I was browsing the industry websites on Monday night – as you do – and saw a couple of adverts which said “extended guarantee”. It made my head scratch a bit.
I think we are all of the opinion that when it comes to guarantees, our industry is lumbered with one of the longest ones when it comes to home improvement products and other products bought for the home or put on the drive. There has also been a lot of open criticism about the length of the guarantees we offer as companies. The reason being that the longer the guarantee the longer the potential financial drain on the company when it comes to maintaining the products.
Now some will argue that if your product is good enough then why not offer a longer guarantee? Well I’ll argue that if your products are good enough to outlast the guarantee, then why nail yourself to the cross and offer an ‘extended guarantee’ or anything over ten years! If the quality of your product is good enough and it is installed correctly then there is no reason why your windows and doors won’t last for 35 years or more. So why offer guarantees over ten years?
Companies are always going to get call backs on their work. When you fit hundred or thousands of jobs a year, there will always be a % of jobs where you have to go back to attend remedial work. This costs money. The wages for the service engineer, the replacement parts if required, fuel and so on. Why burden yourself or the company with going back for say, two decades, to repair a window or door that get hammer every day of the year?
Look at other major goods:
- Electronics – 12 months
- Cars – 3 to 7 years depending on manufacturer
- Sofas – 3 years
- White goods – 12 months to 3 years on average
The consumer base is used to having smaller guarantees on other goods they buy. And they are also used to the window industry giving a ten year guarantee as standard. I know the temptation to offer a longer guarantee as a USP is there, but it only places a further financial obligation on the business in an industry where work is becoming ever more competitive and profit margins are being squeezed.
We’ve only ever offered a 10 year guarantee on our products and we’re having our best year in five years – so regular length guarantees work and we have had no complaints from our customers about the length of the guarantees we offer.
We really do need to be making it easier for ourselves in our industry. A lot of the problems and complaints we cause! We know what is wrong but we keep on making the same mistakes and doing nothing about it!