The window estimate process is one of the main reasons owner Darryl Pearce went out on his own, after eight years in an the industry. “We were trained to memorize a three-hour presentation, disguised as a promotional offer, in a ‘one-call’ close. The customer had to make a $10,000-20,000 decision that day, or they would ‘lose out on a real good deal.’ You can imagine how high-pressure it was.”

Basically, the ‘good deal’ was no deal—just retail price marked down a little. Since most salespeople represented just one company they would also misrepresent pros and cons of another type of window. For example a wood window manufacturer might say “You wouldn’t have plastic furniture in your living room—why use vinyl windows that can warp and twist?” In fact, modern vinyl windows are much more rugged and dependable that their early counterparts, and function in every important way just as well as wood windows.

“I wanted to be upfront with people—market multiple lines, and give them a true, objective, honest answer on windows, no matter what line they go with.

“The process I’ve been using since 2000 is to just find out what they want—whether energy savings, a particular material, price, or some other factor will be the deciding one. I come up with a customized cost estimate, which I show them. After I leave, they can use my simple multiplier to know how much each window will cost, if they want to do more or less windows than their original estimate.

“I do not oversell windows, and I don’t use high-pressure tactics. I’m usually in and out, including measuring and estimating, in less than an hour. I’ll call them in a week or so, if I haven’t heard back from them. If they are ready to go, I’ll do a more exact measure (to within 1/8” inch), with the contract.”

“Since my bids average 30% or more less than the big companies, for the same materials, it usually leads to another satisfied customer—as opposed to about 10% closure rate on the high-pressure companies. Customers often compliment me at the end, for not pressuring them, and for keeping it short and sweet.”