Volume 13, Issue 1 - January/February 2012

Focus on Distribution
What Would You Do?

Installer Errors are Indeed Prevalent

Last month (see November-December DWM, page 54), DWM featured this new department in which we post a dilemma to our readers and ask you for your take on what you would do. Well, judging from the feedback this new section was a big hit. Following are what some of our readers had to say about the company who wanted to sell a homeowner all new windows in a siz-year old home, even though the problem seemed to be simply an installation issue.

“They Should be Out of Business”
We won’t have to worry about Window Company number one, as they should be out of business sooner than later using those sales tactics. Then again maybe they will retire sooner than those of us who have a conscience. Removing the necessary siding to place new housewrap over everything, including the nail fin of a window after window taping, J channel, if not an integral part of the window, a good caulk job between J and window, replace siding, clean up and go home. I’m probably spoiled after nearly 40 years in retail sales at Millersburg Lumber Inc. in Millersburg, Ind., because most of our customers are capable, with a little coaching, of doing this job on their own, thus avoiding the fleecing of customers.

I enjoy your articles and looking forward to 2012 issues.

Kurt I. Kritzman
Millersburg Lumber Inc.
Millersburg, Ind.

“His Name is on the Line”
I just read your article in DWM about the window installation: very interesting, and dead on.

I would agree with contractor number two for the simple reason that like he said, his name is on the line. The same is true here at our company: we also don’t outsource any of our installs unless we have trained the contractor, and are confident that they will install correctly.

As contractor number two observed, six-year old windows are not the problem—the install was, and we have seen the same here. We are a unique company that not only manufactures our own windows, but we are also dealers, so we install them as well. We also sell to contractors, homeowners, etc. We service all types of windows, and we have found that the installation has a lot to do with it.

So here is what I would have done. I would have looked at the damage, and how the windows were installed, before talking price. I would fix like contractor number two but then take it a step further. I would make sure there is no mold or moisture, not to mention structural damage from the moisture.

We wish more contractors would or be forced to take factory training instead of referring the problems back to the window manufacturers for service work as we have seen. Or maybe only certified contractors could install.

We would love to see some more articles like this. Keep up the good work!

Mike Kauffman
Office Manager
Everlast Windows Inc.
Newburg, Pa

Middle of the Road
I would have taken the middle road, offered new windows but encouraged that we explore contractor two’s suggestions.

I have had it go both ways but always approached situations like this with what is best for the customer.  In our area, there is more brick and stone used than vinyl siding. 

My company has started a installation training certification program.

Rich Davis
Sales/Branch Manager
Weather Barr Windows and Doors
Springdale, Ark.

“I Can’t Sell Something the Customer Doesn’t Need”
I am from La Crosse, Wis., and we run into customers with windows iced up, moisture on windows and air leakage—just about every day someone comes in with one of these problems. We will always look over the situation to see if new windows are the solution or just getting them installed correctly. I just can’t sell something the customer doesn’t really need. Our small retail lumberyard has been in business for 63 years and is in its third generation of owners. The company is built on honesty and integrity. The customer will be grateful for your honesty and you will have that customer for life.

Ted Tauscher
Kratt Lumber Co.
La Crosse, Wis.

Read This Month’s Dilemma
Just when we thought installer number two had fixed the problem in last month’s dilemma, the homeowner called to tell me that one of the windows was leaking again as a result of a recent rain storm. She had to leave on Christmas vacation so she put me in charge of letting contractor number two in to look at the problem. He told me he did some work on the arch top and hopefully it will fix the problem. When I pressed him further he said, “We’ll see if it leaks again.”

That brings me to this month’s dilemma. The owner didn’t come out in this situation: he sent one of his most capable employees to look at the issue. That is fine, however, I had a huge problem communicating with this employee due to language barriers. That is why I only know that he “did some work on the arch top”—he tried to explain what he did but quite frankly I couldn’t understand him.

So how do you deal with language barrier issues? What do you do when homeowners tell you they want a different installer who speaks their language? Do you send a less experienced installer? Do you send someone along to translate?

We look forward to hearing from you. Send your responses to ttaffera@glass.com
—Tara Taffera


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