1. Remember nothing is “free”
Nothing is free, so whatever the inducement be it “free” installation, no VAT (which of course legally has to be paid by the company you buy from if they are VAT registered), even scrappage schemes, they all might sound good but they all have to be paid for, so will therefore be built into the price of the windows or the “extras”. Ensure you compare a like for like final fitted price.
Whether it is on price, or on specification, negotiate to get the best product within your budget, it is always worth trying to explore the options to ensure you are comfortable with the investment decision you come to.
3. Trade windows and doors
If you don’t mind taking a risk, there is a real saving from buying from trade counters and getting a builder to install your windows. However, if anything does go wrong, it is likely to be the fitting, so if you prefer peace of mind then “supply only” is not the way to go, as you should get a far better and longer guarantee on both the product and installation, if you have your windows supplied and fitted by a manufacturer.
4. Be wise about energy savings
You don’t have to get the most expensive windows to get a decent return on your investment, energy savings wise, which is why I personally always recommend buying band “C” energy rated windows. According to Pilkington Glass the money you will save on energy, by buying “A” rated windows rather than “C” rated, is around Ã‚Â£600 over 20 years, depending on the size and type of property you have. It is likely your initial outlay to buy “A” rather than “C” rated windows will be greater than Ã‚Â£600 anyway, so unless you are happy paying the extra to reduce carbon emmissons (as whilst “C” and “B” are highly thermally efficient, “A” rated windows is obviously the best in that regard), then “C” is currently your better financial option.
If you are prepared to do your own groundworks, or know a good trustworthy local builder it may be cheaper to either, do the base yourself, or get a builder who will offer you a guarantee to do the foundations, concrete floor and any dwarf brick walls. If you do go down this route, ensure the base and walls are built exactly to the conservatory manufacturer’s drawings and specifications, as it will end up costing you a packet if they are not, so again weigh up if you are prepared to take the risk or pay a premium to deal with one well established double glazing supplier and installer who offer you the peace of mind you will get by ensuring you get a high quality long lasting product and a decent guarantee that actually means something.
6. Be very wary of cheap windows
Avoid cheap windows, look at the window company, ask yourself how long have they been around and if you are 100% certain they will be around to correct any manufacturing defects or problems with the fitting. It is always a false economy to buy cheap, instead go for a high quality product at the best price you can.
7. Get it right first time
Changing your windows is costly, potentially slightly disruptive and can be time consuming if anything goes wrong, so make sure you get the design and style right first time to avoid changing it in a few years or having problems selling your home if you opt for a frame colour or look that does not suit the house/road. If you are staying in the property for some time it make be worth investing in energy efficient windows or acoustic glass if you live next to a noisy road, railway, school or airport.
8. Bargain, bargain, bargain
This may seem obvious, but I am afraid if you don’t ask (i.e. the right questions, in the right way) you often will not save as much as you could.
9. Buy at the best time of year
If you can wait for new windows, doors, or even a conservatory, the best time to buy is usually around the beginning of December, as this is the quietest time for most UK double glazing companies.
10. Be wary of representatives who put you under pressure
Most national double glazing companies build in massive discounts (and margins!) into their prices to help them afford to advertise and market nationally, whilst paying huge commissions to their commission only sales forces. It is likely the representative you first see will be under pressure to get you to sign before leaving your home. If you do manage to avoid signing on the dotted line expect a call from the sales manager, who normally is also on commission, who may well offer you part of the reps commission to “encourage” you to order.
It is better for you to look for an established local firm with a good name who a) do not use sub-contractors, b) do not build in discounts, and c) whose first price will often be a genuine quote, with anything you can negotiate off, coming out of their smaller margins. Remember, whilst there is always a deal to be done, it does not always have to be on price, it can be on specification.
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