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 Post subject: What should an installation estimate detail?
PostPosted: Sat Mar 25, 2006 10:51 pm 

Joined: Sat Mar 18, 2006 7:37 pm
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When I get an estimate for my window job, what information should I expect to get on that estimate?

Specifically, will an estimate list the cost of the basic window, the cost of specific upgrades to the window (if any), the cost to install the window, and the cost of any repairs needed or additional construction/installation needs?

Or... Do I just get a dollar number?

If I just get a dollar number without a breakdown can I assume that I am dealing with a potential rip-off? Or is this the standard practice in the industry?

I've seen many posters here list the dollar amount of the quote for their job, but never have I seen a quote broken down.

When I had my roof done I was quoted price per square for the materials (as well as a cost for other materials used) and a labor cost. It seems to me I should expect the same for a window job?

Anyone out there know how the estimates come in?

Thanks,

Rick


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Mar 25, 2006 11:22 pm 

Joined: Fri Jan 20, 2006 3:57 pm
Posts: 80
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Our estimates are usually presented as simply as possible, as a total amount. The contract specifies the brand and type of window, the options, the number of windows and the sizes. Notes are also made regarding any special instructions that are out of the ordinary. Such as, "take down and replace curtains for Mrs. Elderly." or "save storm windows and place in shed."

The price of our windows includes installation, and is figured along with overhead and expenses into the profit margin as a percentage. The only additional charges we include on our estimate are extras, such as if the customer would like new trim... we calculate the amount of trim and charge by the foot. If the exterior window trim will be clad with aluminum trim coil, we add a per window charge that is listed seperately. If we find rotton sills that need to be replaced, each sill will be charged at $X each, with the understanding that if we encounter some sort of hidden damage, they will be billed extra if they want it repaired.

I think what you've run into on your estimate is a very common standard practice.


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 Post subject: re: quotes
PostPosted: Sun Mar 26, 2006 1:18 am 

Joined: Sun Mar 26, 2006 12:41 am
Posts: 11
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The kind of quote that xsleeper described is pretty common. As long as the
proposals you receive are detailed as to make and model of the unit,
standard features and the options you're paying for, and a detailed description of the installation you should be ok. After all, when you buy a new
car GM doesn't list the prices of the parts, and a list of assembly costs.
It's simply a matter of receiving a detailed description of material, labor procedures, costs, and clearly outlining any "hidden costs" due those rare
situations an installer may run into.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Mar 26, 2006 2:07 am 

Joined: Thu Feb 16, 2006 1:52 pm
Posts: 29
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when i shopped, i found the big companies like champion, sears, although they used a very large form, it didnt say anything other than a total price and then a couple of revised total costs. a local window business, small, been in my town forever, listed every detail and option for the windows and then had a separate cost for the install ($100 a hole). very clear. window world and a couple others i visited use a form that has the installed basic window price, then every option cost and any extra labor cost. these prices even include the local tax. i thought very useful because you can go home and estimate all sorts of different window costs as well as the add ons.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Mar 26, 2006 2:46 am 

Joined: Sun Mar 26, 2006 12:41 am
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Wow, all the pricing, with all the options of each unit, AND all possible pricing for the labor on ONE form. It must be a mile long! At "$100.00 a hole, does that mean any size/type window, installed in any opening? With this form you get from a store you get pricing, without actually seeing your home, to see if they'll have to:
Do a "reverse" install, install new blind stop, fill weight cavities, have access to the weight cavities, pull a mull, add interior trim to cover a removed mull notched into a stool, repair a rotted sill, remove storm windows and hardware, remove an awning, have squared and plumb openings, have to remove old aluminum trim, have to re-trim the exterior trim, have to notch the sides of the casings to meet up with old aluminum siding that was simply run into the casing and caulked with "no "L" channel or "J" channel, match an aluminum soffit/fascia or siding color,(let's see them match Alsco Tedlar Surf Green installed in 1979), have access to all openings, have to remove an AC unit, check to see if the old AC unit will clear, see if you have interior shades/blinds that must be removed and will the mounting brackets that will clear the upper sash lift rail...etc.
LOL...that either must be the longest price list in the world, AND if they can
estimate a job without seeing it...let me know and I'll call them to check into their crystal ball and pick me some Powerball Lottery numbers.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Mar 26, 2006 7:46 am 

Joined: Sat Mar 18, 2006 7:37 pm
Posts: 15
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Thanks for the quick replies. Very enlightening.

Rick


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Mar 26, 2006 5:25 pm 

Joined: Thu Feb 16, 2006 1:52 pm
Posts: 29
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the form is legal size. and at least half the things you brought up (take off storms, pull out steel/ alum, etc ) is listed on the form with a price. it also shows combination of most add ons at a reduced price.

the guy that wanted a $100 a hole, gave me the estimate based on my window deminsions for 13 double hung. maybe it would have been different with different windows.

i first came across the form type business about 2mos into looking at windows. i would recommend anyone initiating their search to start there. thats what most of us want in the beginning: some ballpark. why cant we see this clearly. even if it is negotiable. and we do know the option costs on vehicles way before we are making decisions. how long am i going to stand there with a guy trying to sell me a 70k lexus? why waste his time? im not some kid thats gonna buy something i shoulnt spend the money on. a lexus is fine. but a toyota is a far better value.


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 Post subject: reply
PostPosted: Sun Mar 26, 2006 5:46 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2005 3:43 pm
Posts: 353
Location: Illinois
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To each cunsumer and each contractor... set your own bar. My services and my references speak for themselves. I provide more value to each homeowner than they individually provide for my company. It's simple economics and I sleep very well. Individuals like "Homeowner" will always struggle with the contractors they select as they appear to have a pre-determined position of superiority and only continue to talk with contractors that comply. This is a huge problem in our industry.

I spend many, many hours with organizations that highly influence the industry and there needs to be a balance of respect. When that is reached.. everyone will win. Until it is.. let the games continue. I still meet with consumers personally on a regular basis and know I am properly prepared to offer them solutions.. if I am treated with disrespect.. even for a second... I walk away knowing that they lost. I will cancel appointments on the phone if it's for "the free estimate type" that does not respect my services.

Homeowners... choose your contractors carefully and respect their time and expertise.

Contractors... do the same for your homeowners.. respect their time by being a true professional... and true professionals deserve respect! Increase your knowledge... No One ever asks a lawyer or a doctor for a discount!!!! Raise your own bar... and earn the respect you could deserve!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Mar 26, 2006 6:50 pm 

Joined: Thu Feb 16, 2006 1:52 pm
Posts: 29
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i simply responded to the prompt and gave my experiences. the window contractors varied. my point was i appreciate those who were specific. and i think anyone new to replacement windows would be wise to find a dealer that uses the form order simply to educate themselves about reasonableness.

my first contact with replacement windows was this past fall at the home show where all the dealers were assembled. cost $7 to get in. first estimate (based only on # of windows) was $3100. second: $10,200. both of those might be reasonable. but how would i know? i came to the internet to educate myself about window costs. i learned more in the first few minutes of looking at one of those order forms than weeks of searching these boards. i think this might be a good first stop is all.


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 Post subject: meet in the middle groud
PostPosted: Sun Mar 26, 2006 9:32 pm 

Joined: Sun Mar 26, 2006 12:41 am
Posts: 11
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Let's combine the comments from Fenex & homeowner and see what we get.
First, as to homeowners remark about having his time wasted by trying to being sold a Lexus, when he really wants a Toyota. I can understand
that some contractors will automatically push a homeowner to his most expensive line. Dazzle him with facts, figures, demonstrations, when all
the homeowner wants is a mid-range, or even low-range product.
I'm sure it might be a waste of time, but then again, I've seen a situation
happen to another contractor in our area where he was being sued simply because he DIDN'T think the homeowner needed the high performance glass package. (The house has a SEVERE condensation problem) When the homeowner had condensation problems with the new units, he went after the contractor for not recommending more than Low-E/argon. That's why I make it a point to ALWAYS explain, offer and price these options even if I know the buyer wants a less expensive window solution. Then the buyer can never say, "I wasn't even given that option". As to Fenex's remark about respect, I can agree that it's more than a little frustrating to have to deal with
some potential buyers lack of respect for a professional simply trying to educate them about a product they have little knowledge. When you meet a potential customer and their ONLY question is price, you might as well pack up your samples and leave. But you'll hear from them as I have
six months later when they have the gall to ask YOUR help
solving the very problem you tried find a solution for, but they went with the cheap guy and his cheap product., and won't return the customers calls.YES, THIS ACTUALLY HAS HAPPENED TO ME MORE THAN A FEW TIMES.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 27, 2006 1:29 am 

Joined: Thu Feb 16, 2006 1:52 pm
Posts: 29
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why do i keep having to be seen as cheap and ignorant? why will i be sorry later for making a fair deal today? because i brought up specific costs im cheap and trying to somehow take advantage of window people? did you notice the subject of this thread? shouldnt the window cost be in an estimate? How are those window dealers who tell you this up front somehow sleasy? this business has been compared to car sales. for good reason. there is often a large and unexplainable difference in cost from one company to another and they may very well be selling you the same window. all most want is a fair deal. the next thing is to be able to price windows over the phone like anything else. at least the window cost. the install might be a booger. i think some in the industry dont like the consumer knowing both the window costs and the labor cost. my dentist is outrageous, but he will tell me his prices. i may think ford charges too much or not. but its right there on their estimate. parts and labor for everyone to see.

btw, i was talking about wasting their time not mine. read the thread. and of course i want to know options. i want to know if this is one of those reasonably or unreasonably priced energy star windows.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 27, 2006 7:25 am 

Joined: Sun Mar 26, 2006 12:41 am
Posts: 11
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Sorry homeowner if you thought I was speaking specifically to your situation.
I guess I got off the subject a bit. I was hearing both sides talk about a respect situation. In our companies case, we are often complimented about our very detailed estimate, but that comes AFTER I've actually inspected a home. If someone comes into our shop, or wants to talk window prices, or asks at a home show, I have to speak in "rough prices" terms. If I gave out a price list without seeing the project, I'm doing so using a customers discription of the project. Often they don't mention more than just sizes. If I
gave a written list, then found problems after inspecting the home, I'd need to raise the price. A contractor never wants to raise a price after they've
given any type of "exact price" because, whether the buyer admits it or not, they feel like they've been put "on the elevator" with the company that quotes one thing to get into the house, then says another when the final cost is figured. As to my point about pricing when buying a car, yes there's a window sticker listing features and options and a "sticker price". But it
doesn't break down materials and labor on that sticker...it's the companies sticker price only for comparison and no sane person actually pays sticker price. If you're talking about a service estimate, yes some places do break down materials and labor. But those labor prices are based on an "industry standard" amount of time to repair the vehicle
that DO NOT actually reflect the time it took to do that repair. ( I've been charged 2.5 hours labor as I watched the mechanic actually perform 14 minutes worth of work. In that case I felt, as the customer, ripped off!)
Also, remember that when speaking about servicing a vehicle, a mechanic
can't really find a problem with your car without seeing it, and those simple item services, oil changes, tire rotation, etc. are based on EVERY
Ford, GM, etc. being built EXACTLY the same. Hardly the situation on at least our area and 150 years of house building that we work on.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 27, 2006 3:41 pm 

Joined: Thu Mar 16, 2006 8:34 pm
Posts: 2
Location: Detroit, MI
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Hi,

I’m currently shopping for windows. Personally, since I’m not installing them myself, I don’t care how the cost is split between parts and labor. I did like the quotes that listed the cost for each window, because at the time, I was unsure whether I’d do the whole house or not.

But it appears that the labor portion of the cost is not eligible for the Energy Tax Credit
http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060327/BUSINESS06/603270381/1122

http://www.energytaxincentives.org/IRS_Guidance_Notice_existing_res06_26.pdf (bottom of page 8 thru top of page 9).

People who are spending thousands and thousands of dollars (I’m not) won’t have anything to worry about ,but I’m curious as to whether there’s been any guidance to the dealers from ???? on specifying the costs individually?

Thanks,
Brian


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 27, 2006 6:05 pm 

Joined: Sat Mar 18, 2006 7:37 pm
Posts: 15
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Nice question about the energy credit Brian. If you don't get an answer in this topic you should start a separate one. The energy credits available this year and next are a big incentive.

Rick


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 27, 2006 8:57 pm 

Joined: Sun Mar 26, 2006 12:41 am
Posts: 11
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Brian, most companies should be more than happy to list the price of each window you may be installing. In fact, due to the cost of most window projects, we find that about 70% of our customers elect to have all the windows done, where 30% decide to do it in stages. It's a very common
situation to replace the worst rooms first, then over the next few years,
complete the project. The info on the tax credit is a great point.


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