Most people like to purchase products from local companies whenever they can. It makes them feel good to keep their money in their own community and support their neighbors who own local establishments.
When it comes to many products, locally produced items can be just as good (if not better) than products manufactured elsewhere. So unless the purchase price is prohibitive, why wouldn’t you purchase local goods?
In one industry in particular, homeowners take a pretty big risk when they buy products from a small, local manufacturer. That industry is the replacement window and door industry. There are many small window manufacturing companies that sell directly to consumers in their area. They often advertise their windows as being made specifically for the climate in which they are produced, and they talk about “cutting out the middleman.” This sounds all well and good, but there are some things you should be aware of before you sign on the dotted line to order windows from a local company that sells their own brand of windows.
Take a Hard Look at the Warranty
Many of the large, reputable replacement window companies offer a lifetime warranty on their products. Some even offer a double lifetime warranty that you can pass on to the next owner of your home. If you discover a manufacturing defect 20 or more years down the road, it should be covered by your warranty. A small, local manufacturer is less likely to provide customers with a lifetime warranty. Wherever you purchase your replacement windows, make sure you ask about (and actually read) the warranty that comes with the windows.
Protect Yourself from a Company that Goes out of Business or Declares Bankruptcy
When you order from a company that builds, sells, and installs their own brand of windows, if that company goes out of business, you are completely out of luck if you have an issue with your windows down the road. Not only will you not be able to get any service, you may not even be able to get replacement parts to have your windows fixed.
A better way to go is to purchase windows from a replacement window dealer that sells windows made by a separate manufacturing company. In this scenario, if anything ever goes wrong with your windows, you can simply call the replacement window dealer that installed the windows and they’ll help you with your claim. If the dealer is out of business, you can still call the manufacturer directly for repairs or at least to receive replacement parts. The only way you would be left completely unprotected is if both the dealer and the manufacturer go out of business, which is highly unlikely, especially if you purchase from reputable, established companies.
Michal Bohm, owner of BM Windows in San Diego, California says, “When you purchase replacement windows from an independent dealer that sells windows made by a separate manufacturer, you have an extra layer of protection. If your dealer goes out of business, you can still contact the manufacturer directly for warranty issues, and vice versa.”
Bohm continued, “Several years ago, there were a couple of local window manufacturers that sold their windows to San Diego homeowners that, unfortunately, went out of business. This left their customers with a window warranty that is worth no more than the piece of paper it is printed on. Those customers now have no other option but to have their faulty windows repaired or replaced at their own expense.”
Replacement windows are a large investment in your home. Make sure that investment is protected by buying products from independent dealers that sell windows made by reputable manufacturers that offer at least a lifetime warranty. You can still support your local economy with your purchase by buying from a local dealer. It’s a much less risky purchase, and you can still get great windows.