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Category: Home Improvement Industry Awards

Avoiding the Pitfalls of Home Improvement Sales

In any industry, you will find companies who thrive and those who struggle. Aside from companies who thrive for a short period of time riding a trend, most businesses that enjoy continued growth and success have two things going for them: quality work and/or products; and a high level of customer service. Nordstrom has long been lauded as a company whose customer service is second to none, and their merchandise of high quality. Not known for big sales or discounts, Nordstrom customers pay a bit more because they know that they are getting quality products from people who will stand behind them, and will make their experience shopping with them pleasant.

The home improvement industry is no different. Contractors who offer high quality products and services coupled with outstanding customer service are well on their way to success. Other factors are certainly at play – marketing and advertising, bookkeeping, scheduling, and fostering a healthy company culture are crucial as well. But first and foremost, from the viewpoint of the customer, great products installed well, and interactions with staff make or break the home improvement experience. As a customer shopping for a reputable contractor, we offer some insight into what you might expect from different companies.

Home Improvements on the Cheap

While it may be tempting to spend less money and hire a friend (or a friend of a friend) who does work on side, buyer beware…bigtime. Many home improvements, and home improvement companies, are regulated by counties and municipalities for a reason. When done improperly by unlicensed contractors, home improvements can severely damage your home, and even be dangerous. Wiring installed by an unlicensed electrical contractor could malfunction and cause a fire. A roof installed by an unlicensed roofer can cause leaks that can go undetected, resulting in mold, drywall damage and even ceiling collapse. Improperly installed plumbing can cause leaks and even flooding. And if these improvements are not installed by licensed professionals, your homeowners insurance may decline coverage.

Before you hire any contractor, it is advised that you check to be sure that they are licensed and insured. Licensed contractors are held to state mandated standards, which often require certifications.

Beware High Pressure Sales Tactics

All too often in the home improvement industry, companies adopt a high pressure approach to sales. These tactics may include:

  • Requiring all homeowners to be present during the sales ‘pitch’
  • Asking for 1 or more hours of your time during the sales process
  • Discounts for signing on the spot
  • No guarantee of pricing today being the same as tomorrow

Companies often adopt these tactics as a way to increase their closing percentage. In other words, their belief is that by approaching sales in this way, they will gain more customers. Some even go as far as to penalize their sales people if they do not close the sale the same day.

Sale Pitch vs. Product and Installation Information

Home Improvement Sales
S&K salesman Tom Ciambruschini provides information on windows to customers in our showroom.

If you’re like most, you don’t  necessarily want to be ‘sold’ on a product. Instead, most homeowners are instead seeking some degree of education on whatever project they are looking to have completed. If they are in the market for new windows, they might want to compare how energy efficient different window products are, and how the style will look in their home. They may be interested in product warranties as well, and whether or not those warranties will transfer to the next owner of their home – a factor that can help in the home selling process.

Depending on the customer, this education process can be achieved in a variety of ways, and at varying levels. Some customers want to educate themselves. They might seek a lot of information from different sources, or they might simply put their trust in a friend, neighbor, or a company they have used before. Or, they might opt to have the contractor(s) that they are considering educate them. This is a personal choice. Before you have a contractor come to your home, it is wise to ask what their sales process entails.

Know the Facts on Pricing

When it comes to product pricing, a factor that high pressure companies will use to try and lock you in on the spot, contractors are typically made aware of pending price increases by suppliers. For example, if a pricing for a particular line of shingles like those from CertainTeed, will be going up, manufacturers and suppliers will notify contractors of the increase ahead of time.

As far as installation pricing goes, contractors who hire sub-contractor crews will also be made aware of any pending hourly, or per-job increases. And of course, contractors who employ their own installation crews have full control over when and how much their install pricing will increase.

Therefore, using the ‘we can’t guarantee these prices tomorrow’ tactic is not necessarily valid.

Our Approach to Home Improvements

S&K Roofing, Siding and Windows has served customers in Maryland and Northern Virginia since 1980. As a family-owned and operated business that has grown from a 2-person company to a $25M leader in exterior home improvements, our approach to sales and service is simple. Our sales people will work with you in the way that is right for you. If you are seeking an education in products and installation, we are more than happy to provide that to you. If you have already done your research, we will respect that as well. We do not require that all homeowners are present during our visit. In fact, if you do not have the time to spend at home meeting with us, we can visit your home to take measurements and call you to discuss your project by phone after that.

From a service standpoint, we pride ourselves in striving to make your experience worry free, guaranteed. From the initial contact to asses your needs, to the estimate, scheduling, installation and follow-up, our staff works hard to satisfy your home improvement needs.

We offer fair pricing, and will lock your estimate price for 10 days.  We will never tell you today that your price might be different tomorrow!

If you are in need of exterior home improvements, we encourage you to shop around to find the contractor that best fits your needs. Compare pricing, reputation and testimonials, and don’t forget to ask about licensing and insurance. We’d welcome the opportunity to be on your list of considered contractors. To schedule a free, no-obligation estimate, call us or click here to complete our online estimate request.

Best of luck with your next home improvement project!

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S&K Roofing, Siding and Windows Earns Esteemed 2017 Angie’s List Super Service Award

Award reflects company’s consistently high level of customer service

Angie's List Super Service Award 2017ELDERSBURG, MD – JANUARY 24, 2018 – S&K Roofing, Siding and Windows is proud to announce that it has earned the home service industry’s coveted Angie’s List Super Service Award (SSA). This award honors service professionals who have maintained exceptional service ratings and reviews on Angie’s List in 2017.

“The service providers that receive our Angie’s List Super Service Award demonstrate the level of excellence that members have come to expect,” said Angie’s List Founder Angie Hicks. “These pros are top-notch and absolutely deserve recognition for the trustworthy and exemplary customer service they exhibited in the past year and overall.”

Angie’s List Super Service Award 2017 winners have met strict eligibility requirements, which include maintaining an “A” rating in overall grade, recent grade and review period grade. The SSA winners must be in good standing with Angie’s List, pass a background check, record a current trade license attestation and abide by Angie’s List operational guidelines.

“Earning the Angie’s List Super Service Award in 2017 marks the 10th consecutive year that S&K Roofing, Siding and Windows has been given this honor,” said owner Don Katzenberger. “We take pride in the work that we have done in Maryland and Northern Virginia since 1980, and we will continue to work hard to install award-winning home improvements.”

Service company ratings are updated continually on Angie’s List as new, verified consumer reviews are submitted. Companies are graded on an A through F scale in multiple fields ranging from price to professionalism to punctuality.

For over two decades Angie’s List has been a trusted name for connecting consumers to top-rated service professionals. Angie’s List provides unique tools and support designed to improve the local service experience for both consumers and service professionals.

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About S&K Roofing, Siding & Windows Inc.

S&K Roofing, Siding and Windows (www.skroofing.com) is a leading provider of roofing and exterior home improvements throughout Maryland and Northern Virginia. Family-owned and operated since 1980, S&K provides high-quality exterior home workmanship and customer service that is among the best in the industry. Maintenance-free home exterior services include roofing, siding, windows, attic insulation, doors, gutters, sunrooms and decks. With showrooms located in Eldersburg, Maryland, and Sterling, Virginia, S&K services thousands of residential and commercial customers each year.  Contact by phone at: 410-795-4400, by e-mail at: webinfo@skroofing.com, or learn more at www.SKRoofing.com MHIC #21080, VA License #2705 105665

About Angie’s List
For over two decades, Angie’s List has provided trusted reviews and information to help millions of consumers make smart hiring decisions. Angie’s List offers more than 10 million verified reviews in over 700 service categories, providing its members a credible resource for researching and comparing local service providers. Angie’s List is based in Indianapolis, Indiana and is an operating business of ANGI Homeservices (NASDAQ:ANGI).

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The Contractor Game – Home Improvement Sales Tactics NOT to Fall For

As with any industry, in home improvement you have your reputable contractors and you have your dishonest ones. Then you have a whole layer of contractors who, while licensed, employ sales tactics that we consider to be borderline. Why? Because many of them are designed to pressure customers into making quick decisions without the benefit of doing research and comparing prices. In this blog post we outline several of these home improvement sales tactics and why you should be wary of them.

Sales Tactic

Requiring that ‘all homeowners’ be present at the time of the estimate.

Why Do They Do It?

Home improvements such as new windows, a new roof or new siding are big ticket items. The decision of what to purchase and how much you are willing to spend is generally a decision that is made jointly between all owners of the property.  Sounds reasonable to request that you all be present during the sales call, right? It is. What is not reasonable is to require it. In other words, to refuse to come to your home unless you’re all there is a red flag. They will tell you that it’s so you all have the information first hand. What they really want is to pressure you into signing on the spot. With all homeowners present, it is easier for the sales person to push for the sale on the spot.

Why We Don’t Do It

We do not require all homeowners be present for several reasons. First of all, we know how busy families are – work schedules and obligations like kids in sports make ‘extra time’ to take care of home improvements together nearly non-existent. Along with respecting your time, we also respect your intelligence. We know that you are capable of working with us, and informing your significant other on what was discussed. Lastly, we will never ask you to sign on the dotted line during the estimate process. In fact, because we need to return to the office, contact our suppliers and work up a well thought out estimate that provides you with the most value, in most cases we won’t provide a final price until a day or two after we meet. Therefore, there is no need to require that you all be present.

Sales Tactic

Asking you to allow 2-4 hours for the estimate.

Why They Do It

In short, to wear you down. The first tactic of requiring that you all be present leads to the opportunity for the sales person to overwhelm you both with information. Seemingly endless product options, features and benefits of the products you’re looking at, and copious amounts of installation information can take a lot of time. Some sales people will have videos, presentations, and samples to show. They will walk you around the home and show you various items and issues. By the time they are finished, you can’t fathom the prospect of doing this over again 2 or 3 more times while shopping. You’re just done and can’t wait to get this over with!

Why We Don’t Do It

Your time is valuable and so is ours. We have all of the information you want, but our job is not to assume you don’t know what you want or that you are a novice in home improvements. In fact, many of our customers, especially in today’s information age, come to us already having done their research on their own time. They’ve talked to friends and neighbors. They’ve done online research. They may have even visited home shows and showrooms and know exactly what they want. So why waste 2 or more hours of your time starting from scratch? On the flip side, if you are just getting started and want to pick our brains – great! We’re happy to do that. We want the process to be as worry free as possible.

Sales Tactic

Giving you a better price today than tomorrow, or not being able to guarantee today’s price beyond today.

Why They Do It

Once again, the name of the game for many contractors is getting a signed estimate on the spot. If the sales person senses that you are on the fence once the 2-4 hours you have spent together is finished, he may strongly encourage you to sign on the premise that prices may go up tomorrow. After all, manufacturers change prices frequently, right? Your sales person may even go as far as to tell you that he does not make a commission unless he gets you to sign. Oh the guilt! While that may or may not be true, his compensation should not be your responsibility.

Why We Don’t Do It

In order to provide you with an estimate that gives you the best product at the best price, we do not work up cost estimates on the spot. We work with various suppliers and will work hard to be sure that we order what you need at the best price. Our estimates are comprehensive and run through several checks and balances before it reaches you. Additionally, compared to high pressure home improvement companies, our profit margins are slim. We simply do not have room to miss a step by working up a quote on the fly.

S&K Roofing, Siding and Windows believe in honesty. We provide honest assessments, and give you honest pricing. An all-around No Worry experience is our goal. The next time you are in the market for an improvement to your home’s exterior, contact us for a free estimate and experience the S&K different. It will be Worry Free. Guaranteed.

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Carroll County Small Business of the Year Award Presented to S&K Roofing, Siding and Windows

2015 Carroll County Small Business of the YearEach year, the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce and the Carroll County Department of Economic Development host the Carroll County Small Business of the Year Awards. The event recognizes the dedication, innovation and entrepreneurial spirit displayed by small businesses in Carroll County, Maryland. Winners for 2015 were recognized at the Carroll County Small Business Awards on October 1, 2015.

S&K Roofing, Siding and Windows won the award in the category of Small Businesses with 11-50 employees. There to accept the award were owner Don Katzenberger and his wife, Susan, CFO Scott Hanel and his wife Stephanie, Sales Director Charlie McCurry and his wife Kris, and Production Manager Ray Smallwood and his girlfriend Linda.

The selection process for the award evaluated the company’s history, performance & growth, creativity & innovation, competitiveness and community involvement.

S&K is extremely pleased to be included among the best business in Carroll County, and we promise to uphold this honor for years to come. Thanks to all who were involved in the selection process!

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The Roof Center Honors S&K Roofing, Siding and Windows with Beacon Lighthouse Award

— Communication, Customer Service and Sales Volume Among Key Criteria for Recipients —

Beacon Lighthouse AwardFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — The Roof Center, Inc. has awarded S&K Roofing, Siding and Windows the Beacon Lighthouse Award for outstanding sales and service in the home improvement industry. The Beacon Lighthouse Award is new this year to The Roof Center. It is a way for The Roof Center to recognize partnerships with contractors who are working with them to achieve success.

According to The Roof Center, Inc., winners are not chosen solely based on the numbers. The branches decide the recipients, which make it very personal. It is the intangibles that make this award special. Each branch looks at the criteria of communication/customer service, sales volume, sales mix and AR compliance to aid in making their decision on Award recipients.

Dan Worley, Regional Vice President at The Roof Center, Inc. states, “S&K meets and exceeds all of our criteria. Our customer service teams communicate very well with each other to get jobs ordered and delivered in safe, efficient and timely manner.   Their sales team effectively communicates their customers’ needs, and their management team sets clear expectations for us. They also exceed expectations on payments to their account and have been doing that for well over 25 years.”

Others who chose S&K also provided information on making their decision.

“The choice of awarding S&K with the lighthouse award was easy. This year Beacon began rewarding top performing service locations based not only on sales, but its leadership and partners’ commitment to integrity, excellence in operations, sound fundamentals and product mix relative to its market. S&K reflects the image of a top performing Beacon location deserving of such recognition. The image of the Lighthouse award to me represents a clear leader in the industry above its competition. Being part of this presentation to Don and his team was an honor.” – Steve Nickey – Branch Manager, Rockville Roof Center

“[S&K is] A professional company that gets professional results and is a pleasure to do business with.” – Dan Slatniske – Branch Manager, Columbia Roof Center

“I have had the pleasure of working with S&K Roofing, Siding and Windows for almost 25 years. Don Katzenberger has really done a great job in growing his business over the years. He has a wonderful group of professional people at every level which make dealing with S&K a truly satisfying experience. They make you feel like you are part of their family. They strive to leave every customer 100% satisfied and truly deserve to be recognized with this award.” Mike Tansey, Regional Account Manager

S&K proudly displays their Beacon Lighthouse Award in their Eldersburg, Maryland home improvement showroom. According to company owner Don Katzenberger, “We were humbled to receive this award from The Roof Center. Several members of their team visited us to present it, and we were overwhelmed by their kind words. The Roof Center has been a long-time partner of ours, and we look forward to many more years of success.”

About The Roof Center

The Roof Center, a distributor of residential roofing, commercial roofing and exterior building materials through 20 locations throughout Maryland, Virginia and Washington DC. For more information, visit www.roofcenter.com.

About S&K Roofing, Siding and Windows

S&K Roofing, Siding and Windows (www.skroofing.com) is a leading provider of roofing and exterior home improvements throughout Maryland and Northern Virginia. Family-owned and operated since 1980, S&K provides high-quality exterior home workmanship and customer service that is among the best in the industry. Maintenance-free home exterior services include roofing, siding, windows, attic insulation, doors, gutters, sunrooms and decks. With a showroom located in Eldersburg, Maryland, and a new location opening soon in Sterling, Virginia, S&K services thousands of residential and commercial customers each year. Contact by phone at: 410-795-4400, by e-mail at: webinfo@skroofing.com, or learn more at www.SKRoofing.com.  MHIC #21080, VA License #2705 105665

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Press Contact:  

Charlie McCurry Director of Sales
S&K Roofing, Siding and Windows
410-795-4400                                                                                     charlie@skroofing.com

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