The Model Home Windows Program & Other Window Scams

window salesman scams and tricks

The model home windows program is one of our favorite window sales scams. If you’ve ever seen the movie Tin Men with Danny DeVito and Richard Dryfus you know this one.  The fact that this trick is still frequently used has always surprised me.  As is the case with all of these window maneuvers they wouldn’t still exist if people didn’t buy them so watch out!

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The basics of this maneuver come back to the idea that if a company wants to sell you something at a price above the market price they need a way to entice you to make an irrational decision.  The irrational decision in this case is to pay more for something than you need to.

Now remember, paying more than you need to doesn’t refer to a comparison with the absolute cheapest company in town.  When you buy a remodeling project you’re buying the quality of the products, the quality of the service the strength of the warranty, etc.  All of these things have value and they’re all worth something.  When we say these companies are trying to entice you to pay more than you need to we mean after factoring all of these components into it, they’re still charging more than their competitors.

How can I be sure these companies are trying to charge you more than their competitors would?

Because it’s not my first day in this business…and also because they’re lying to you.

Remember we started this post talking about the model home discount.  This is when a company offers to sell you their products and services for an incredibly low price so they can use your house as an example of the great work they do.  They’re expecting all of your neighbors to see how great your house looks and they’re expecting to sell your neighbors windows too.

This sounds like a real win-win situation.  You get great new windows.  You know they’re going to do a great job because they want to show off their work at your home.  They’re only offering this deal to one house in the neighborhood so you’d better sign up now to take advantage right?  NO.  This is never a good deal.

In reality they’re telling you this because it’s a good story.  They need to get past the universal human tendency to be cautious.  You see we evolved over millions of years to be leery of risky situations.  This is how we as humans survived all these years.  Now they want you to sign a contract and fork over thousands of your hard earned dollars without so much as a google search?  Forget about it.  You’ll never do it….unless it’s a really fantastic deal.

You see these companies know that another universal human tendency is to LOVE a great deal and to HATE missing a great deal.  You love telling your friends about that great shirt you found at TJ Maxx or the steal of a deal you found on the clearance rack, right?  How did I know that?  Because everyone loves that.  It’s human nature.  In this case the remodeling company is attempting to use one tendency to overcome the other.

“I wouldn’t fall for that” you’re probably saying.  I know, of course you wouldn’t.  Nobody in their right mind would over pay for some sales scam.  Surprisingly these companies do millions of dollars in business each and every year.  People are going for it every day.  Nobody every buys something because they think it’s a bad deal.  These companies do a great job explaining it and you ‘re left thinking you got the deal of the century.  My what a great consumer you are!

Just remember, a model home discount is NEVER a good deal.  The price offered today will still be good tomorrow or the next day or the week after that.  If you compare your options and decide that you liked that first company then go for it, but don’t let them talk you into signing up on the spot.  You should also remember that if they take the deal next week (as I guarantee they will) then they’re telling you that all that talk about model homes was a lie.  Do you really want to work with a company that started out by lying to you?

I wouldn’t recommend it.

In extreme cases we’ve even heard these companies telling you to keep the prices secret so your neighbors don’t know what a great deal you got.  You know the real reason they want you to keep the price a secret?  Because your neighbor got the same price as you or maybe even better.

The big takeaway?  As soon as you hear a company tell you that you’re getting a great price because they want to use your home as a model for the neighborhood just picture Danny Vevito and Richard Dryfus in your front yard yelling about putting your home in Better Homes and Gardens as the “before” house.  Don’t be that sucker.

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25 thoughts on “The Model Home Windows Program & Other Window Scams”

  1. I LOVE when these offers come to my neighborhood. I always tell them the following pitch. I will be more than happy to let you use my house as the neighborhood model. You will provide all materials, windows, and the labor for free. I will let you put a sign to advertise your company in my front yard and if you have a magnetic sign for my car, will put it on my car for three months. I always get the “we can’t do that.” I tell them that’s too bad. Those are my terms, have a nice day.

  2. I find it interesting that this window dog website attacks those selling windows , while at the same time trying to sell windows through sponsored advertising.. FISHY!

    1. That’s interesting feedback. We don’t attack anyone. We do try to expose tricky sales tactics so folks can can avoid getting talked into buying something they don’t want or need. Feel free to ignore our advice if you’d like!

  3. The only problem I see with showcase home approaches is when a company says they are offering an exclusive discount but they are still using conventional advertising such as print ads, internet ads, and even home shows. If a company truly does not advertise then I applaud them for going direct to consumers and giving the first home in the neighborhood a better rate. I would actually say Buyer Beware of the companies who spend $$$$ in advertising…because you know that someone has to pay for the advertising. Just think about it….

    1. Well, effective advertising pays for itself through increased sales. Generating new customers is tough in this business and companies do often pay too much for ineffective marketing which does cause them to try to raise prices to cover the costs. It sounds like we agree that’s a pretty short sighted strategy.

      You will sometimes see companies that say they’re offering a “special” rate to someone as a way to break into a neighborhood when in fact they’re offer the same rate and the same sales pitch that they offer to everyone. The false urgency in terms of “we’re only offering this special price to the first person to sign up, if you don’t signup tonight your neighbor may sign up tomorrow and you’ll be out of luck” is what we’re advising folks to avoid.

      We’ve also had folks tell us that some companies using the old model home pitch have told them they need to keep the “special” pricing secret. That’s silly. This isn’t 1979. Secret prices haven’t been cool since at least 1997.

    2. Because, YES, some of us are left with integrity. My company’s offer may NOT be gone with the wind by tomorrow. We’d like to however give u a quality product for an affordable & competitive price. We’ll do this for you because your happy customer word-of-mouth is only beneficial to us, and much appreciated. U said it ur self windowdog a happy customer is the BEST advertising!

  4. Have you ever heard of Synergy Windows? They came by my house yesterday and used the Model house sales pitch. They use Alside windows.

    1. From what I can see on their website it looks like an Alside Sheffield window. I think there are better options. The ratings on that one aren’t so hot and I bet the price is fancier than the windows. Let me know if you’d like a recommendation in the area.

    1. Hi Jane, what specifically did you want to know? The Apex Insignia windows are a perfectly decent option, perhaps not as completely revolutionary as a salesman might claim. If you’d be interested in another suggestion just let us know your zip code and we’ll see if we can help.

      1. windowdog, I’m in zip code 27513 and trying to find some comparable windows to the Apex Insignia also. You recommend any other/better windows in this zip?

        1. Sure thing, my company offers an option in your area that I do think is a nicer choice. I just sent you a quote and noticed that I left the triple pane glass off of it. We can add that and I’ll be happy to answer any questions. Thanks for reaching out.

  5. I just had a salesman offer me model home pricing. He had to call his sales manager to get me a price. I felt like I was in a dealership buying a car. I’m not a guy who usually buys the lowest estimate because I think it usually comes with a whole host of other problems since. This model home pricing was 34% above the price I got from someone who seemed to be reputable, up front, and honest. I had to send several on their way after giving me the buy now price. I was clear when I set up appointments that I only wanted a price that was good today, next week, or next month, and wouldn’t entertain offers with this type of pressure sales. Prices don’t change drastically so no one should have a problem giving a price they can live with. Your website is interesting and I’m glad I saw it.

    1. Hi Mark, thanks for writing. Glad the site has been helpful. That sort of sales process is standard procedure for a lot of companies.

    1. My company has used Alside casement windows without issue. Whether or not the Cliamtech glass makes sense would depend on your climate. It’s a popular package but not the best choice everywhere.

  6. Hi! Do you know anything about Brightside Home Solutions? They are pitching the “model home” and selling Preservation windows. Sounds like a decent deal…. But we don’t have much of an idea..?? We’re in 97229.

    1. I don’t know about that installer as we usually only review manufacturers. In my experience companies that are offering good deals aren’t also using pricing gimmicks like the model home discount. Those types of schemes are usually only used by companies offering bad deals as they need some way to convince people to buy the bad deal.

      Generally companies that are offering good deals don’t play games like that. I’d look for another option or two so you have something to compare.

  7. I just had a guy call from the Cap program. He too was using the Model Home Program sales approach. I keep asking for a list of financing options and this guy could not give me anything. Than he said there is PACE and Y green. But I had to have someone come out to the house. When I said no the guy hung up on me. That was a trigger red flag.

    1. Yep, anytime they force you to bring a commission based salesman into your house you can be sure a silly sales pitch is coming.

  8. Synergy windows is at it in Gwinnett county, GA. I took their info, they wanted an appointment next day. I said no. Their pitch is smooth and “no pressure” – but still was causation.

  9. You make claims that any commissioned salesman, that comes into someone’s home, is giving a silly sales pitch. How can you make that statement? Have you spoken to, sat in on, every single presentation?If you answer No, then that is a false and misleading statement, which makes me question every other “opinion” you offer on anything. I wonder then if you have any integrity yourself? Seems funny, that a company that has a different sales model, would bash the other way of doing things. Seems like the way of selling windows that doesn’t use a sales rep, is your gimmick? And you bash sales people. Aren’t you ultimately a commissioned salesman for your company? Pushing your silly sales presentation as a way of doing things. Offering a biased opinion on things, is just that, biased! Telling me, the best window company in any area you are located in, is your company. You cant be serious, then tell me you know the industry.
    Please be aware, this company is no different then any other “gimmick” he speaks of. Saying people shouldn’t “fall” for those things, when he is asking you to do that exact same thing.

    1. Hi Bob, thanks for taking the time to write. If you spend a little more time on the site you’ll see I regularly talk about how there are plenty of helpful salespeople out there and plenty of great companies. Unfortunately, as you’re probably aware, there are also many in-home salespeople who are not nearly as interested in helping the customer as they are in separating the customer from their money. We see that all the time and if you’re in this business I’m sure you see that too.

      The fact that you go upset with me on the page that is about the model home discount tricks might be informative. This is one of the biggest gimmicks in this industry. There are a few companies who push this silly scheme pretty hard. They tell every person they meet with that they’re getting the super special secret model home discount because all of their neighbors will certainly also buy windows as soon as they see the dramatic transformation in this house… It seems so obviously untrue but people fall for it every day.

      You can even see something similar used in the old classic movie Tin Men. It’s a classic trick and in my opinion anyone still using it in 2023 and beyond is not being honest.

      I do think you’ll find that moving away from these old fashioned schemes will lead to better long term success. Good luck with your window sales career.

    2. @Bob
      Bruh, as JLo once said, “if you don’t like it, don’t look at it.” Why you getting your briches in a wad? This guy is selling windows, not a crime. He’s doing it by undermining your scheme and building rapport with the customer, again not a crime. If he’s exposing your tricks of the trade, find a new hook. Stop being a hater.

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