I recently scheduled an in-home window replacement shop. Didn't realize at the time that two competitor shops are part of the deal. $22 each, and I can use the information.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/27/2009 04:44PM by Mert.

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I grabbed one of those shops, too. I had my first competitor shop Friday. Trickier than you might think to get the price breakdown that they want.

Also, a heads up.. if you are shopping the WOOD replacements windows... the line of windows by the coMpetitor that is listed on the shop is NOT wood - it's fibreglass. Maybe tell the competitor you can't make up your mind and want a price for both.
I saw those outside of my area. Pretty sweet. Yes, virtually any/every house with windows more than 40-50 years old could use the information! What fascinates me with the client is their 'invisible screen' stuff. I would love to get my hands on some rolls of that to redo my screen porches!!! I love to photograph wildlife visiting my yard and the camera insists on autofocusing on the blankety blank blank screen so most often the birds are a blur in the background.
solideogloria Wrote:
> I grabbed one of those shops, too. I had my first
> competitor shop Friday. Trickier than you might
> think to get the price breakdown that they want.
> Also, a heads up.. if you are shopping the WOOD
> replacements windows... the line of windows by the
> coMpetitor that is listed on the shop is NOT wood
> - it's fibreglass. Maybe tell the competitor you
> can't make up your mind and want a price for both.

Thanks SDG, I figured the breakdown would be a challenge, as I always request estimates that way (in real life), with options separated out and it's 50/50 whether I'll get it as requested. I am assigned the wood scenario. I don't know who the competitors are yet, but I wonder if all window companies even offer wood replacements. May be an issue I'll have to address.
Perhaps that is why these aren't available in my area. I know of no homes here with wood. We all have aluminum frames and at this point any new windows must pass hurricane force wind standards.
I'm now 0 for 2 on getting the price breakdowns they want. Honestly, I think the competitors are on to them and specifically not giving the breakdowns. They write up each window as a package. So, unless you are looking for a bunch of expensive add-ons, which would have totally outted me as a Mystery shopper, you are not going to get the price breakdown. My first competitor shop I emailed the window rep with some lame excuse about my brother-in-law, who fancies himself a contractor, suddenly wanting to "help" and asking for a price breakdown. The window rep didn't go for it and just told me that the price per window quote he gave me WAS the breakdown. Meanwhile, About Face is harping on me for more. Don't know if I 'm gonna get paid for this shop. sigh. I guess the one good thing to come out of it is that I now know how much it will cost to replace the windows in my 118 year old house. smiling smiley
The shop is new enough the competitors probably aren't onto it yet. Can you pick some other competitors? 'I had some guys in here, but they weren't specific about what I was getting for the one price they quoted, even though we talked about different options. When my husband asked for specifics I couldn't tell him anything but that it was a "New Window". Can you give me a price breakdown on the windows and my options so I can intellibly discuss this with him?'
SDG, was your original shop's estimate broken down? As a lady in waiting on my first estimate, I'm wondering if I couldn't refer to it with the competitors? 'This is an estimate from another company. Please provide me with a similar breakdown so I can compare apples to apples'.
Do you guys think that is worth the $22? It sounds like a pain in the arse, no? SDG, let us know if you are going to get paid!
If I am understanding this correctly, it is $66 because you are evaluating 3 companies--the client and 2 competitors.
I'm actually in the market for replacement windows. Or at least their prices. And, there's a tax credit available, depending . . . That's the attraction of this series of shops for me. Getting paid for something I've been meaning to get around to anyway.
Definitely understood. That is absolutely the best kind of shop to get paid for. You will have your first 3 bids and then can talk with companies who may be more 'mom and pop' places that have been doing it for years competently.
Yes, Flash.. the potential is that you would get paid $22 for EACH report. BUT if one report gets rejected, you don't get paid for ANY of them. So, if I can't get these sales reps to give me the breakdown that the client wants, I wasting a lot of my time to the tune of about 6-10 hours. If I can get one competitor to dance and the other doesn't, I don't know if they will then have me do yet another competitor or if I even would want to do that. It is one thing to not get paid because of something YOU fail to perform on a shop, it is another to not get paid because of something the SHOPEE failed to perform.

Gonna try again now to get the breakdowns.. wish me luck.

I would write them back and say that after the first one, you need to rethink this. I would not invest that much time on a maybe.

“Lying in bed would be an altogether perfect and supreme experience if only one had a colored pencil long enough to draw on the ceiling."
~Gilbert K. Chesterton
I did a similar one (earlier round)and you are then on the window company return call list forever.... did you want to buy-no no no.... even after telling them NO
Update: I was able to get more information from the first competitor. I sent it to AF and asked them to confirm receipt of the information and that I was still on track for these reports. No response.

The last evaluation (of the actual client) is Oct 5. I guess I will give them until Friday and if I cannot get a straight answer that I will be getting paid, then I will cancel.

How are everyone else's shops going? Are you getting the price breakdowns?
I have only had one in-home visit so far. As the rep discussed options with me, he volunteered to break it down 3 different ways, with the option to stain the wood separate. The 3 companies are major players and I'd certainly expect to get the quote as requested. (Knock on wood - or on my head as my husband says!) Won't get the quote for about another week, and the competitors both are in a few days. I would say after completing the report, $22 is low. Again though, this information is usable to me.
Mert - so you had your visit with the CLIENT first? My guess is that he is trained to break it down since it they are the ones asking for the breakdown. He said he won't get you the quote for another WEEK? That seems like a long time to wait.

Hope your competitors come through with the breakdowns.

AboutFace is no longer talking to me. I asked the scheduler this morning to check with the Senior Editor to make sure the information I sent them had been received. No reply. Very frustrating. If anyone from About Face reads this board, please know that I do NOT want to cancel.. I want to do these shops, but I need communication!
Sorry for the tough time you're having on this one. This is a fairly ambitious undertaking and I'd bet AF is fielding issues left and right.

Yes, the client first. I had no choice in the matter. I wasn't provided with competitor contact info until an appointment had been scheduled with the client. I was concerned with the length of time the client said to allow to get me the quote, but I reported back to my scheduler and she hasn't replied with concern. If competitors take as long to quote, this job is going to on/off for a month.
Whew! I'm feeling better. I finally got an email back from the editor and scheduler saying that my reports and what I've been able to give them are OK and that I'm on track for doing the final report.

I also scheduled my client shop first, but the first available date was so far out that the competitor shops ended up being scheduled for earlier dates.

I'm so glad About Face finally got back to me. I really like working for them. I've done some fun, decently-paying jobs for them and to date have had a good relationship.
So can anyone say if it was actually worth the time? It sounds pretty detailed, even for $66.

I would love to get a price on replacement windows. Mine are original, from 1925! They are of course all wood, with sash weights, and some of the glass is wavy, which is very cool- BUT they are drafty to no end and every window needs to be re-glazed. We have been toying with vinyl replacements (don't think we can afford wood, we have a lot of windows!) the last year or so, but we are afraid of losing the charm factor.
Can't answer whether it's worth it yet, as I'm not finished. The reports are detailed. A few things can go awry, beyond a shopper's control. I'm saving time on the in-home appointment by confining to the living room. At this point, all I can say is IF I get paid, it will be worth it.

The client and two competitors are the major national companies. Their prices will be at least two to three times higher than local independent contracting companies. I have 25 wooden windows, both casement and double hung. Drafty with wavy glass doesn't appeal to me. We would not consider replacing with wood, and it's not about saving money. We think we can go the maintenance-free route and still build value.
I am in an area where rarely do we need to maintain more than a 20 degree differential between indoors and outdoors, so our window requirements are much different than other areas of the country. Certainly aluminum frames work well for us. As glass gets broken I do replace with lucite and did replace the glass in west facing windows with lucite that immediately cooled down the family room because less late afternoon heat was transmitted through. My son, in an area where a higher differential between indoor and outdoor temperatures is needed, has aluminum with sealed 'glass sandwiches' that transmit almost no heat or cold. His windows are about 20 years old and on some several of them the seal on the sandwich has been compromised so they are often fogged. His former home had some pretty nifty ones that the 'storm window' stayed in the upper track of the double hung and just pulled down for the winter. Saves a lot of grief from putting up and taking down storms every year.
This is a good opportunity to learn what's out there in window land. One very neat feature I have not seen is the roll screen. The screen rolls up into a housing when not needed. Cool beans, but about $150 per window.
I have found the screens with my aluminum frames are so poorly designed that they are hard to remove without bending them. It is supposedly a quick release system that doesn't quick release worth a hoot. So when I wash windows I use a hose end system for the outsides through the screen that is only moderately effective and then clean the washed down debris from inside.
Mert, you are welcome to have all the ancient roll-up screens from my 118-year-old-house!! smiling smiley

I was surprised at how low-cost one of the competitor's windows are. We are looking to replace a few windows in the spring and I had already gotten a quote from a local shop. The high-end competitor came in at about 1/2 price. Not for vinyl, either.... a processed wood product.
Forgot to answer the question, "Is it worth it?"

At this point I say, "Yes." As you can see by my above-posts, I wasn't sure about this project, but I feel better now that the editor and scheduler have emailed me. My last visit is tomorrow.. by the actual client.

If you are going to do the shop.. do NOT have them look at your entire house unless you are seriously in the market to replace all your windows right now. Not worth the time.
OK.. all my reports are done for this project. Whew!

I saw that they were offering a chance to win an ipod if you signed up for these shops. Anyone else taking the bait?
Screens from these companies are great, Flash. Close to invisible with sturdy frames. I tried to twist and buckle them - they won't budge. I've asked for quotes on my living room, which has 6 double hung windows - $7500 is the lowest.

Okay, SDG, it looks like it's only you and me in the running for the ipodsmiling smiley
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