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How to Recognize a Reputable Vendor When You See One

By Gates Dearen

I was recently asked how can I tell the difference between a reputable company and one that is just out to take me for whatever they can. I contemplated for a while longer and immediately thought, “Experience is important, but then so is reputation.” This was followed by another thought. “All reputable vendors offer more than one solution that fits the customer’s needs.” As I sat there thinking about this more, it also occurred to me that the best companies have all three of these characteristics in common. So I decided to write this article in order to provide more details so that any customer could recognize a reputable vendor when they saw one.


The first item worth mentioning here is experience. But how can you tell if a company has experience? Anyone can say they have been in business x number of years or say they have completed hundreds of jobs. One way to tell if they are an experienced vendor, is
experiences across channels
experiences across channels (Photo credit: bschmove)
by the questions they ask. An experienced windows and door representative will ask lots of questions about your needs, preferences, budget and more. They will also ask questions about the customer’s specific timeline. The representative should ask the prospect if they have any issues that they are trying to solve. They will also be able to relate specific solutions they know will work because they can tell you about other jobs they have completed in the past. They will usually offer to show you before and after pictures of many jobs they have completed. They should also be able to offer a couple of solutions without providing any hard closing techniques. In other words, they won’t say this offer is only good for today, or something along those lines. The last thing that a good windows and door company representative will offer is a list of references that the prospect can check out. This leads me into the second characteristic of a reputable company.


A reputable company will provide lots of references for the work they have completed in the past. Their reputation will precede them. Many customers would have already provided them with testimonials. Our company has a testimonial bulletin board chock full of letters of recommendations, thank you post cards, and heartfelt testimonials all singing our praises.

We cultivated these by having a philosophy that puts the customer first. We never over promise and never under deliver. We have the policy that if anything ever goes wrong on the job that it's our solemn duty to make it right for the customer. We also pay attention to small details. Being courteous, cautious, making sure everything is cleaned up afterwards, thanking the client for choosing us etc… Sometimes it’s the small things that get you the referral or testimonial. Having said that, this leaves me with my last item.


So what does offering a variety of window and door products have to do with being a great vendor? The answer is simple. One solution does not fit all customers. By carrying a wide variety of products a vendor can provide a wide range of solutions. This means that a company with a variety of products can solve many types of customer issues and do it in a way that meets their particular needs. For example; by having several models of quality windows you can meet the customer’s budget, energy, functional and aesthetic needs. If the vendor only has a couple of different styles, they are like a carpenter trying to fix everything with a hammer and a nail when another tool might be more appropriate. Also having a wide variety of windows and doors gives the customer a choice and this often leads to a better solution and a happier customer. Make sure you go by their showroom and check out their facility. Don’t rely on the pictures in a catalogue or the brochure they offer, go to their place of business and check them out.

In this article I have provided three characteristics that all reputable vendors have in common. They all can provide proof of experience, job references and have a variety of solutions for the customer. Taking a chance with new companies, or companies who have few or no references is risky. Also companies that only offer one or two products limit your choices and the chance of getting the best possible solution to your needs.

I hope you have enjoyed this article and that I provided useful information. If you have any thoughts on this subject, please share them with our readers by entering them in the Comments section. If you thought this article was useful, please share this article with your friends. I look forward to hearing your thoughts and I promise I will be back with more useful information to make your buying experience a better one.

Gates Dearen is the co-owner of HomeRite Windows and Door in Jacksonville Florida.  Owners Gates Dearen and Richard Walden have been serving the building products industry in Florida for over 25 years. They know the products, the industry, the market and also what adds great value to a home. Their approach is a little different. They are simply looking to match the home owner with the right windows for their home and budget. Home improvements are enough of a hassle -- they're here to make life easier with first-rate, energy efficient products, affordable prices, installers that know best practices, and who have respect of your home.

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  1. Being a plumbing contractor by trade I know how important it is for consumers to ask the right questions before they make any buying or repair decision.

  2. Sound advice on good criteria for choosing any business.

  3. Having someone you can trust is so important today. Your advice will help me or anyone find the right and honest vendor for the job. Thanks.

  4. To waste energy is to waste money. One of the best investments I ever made was to replace the original windows on my 1950's-era home. They have more than paid for themselves.