise is to look elsewhere.

  29. Years ago we had a Kirby salesman who tried every trick in the book to get us to buy. He promised my wife a free gift (that we never did get) just for coming out and she bit. He and an apprentice arrived at 7PM and stayed 3 hours trying to sell us a sweeper that was no better than the older Kirby we had sitting there. That was a great lesson as when a few years later the mill I worked for shut its doors and my wife and I opened an air duct cleaning business. Other than our website we don’t advertise. Our honesty, the quality of our work and word of mouth has kept us busy for the 15 years since and from day one we’ve never used hard sell tactics, gimics or discounts to sell a job.

    1. If you offer a good value you don’t need to try so hard to sell it. People aren’t dumb, they’ll pick the good deal. The folks with the bad deal know that which is why they know they need to work extra hard or they’re starve.

      Good luck with the duct cleaning biz. I met the guy who started Ductz a while back. Seemed like a good business.

  30. I worked in the industry, and we had multiple reasons for having all homeowners present, but the primary reason was pretty much the opposite of the article’s explanation.
    We didn’t want one person making the decision, signing a contract with us, and then calling to rescind the contract because their significant other didn’t agree to it. We went through many of these false contracts and just got sick of it. There was also the problem of renters trying to get work done when legally we needed the signature of the legal owner of the property to do work on it. At least we did if we wanted to be licensed and bonded, which we were. It’s frustrating that some companies use this as a scam instead of as a safety measure for the sake of the customers (not wasting their time) and the company.

    1. We’ve been meeting with anyone who wants to meet with us for years and we never have a problem. I believe that’s what your boss told you, but it’s just not true.

  31. I just found your website and read some of your articles and information – I found it very interesting reading some of the explanations of how and why many window /home improvement companies go to market. I have been part of a growing family owned Home Improvement company in the state of Pennsylvania. I have taught and will continue to teach our sales representatives how to approach and conduct consultant selling.
    Because we are not a one call close operation we sometimes lose a sale. But our cancelation ratio is less than 1% of our sales. We are in business to meet the needs of our clients fairly and with respect, we look for their repeat business and referral business. We make appointments in the home with husbands or wives or singles homeowners. Our close ratio varies by sales person from 55-70% – We are excited to tell homeowners what to expect from any company that demand that both homeowners be present for their 3 hour hard sell presentation. We don’t have a million dollar advertising budget and sales person training school to replace the revolving door of sales people that get frustrated and leave because their conscious is of a higher moral fiber than others in our industry. We are not looking to be the biggest in sales but the best at service, sales and installation. We consistently looks for ways to improve ourselves, which is why I found your website interesting and informative with ideas, that we can learn from.

    I agree with window dog that a company can give many explanations for why they need both homeowners but lets not kid ourselves. The only reason is to make the sale happen immediately. You can spin the tale many ways, which some of the replies I read were very creative, but it is still a lie. There are many company models that work in our industry, the differences are why are you in the industry. I find some home improvement companies are talented and want to help homeowners while making a fair profit. Others just want to take advantage of those that can be taken advantage and make their money. I guess it depends on what each person calls a success, is it based solely on money, no matter what you did for that money or is it based on conducting your business with your fellow neighbors and clients, fairly – not just charitably.

    At a sales meeting in Virginia an old man told me, ” You can sell a donkey as an ugly horse, but you knew it would never win a race, and eventually so will everybody else”

  32. Now that I have read 40 or more comments back and forth I will make my comments.
    I have been in the Home Improvement business for over 30 years, and am now retired. I would not do the job today because sales people are making up half the money that I made in the 90s and spending just as much time. If prospective customers don’t want both homeowners there, don’t want to take the time, don’t want to entertain making a buying decision today, then I have a remedy for you. Call me and I will teach you how to measure your windows. Then use your digital camera and take a picture of each window. Then drive to my house and I’ll show you products and give you a price. You don’t have to decide that day, you can drive back home and when you are ready to buy you can drive back up to see me.
    The one day by indecision is a matter of time and money management, it really is. I live in the Seattle area and to drive to any appointment in the greater metro area can easily take an hour and a half of my time. I have been a sales manager for many years for the biggest company in the business at the time and was named the number one salesman in the nation. I would not do the job today because the traffic is half the job. So do like I suggested drive to my house you will have an hour to an hour and a half drive time each way so that’s three hours to get here and return, then when you decide to buy it’s another three hours to drive up and see me and return home. I’m happy with that. And the dog promoting his foolish outdated suggestions apparently has not spent many years working out in the field driving to see thousands and thousands of customers that I have. I hope this explanation puts a little sense in your head about why a professional salesperson deserves the courtesy are both homeowners and the ability to make a decision. It is the least they can do !

    1. I completely agree that many customers don’t appreciate the time and energy that salespeople put in. You’re 100% correct on that. We have reps in some markets and they’ll be happy to tell you about driving an hour and half in traffic to a confirmed appointment to find nobody home. It’s completely rude and people do it all the time. I think at least part of it comes from other window salespeople being jerks so customers think everyone is a jerk so they treat our reps like jerks. It’s a silly way to treat people, but it happens.

      I just don’t think the solution is pushing people around with fake discounts and unrealistic requirements. I understand the problem you’re trying to solve, just think there is a better way to solve it.

    2. Actually, I would much rather ” Call me and I will teach you how to measure your windows. Then use your digital camera and take a picture of each window. Then drive to my house and I’ll show you products and give you a price. You don’t have to decide that day, you can drive back home and when you are ready to buy you can drive back up to see me.” Except nearly all of that communication can be done electronically today, and does not require a visit by anyone anywhere…

  33. I’m a rep so let me give you a scenario that happens all to often. I drive out to an appointment 1-2 hours away. After I spend anywhere between 1 and 3 hours with them, the customer says they’re not planning on doing anything now, but possibly 2-3 months from now. “I just wanted an idea” they say. So 4-6 hours of my life completely wasted and gas money and tolls wasted as well, with nothing to show for it, and I’m supposed to be happy about that? Here’s a thought. Use the internet to get a rough estimate of how much replacement windows cost (without having to fill out any online window estimate forms). There’s plenty of information on Angie’s List, Fixxer and other third party sites that will give you a range or even a more precise idea. You can even do research on individual window companies online and find out some very helpful information about quality, workmanship, warranties, features, benefits etc. The point I’m trying to make is, we live in the Information Age and if prospective clients aren’t doing their research before setting the appointment, they’re not being fair to the sales representative who’s taking the time to come to your home and show you options. It shows a lack of respect for the salesperson’s time and quite frankly, for our line of work. I shouldn’t be hearing at the end of an appointment, “But I didn’t have a chance to research windows enough” or “I didn’t get a chance to research your company.” That’s a cop-out answer because if you just had me over to basically tell me that you don’t believe a word I’m saying and you have to “do your own homework” or verify it yourself, what the hell am I doing in your house? You should’ve looked at the plethora of information about windows and window-buying guides beforehand correct? Here’s another scenario I found myself in recently. I get to a house and am met with a husband who’s wife is not present. I’m told his wife went to the gym because they both thought that the appointment was a half-hour ago. Basically, he’s lying to my face because the appointments are set a day in advance so there’s no way he could’ve gotten the appointment time wrong – his wife verified this when she arrived home by saying, “I thought the appointment was at 7:30?” (meaning, why was I still there when she got home from the gym?) So, I spend a couple hours with him, at least an hour with him and his wife when she gets home and I tell them this is what I can do for you on the price blah blah blah and he tells me, “We want to have (well-known, low quote company) back for a third time because my wife wasn’t here the first or second times they came out and I want her to see and to make sure their window really is of a lower quality than yours before I can justify paying 600 dollars more.” This after he admitted that our window was clearly of a higher quality. Again, only 600 apart on the whole job for higher quality windows. At first, I just thought he was an extremity indecisive person, but then I realized it wasn’t that. It was that because I was offering him incentives to do business today, he reflexively decided that we must be a “bad company” and they should not do business with us. Well, heck, if we’re 600 away from (well-known low quote company) which everyone knows is one of the cheapest quotes, then clearly we’re not gouging, my commission would’ve been only 90 dollars, by the way, so were we really a terrible option? No, but sites like this one would have you believe that. Plus, who’s jerking who around here? The prospective buyer who lied to our lead room and to my face and is wasting everyone’s time, or me?

    1. I get that you’re frustrated, that comes through loud and clear. It can be a frustrating business for an old fashioned company. I would suggest that the reason you’re frustrated is not because the customer is a jerk or because I spilled all of your secrets, but because your boss runs an old fashioned company and doesn’t value your time. Why doesn’t your boss find a way to pay you that allows you to treat customers well? Why doesn’t your boss pay you more than $90 for making a sale and spending hours of your time?

      It’s not the customers fault that they don’t want to spend thousands of dollars without weighing the options. They couldn’t do any research before they met with you because your company probably doesn’t send out pricing and product info before hand. They only way they can find out what you offer is to have you come over and then they want some time to consider that offer before committing thousands of dollars. You must see that’s not an unreasonable request on their part.

      I’ve responded to a few of your comments now and I think they’re really insightful and helpful for people trying to make sense of this industry. You are frustrated, that’s real and it’s not a great feeling. You’re pointing your frustration at the customer when it’s not the customers fault. It’s your company’s fault and the fault of the sales consultants that convinced him that’s the best way to run a window company. I don’t agree which is why I run my business differently. He’s probably not going to change so you’re probably going to be frustrated until you quit.

      You’re free to blame the customer or me or anyone else, but until you see the real cause of the problem you’re going to continue to be frustrated. If there is anything I can do to help out feel free to reach out.

    2. Hey Mr. Rep,
      If you’re facing a six hour sales call, it seems like you should maybe call ahead of time and see what it is that the person is looking for. Let them know that “you don’t want to waste anyone’s time,” tell them that you are coming from a bit away, and ask “if I can give you a great price for a great product installed in by professionals with a great warranty, would you be in a position to purchase tonight?” If they are not and you are not willing to make the effort, maybe help them through some of that research over the phone.

      Often, frustration occurs because we are not on the same page. What we have is a failure to communicate.

  34. This happened today. I drove an hour and fifteen minutes to see a prospective buyer who told our lead room that he was the sole owner of the property and therefore did not need anyone else to be present in order to make a decision. Our lead room has the policy that a husband and wife should be present at the appointment, or be the sole owner. Well, as it turns out, he wasn’t the sole owner and he just said that he was so his wife could skip the appointment. Our policy is to leave in that situation because there won’t be an opportunity to make a sale with only one spouse present (and in my experience, even if I do make a sale, there’s more chance that it will cancel due to the spouse not being present to okay the deal). Did I leave? No. I stayed and was as helpful as possible. I even gave him some ballpark figures for how much it would cost and put zero pressure on him. Lo and behold, he tells me, “You know, my wife really needs to be here for this because she would want to see the samples and have you explain to her what you told me.” Boom. That’s it. And that’s why our policy of having both spouses present makes sense. It saves everyone involved time and energy by meeting once instead of multiple times.

    1. You’re completely free to run your business any way you see fit. No need to convince me. Notice how you stayed and now you have a chance to make the sale. If you had left in accordance with your policy then you would have lost any chance. It’s a silly policy that is a great indicator of how you’re planning on treating the customer.

      You said you won’t want to do an appointment without all of the homeowners present because you’re less likely to make the sale. That tells you’re planning on a one call close which means you’re probably planning on giving someone the type of experience they’d rather avoid.

      In this case, why wouldn’t you tell the customer the exact price for his project? You were there, you looked at the windows and disused the options. Why were you keeping the pricing a secret and only giving out ballpark prices? I would guess it’s because you wanted to close the deal with either your unbelievable price drops or your unbelievable financing options. Both a little silly.

      I use the example of companies who will only meet with both the husband and wife as an example of the type of companies to avoid. Even if both the husband and the wife were planning on being present I’d ask the company if they require this and if they do I’d call someone else. That’s advice I’d give to anyone shopping for any type of home improvement project. I think you give the customer a bad experience when you operate that way. You don’t need to take my advice and the readers of this site don’t need to take my advice either, but I think it’s pretty good advice.

  35. I don’t know if The Window Dog will publish this comment, but what he’s doing is all too transparent. By demonizing (and you can’t tell me he’s not demonizing salespeople with the pictures of stereotypical sleazy salesmen on his site) companies that still have policies in place like both husband and wife must be present at the appointment, which have been around for a long time and, frankly, are meant to protect the salesperson, he is “pitching” his own way of doing business, which is ordering windows completely online (no salesmen involved). By cutting the salesman out of the equation, and marketing everything via blog (no large advertising costs) he is able to lower his overhead considerably to where he’s underbidding a lot of companies. Basically, he’s in favor of the complete robotization of the window sales process and window industry as a whole and doesn’t care if thousands of hardworking Americans lose their jobs in said industry (he probably thinks it’s inevitable). So if you’re a consumer, or in the market for windows, and you’re reading this blog, just remember, The Window Dog has a financial motive for why he’s giving you this information. He is not a non-biased voice in this matter and you’re really just caught up in his own version of what we call in the industry “killing the competition” where he distances himself from other companies in order to increase the likelihood of him making a sale. Fact is, anyone who buys windows from The Window Dog is supporting the robotization and automation of our already dwindling American workforce. You are, in essence, pulling the rug out from everyday working Americans who are trying to better themselves and the lives of their families, and contributing to the shrinking of our middle-class. Just think about it. How many new jobs do you think The Window Dog creates? Not only has he eliminated the salesman role, but also the appointment setters role. I don’t know who his installers are, but I can’t imagine they’re paid very well at his margins. But, this is a free market, so the free market will determine if his business model is viable. I don’t know if buying windows online out of a catalogue will catch on or not, but what I do know is that you get what you pay for.

    1. Hi Robert, thanks for taking the time to write. I don’t think I demonize all salespeople, just the ones who intentionally mislead customers. I’ve written multiple times about how hard it can be to be an in-home salesperson and the lack of respect shown to honest hard working salespeople by customers.

      My company does provide many jobs all over the country. It’s a mistake to think that because I don’t support overcharging customers and using silly sales gimmicks from the 1970s that I don’t care about people. In fact, I remember all of the times I was in the offices of old fashioned window dealers when they were joking with their sales teams about how much they charged the folks they met with last night. I run this site because I do care about people, the people that high pressure salesmen are overcharging every single day.

      Being a salesperson is hard and unfortunately people will often deal with that by compromising their morals to make the sale. They let themselves get distracted by the money and they view the interaction with the customers as a game to be won. They win and the customer loses. That’s a very short term strategy and it’s the way many window salespeople operate.

      A great salesperson provides value so both sides come away better for having done business together. Do you really think the customer who is subjected to a 3 hour sales pitch with multiple predetermined price drops, calls to the manager, secret today only neighborhood discounts, etc is better off for having invited that salesperson into their home? I don’t.

      There are plenty of ways to make a living. It is absolutely true that there can be a lot of money in being a misleading salesperson, but it’s not a job I’m looking to support.

    2. You can claim it’s to “protect the salesman” (note “man”) but it’s outright discrimination based on gender and/or marital status. I can’t tell you how many contractors try to treat me like “the little woman” (both when I was single and now married) and not only talk to me like I don’t know sh*t but also try to use the “self-protection” BS when insisting my husband be with me before they will take my money. Ironically, most of these folks even when my husband doesn’t want to be involved (most of the time) still push for him thinking they can get him on their side on the sales end, while simultaneously talking down to me as if this was my first rodeo.

      By the way there are a LOT of window companies out there and a good size number of them are scamming the customer with jacked up prices. I’m self employed and absolutely get trying to make a living, and with that comes appropriate markups, but when it comes to windows I’ve seen so much garbage that we just ended up DIY-ing them and did the job for literally 1/10 of the prices quoted and with much better quality than we had done in our last house. And without the salesPERSON trying to tell us they knew more what we needed than what we did (like the one who literally had never heard of Energy Trust of Oregon and said that energy efficiency ratings weren’t important while wanting us to give him $20K+ to replace windows with sub-par ones). I’ve had good contractors as well but those were – guess what – also the ones who treated me with respect, did not act like my husband was my keeper, and got my business for the long haul.

  36. I’ve read through all these comments. Over the years I’ve been subjected to several one-day close sales and they are simply exhausting. However, I’m mostly a DIY’er so they’ve not happened enough to me to really think about what’s going on. Thanks to Window Dog for putting this all together for me.
    Here are three of my experiences:
    1) Really large man trying to sell us siding. At least three hours. Ended up putting dents in our dining room floor he was so big – went by the name of Gator. All this stuff about virgin vinyl and all that. This was 15 years ago, for the back half of my townhouse (the front was brick). I can’t remember the price, but I knew that it was at least twice as much as my neighbor paid. We had just wanted a quote – figured it was basically one surface and about a one foot side wall length that it would be pretty quick. We were wrong. Finally got so tired, we agreed and then cancelled within the 3 day cooling off period. The whole thing felt so futile and we had these welts in our dining room floor. Never got the work done because I didn’t want to have to go through it again.

    2) Needed to get the siding on the bay window replaced. We also quoted the windows and an attic fan.
    We only needed the siding since there was quite a bit of rot, so we proceeded with that. The HOA didn’t approve our attic fan so we got out of that one, but I think they didn’t push the windows too hard, since we agreed to proceed with the siding. And I had an idea of what it would cost and it was actually lower, so I was happy. Also, the crew came and took basically all day to do it and did a great job, so it all worked out. Unsurprisingly, never saw the sales guy again, even though he implied that he would personally oversee my project. The best tactic they used was to tell me that they would take care of all necessary permits. Of course no permits were necessary, but they hit that line at least four times.

    3) Following a hail storm, the roofers were out in droves. My wife agreed to talk to one of them, but he had to wait until I came home, so I come home and so he sells me on what they’ll do for me yada yada. So I’m like, “great, let me get your info.” He pressured me to sign the contract, but insisted it was non-binding. I’m an attorney so I looked it over, and agreed there was no financial obligation, in part because this was going through insurance. He was a bit too high pressured and I eventually cancelled and went with a local company. It was interesting because I was aware that I was being manipulated, but felt so helpless to prevent it, because I wanted to be nice. The worst thing he did which soured the whole thing for me, honestly, and I knew that I just couldn’t work with him was this. I had held off submitting the claim, because I knew it would start the ball rolling on the repair and I would have to come up with a $4000 deductible. He pressured me into submitting the claim so he could get a claim number for his paperwork. I objected nicely and should have just asked him to leave, but I finally acquiesced, justifying to myself that I needed to do it anyway. But that was it. There was no repairing after that. He was really nice and he came out and went through the inspection with the insurance adjuster, and I did feel bad for canceling. I offered money for his time for doing that, but he declined.

    I now need windows and dread calling anyone. Reading this though gives me hope and some things to watch out for. I definitely feel more empowered. Thanks.

    1. Thanks for sharing your experience. They definitely go through training on using human nature just like you describe. The guys who are good at this stuff can be really good at this stuff. Customers have no idea who they’re inviting into their house sometimes.

  37. Yes, some want both to be present to sell to you, but others are just.plain.sexist. I’ve worked with contractors for many years and every once in a while there are those who won’t do the work unless they can talk to your husband – not you, the wife – about it. I just had it happen this week with a contractor in our neighborhood who kept blowing me off or claiming he was busy, yet when my husband would reach out to him he was suddenly available with all the details. When we finally confronted him he said that he does not ever enter the home of a woman without her husband present, basically telling us that he would only do business with us if my husband was there (and therefore even though I work from home and wanted the work done now, because of his sexism, he would only do it on my husband’s days off, which would have forced us to use our only two days together to sit there and babysit him.). Then he had the nerve to say the reason was because of “his culture”.

    What folks must keep in mind is that what these companies are doing is practicing discrimination by refusing to do business with someone based on their gender and/or marital status. Do NOT do business with companies who claim these types of policies, no matter what their reasoning is, and instead report them to the CBB.

  38. I like how you said that if a company is truly offering you a great deal, they’ll be confident enough to let you shop around. My husband and I want to have new windows installed soon. I think your tips will help us find the best company possible!

  39. I’m looking for a window installation specialist because a neighbor kid broke our living room window. Your information about different window sales strategies is very helpful. We’ll make sure to look at a company’s reviews before hiring them to install a new window.

  40. Why even bother then having a salesperson out? Just look at brochures on the internet to do your “due dilligence.” Then you will be absolutely confused.

    If someone shows you prices from 15 other companies, you like their product, they answered all your questions, you actually doing the project and not kicking tires, they showed you their warranty, their reviews, etc., then why not buy from them. In most cases, people don’t even hear 30% of what you are saying and retain only about 50% of the information 2 days later, studies show. Plus, most homeowners will mix up the information between companies and confuse themselves. We’ve actually seen people pay more for less because they forgot information.

  41. I’m new at selling windows and doors, only done about 30 appointments, ive closed over 100 grand in sales so far which makes me the bottom guy on the list, I can only speak from my experiences, some customers don’t have the time to get every company to there house for quotes, if they like you and your products are good, they will buy. Some people are ready to buy when you get there, regardless of husband not being there etc. Others want a bargain and have more time than money, we are more on the high end so we hardly get those. Others don’t have a budget big enough for their ideas, we try to break up the project in steps…Some are planning to buy much much later and I just give them a quote. We are low pressure yet our company contradicts that with a “one appointment close” but what I’ve seen, that is not real or a valid expectation. Some want to buy but their project is so complex, requires research that you can’t get them a quote right away. And others that just want to kick the can down the road wanting all your time when the real issue is that they have trouble making decisions. It’s a mixed bag and each customer is handled differently. The downside of the company I work for is their prices are way higher than most so if a customer is quote shopping, its much harder. We do have an outstanding reputation and are very established and we pay our installers 1 grand a day since they are master installers… So far so good I just wish our prices were more competitive, I think we could sell more.

  42. Live in Omaha NE area. Just had two window companies come out and occupy a total of seven hours of my day. Champion and another company, which shall remain nameless. Both quoted me a retail price over $70K for 27 full frame vinyl windows (8 casements, 11 pictures, 8 sliders) and one sliding glass door to replace my wood windows, many of which have rot issues. I was stunned at the exorbitant (IMO) price.
    Champion has a special running where I was given 40% off making the total around $42K and then offered some marketing specials (put signs in yard for a period of time) taking total to $38K. Champion left me with the listing of windows with measurements and the total costs, and discounts on the backside of that paper.
    The other company claimed to be offering me marketing incentives that must be accepted today as they have another house to offer it to in the neighborhood. Their price went from $76K to $55K, but I had to sign that day. Um, no! They left me with no written quote, would not even email me a quote, and left at 10 p.m. Wow, wonder what time that other appointment that evening was going to be. They could halve their lowest offered price tomorrow and I wouldn’t accept it.
    Interestingly, both seem to have a good product. Champion’s did not have the window sticker on it so I don’t know their window’s energy efficiency ratings. The other companies did, but they weren’t stellar by any means. Both companies claimed to have a superior product and pointed out reasons why, triple-coated low E glass, silver nitrate coated low-e glass, transferable warranty (one only valid for one year after transfer!), both performed the heat lamp test (that one’s actually pretty compelling) and for one I took the heat lamp and actually put it against their demo window vs. their sample glass and the test held up. Granted, I didn’t hold the heat lamp there for hours as would happen on a 100+ degree day outside, so who knows for sure.
    After doing a lot of looking at window review, stats, etc., online, I think I like the Okta 500/Insultec series and 700 series (casements) and it appears there are a couple dealers in the Omaha area. Any thoughts on those windows and how much they should cost with full-frame installation?
    Thanks. Keep up the good work!

  43. We’ve had 3 quotes and 2 companies required that my wife and I be there. My wife hates that, could care less what they say, and trusts me to make an informed decision. The Window Nation sales guy during measuring said, “I could insert a crude sexual reference here but I won’t” and then later got angry (twice) when I told him that I was not going to buy that day as I had one more quote later that week (regardless of the TODAY ONLY discount). All that did was confirm that the “both parties must be there” line is bunk. The Thompson Creek rep was knowledgeable and polite. The Window Universe rep was a nice guy, said hello to my wife and then spent the time working with me and let her be.

  44. I was texting with Castle Windows and they replied with this message.

    “Please keep in mind that regulations with Consumer Affairs require all homeowners, spouses, and any parties involved in the process to be present for estimates and/or quotes to be given. There are no other homeowners or decision makers, is that correct?”

    I would love to see the Consumer Affairs regulation based on this.

    1. Ha, that’s a good one. They’re a little notorious for creative claims and I think you’d have a hard time finding a regulation like that.

  45. Couple things the buyer should realize; 1) Rarely does one spouse buy a house — or do major remodeling– without talking at length about it to the other spouse. And they can’t discuss it intelligently with one of them in the dark. So why would an honest, ethical sales person show windows & prices to only one of them? It makes no sense. 2) When quoting home renovations you NEED input from ALL owners in order to give a detailed, correct & useful price. Otherwise it’s garbage in = garbage out. 3) ALL owners must agree on the purchase. Therefore ALL owners must receive details FIRST HAND to eliminate surprises and disappointments for years to come. It’s just COMMON SENSE folks; all owners of a property should be ther to hear the contractor’s presentation. Just like when you bought the house!

    1. I think many people would find that to be outdated thinking. If it’s working for you you should probably keep doing it. The percentage of companies who operate like that will likely continue to decline.

  46. I think all of you are thinking too black or white when there is a lot of grey in the middle. For some, going to every appointment regardless of who is present is the strategy that works for them and in my experience is the company that works on volume and price. For others, they work on quality so they know they will have to price their windows higher and they need the correct audience in front of them to pitch their value and justify the higher price.

    Now, that should be taken as absolutes. There will be cases where the homeowner doesn’t go with the cheapest and there will be cases that both homeowners are not needed to make the decision, however, if we are being honest, the percentage of these cases is not high.

    It could be seen as greedy but as a business owner, I have a responsibility to my family and employees to maximize profits. Secretaries, salesman, and installers all want to grow with a company and will need a company that can afford to give them frequent raises if they want them to stay. As a result, I have to think of how to constantly increase profits. One way we do that is to make sure both homeowners are home for the estimate. Here is the math below:

    Closing percentages:
    One-leggers: 10%
    All decision-makers: 50%

    Looking at these stats, I stand to make considerably more if I increase my ad budget and fill the salesman’s schedule with only appointments that both decision-makers are home. Again, I will lose out on the 10% of the one-leggers I don’t go to but in the end, I will be in a much better position. I know this can come off as cold but it’s business and the goal is profit.

    Side note:
    In my experience, when homeowners make a decision and sign a contract with you, it’s because you checked all of the boxes: they like you, trust you, like the product, like the company, like the price, etc. So if they are happy with the decision, why ruin their experience and make them regret it with comments after the fact. For example, If I buy a new car and I spent $10,000 over what it’s worth but I’m happy with it; I would hate it if people would just ruin my experience by stating they could have gotten a better deal. It seems more like bragging and less about helping purchaser.

  47. I just found this article. I had a recent experience with a company. The short story, I was told my significant other had to be present for the sales appointment even though my SO has no financial interest in the house that I solely own. Of course, this happens AFTER the sales person has been at my house for almost an hour. I told the person on the phone days before that I own the house and that I make the decisions when it comes to MY home and I am the one paying for the goods and services.

    1. Unfortunately that’s really common in the window business. The salesperson gets evaluated on his close percentage or the percentage of people he sells vs people he quotes. If he says your wife wasn’t there then you won’t could against his averages as a project he didn’t sell. It’s a funny business. You can find recommended window companies in this section who may be able to help with your project.

  48. I’m at the point where if the company says “is there a Mrs. so-and-so?” I know I’m going to be sitting through a torturous, condescending sales presentation, and I hang up. The better quotes I’ve gotten were no-nonsense, contractor comes over and tells me what he can do.

    Best just to say “I’m the only one who makes these decisions,” which in my case is true.

  49. Just called company to give bid on my new bath and shower. They said they would need both owners present. I told them I would be hearing presentation and making buyer decisions because my husband had Alzheimer’s. They said he had to be there, unless I could show them a POA. I couldn’t believe it…livid…I said goodbye.

  50. I had heard this from some companies, so I called one of the very highly rated companies in our area and told them right up front. “My husband will not be able to be present. He has an incredibly unpredictable and busy work schedule and travels a lot.” They agreed, but asked me to try to get him there if I could. I also told them that I live in a neighborhood with an incredibly strict BOA’s and approval process, so their rep needed to be familiar with the requirements of this area.
    They informed me that the appointment would take 60-90 minutes and asked if I had the time for that. I said that was fine.
    The first rep I had an appointment with didn’t show up, even though he and I had spoken on the phone and texted to confirm the night before. They sent a different guy later in the day. He was a very nice kid in his 20’s; chatty, personable. I walked around the house with him and told him specifics on what I wanted with particular windows (casement, picture, colors, grid, etc.)
    We then sat down and he input everything in his computer. But every few minutes, he would stop to ask, how I felt the process was going with his company vs the others I had spoken to. What would make me more likely to go with his company. Besides price, what would I take into consideration that would make me choose his company. Many variations on these questions. He asked me what other window brand I was window I was considering and I told him PGT. He told me that I shouldn’t use them or CGI bc they are built for homes in the north and don’t stand up under Florida conditions and I would end up with issues with de-lamination. He recommended Mr. Glass stating that their inner layer was flexible and would contract and expand with the weather, avoiding de-lamination. He went through all of the advantages of choosing Mr. Glass and his company, including that they give a lifetime warranty on installation and the window, which no other company does. Finally, he gave me the price, which he said was his best price and it included a 10% discount “Only valid for 10 days.”. I asked to see samples of the windows, he brought in the glass, but not a full window with frame. He told me that he heard that I had seen other windows already so he didn’t think I needed to see the whole window.
    After 3 HOURS (yes, 3!!!!), I said that we needed to wrap up and that I would speak with my husband and get back to him. As he was about to leave, he gave it one last shot and said, “I know you need to speak with your husband, but what if I told you that I could get you a better price if you commit by tomorrow morning?” I said I still couldn’t commit without talking to my husband and sent him on his way.
    Don’t tell me you’re giving me your best price and then 10 minutes later tell me you can get me a better price. That just makes me distrust you. After he left, I went back to their website and saw that his company also carries PCT, CGI, CWS, all the ones that he said I would have issues with. Final straw for me. Just wish I hadn’t lost 3 hours of my time to him, but I guess it’s better than losing the $40k he was quoting me.

  51. Hi Window Dog. I stumbled across this web page when searching “both spouses must be present dinner sales pitch” and yours is the first result. I read your article and then many of the replies in the comment section and it’s been interesting to say the least. I would like to say thank you for taking the time to document this sales tactic, shed light on it, and publicly share it for others to read. The world needs more open information shared in this manner.

    I received a business flyer in the mail from a smart home technology company offering a FREE GOURMET DINNER (capitalized like in the flyer) at a local classy restaurant if I agreed to attend a sales presentation. I’m familiar with these types of pitches and know they go hand-in-hand with many other industries (timeshares) but what caught my interest was the footnote at the bottom of the flyer saying “if married both spouses must attend dinner and presentation.” Curious, I googled this phrase and your website is the first to turn up; it has all but confirmed my suspicions. Yet another scummy hard push sales tactic meant to pressure families into buying on an impulse. If both spouses are present, it’s difficult to say no and leaves little room for critical thinking or further discussion. After all, if both homeowners are present, what’s there left to discuss?

    Just wanted to say this is one of the worst, most torturous methods of sales pitches I absolutely despise. It ranks down there with car salesmen that hold you hostage at dealerships by taking your keys or drivers license so you can’t leave until you agree to buy a car from them. We get many variations of these kinds of hard push, high pressure sales solicitors going door-to-door in our neighborhoods every month. Some are home remodelers looking to sell energy efficient upgrades, some are pest control services, some are internet service providers, some are roofers, and many others but they all boil down to the same scam: knock on the door, tell the homeowner they’re doing work for their neighbor just down the road (a lie), and they can offer a discount if you buy now (usually pitched as buying materials in bulk or doing multiple jobs in a single day, etc.). They just need to get a foot in the door so they say whatever they can to worm into your home then they won’t leave until something is signed or committed to. More or less the same thing with these dinner presentations.

    I personally find the whole concept of door-to-door, free dinner presentations, and the like horribly outdated. They may have been appropriate decades ago in the pre-internet days, but in a more modern setting, the internet has more or less rendered them obsolete, like door-to-door vacuum salesmen. For people who value their time more than money, yes it may make sense to listen to a salesperson and agree if you’re looking to get it done fast and with only one quote. But for most people, especially those struggling financially or wanting to get the best possible deal, a little more due diligence is needed and pushy, high pressure sales tactics most certainly will not help it. I conduct almost all my research online when preparing to make large purchases and I vet as much data about materials and businesses as I absolutely can and I would venture a guess many others do too.

    It’s been wild reading the comments here from salespeople offering their point of view. While I appreciate their honesty, that doesn’t make the sales tactic any less scummy. Anyway, thank you Window Dog for pointing this out and standing your ground. Very much appreciated.

    1. Happy to help! I’ve always secretly wanted to go to a timeshare sales pitch to see how it really goes, but haven’t yet actually spent the time on it. Maybe one day.

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