The Sales Pitch...
Red Flags


• It’s going to be a high pres­sure sales pitch. They do not want you to sleep on it because you’ll have time to do research and/or get other esti­mates. Although this goes against all sales man­u­als, who cares. This does not ben­e­fit you, only the sales­per­son and com­pany. If a com­pany is telling, not sell­ing, the cus­tomer can con­vey the info to the spouse ade­quately or request more infor­ma­tion. No mat­ter how they spin it, I would never even see a com­pany that requests this.
Beyond-Basements Does Not Ask that All Par­ties Be Present Dur­ing Sales Call


• They offer 5%, 10%, even 50% for sign­ing up “today.” This is total @%#$!. Noth­ing in terms of pric­ing will change if you wait a week. If you don’t buy what I am say­ing then think about it this way: how would this be any dif­fer­ent than if the sales­per­son just came a week later and you signed on that later date? The date of the signed con­tract would still be the same. Hear a sales pitch on Mon­day and wait until Fri­day to sign or can­cel the Mon­day sales pitch, resched­ule for Fri­day, and sign on Fri­day. They are both the same dates.

• Oh, but they’ll say it will waste the salesperson’s time com­ing out again. If that’s the case why would the sales­per­son have to visit again. All they would be doing is get­ting your sig­na­ture and deposit. Why couldn’t that be done through the mail? Many mort­gages are.
• No, no, no they’ll tell you. He or she has to see you again. Then you know what you say, you tell that sales­per­son you’ll pay them $100 an hour for their time and gas to come back out. What could that amount to…$200, $300 at most. Big deal. After all you are sav­ing 20% on that win­dow install or base­ment remodel. That would have to be thou­sands of dol­lars in savings—even as much as $10,000. I would give an extra $300 to save that $10,000. That’s a great deal.

• I could go on and on with 50 pages of argu­ments strik­ing down these sales 101 gim­micks. The point is they will give you excuse after excuse. How­ever, all sales books and top sales­peo­ple will tell you the real rea­son one needs to get the con­tract signed on that day is because if one leaves with­out the sig­na­ture one prob­a­bly won’t get the sale. Who cares. How does this ben­e­fit you. If you truly needed it or wanted it you will buy it, if not from that com­pany then from another com­pany. But, it will be from the com­pany and for the prod­uct or ser­vice you really want and not pur­chased out of pres­sure or a false per­ceived benefit.
Beyond-Basements” Quote is the Same Today as it Will Be Tomor­row or the Next Month


• This fol­lows above. The “sign­ing up today” ini­tial dis­count is made so you don’t real­ize how much you are being screwed. Say no and out come more dis­counts. A yard sign dis­count. An open house dis­count. A cash dis­count. Blah, blah, blah. Of course, I have sev­eral coun­ter­points to that.

1. If you really think you are sav­ing $15,000 on that $50,000 base­ment ask the com­pany to show you com­pa­ra­ble lin­ear footage and square footage base­ments that have a $50,000 con­tract price, so you indeed know you are actu­ally sav­ing the $15,000. Yeah I know, base­ments are all dif­fer­ent. O.k. Lets go with roof­ing then as that is pretty easy to quan­tify. The point of the argu­ment still stands though. Get a quote for a tear off, 30 squares of 50 year archi­tec­tural shin­gles on a 12 in 12 hip roof (or what­ever your roof is) and then ask to see other sim­i­lar jobs and see if they are indeed that 20% or 46% or what­ever your “dis­count is” more. It’s not going to hap­pen because as some­one who has been in the con­struc­tion indus­try for over 20 years knows, this is all B.S.

2. Ask your­self this ques­tion. If that com­pany can still make money sell­ing you that base­ment remodel for $35,000 because you kept say­ing no after each pre­vi­ous price reduc­tion, why were they try­ing to stick it to you for $50,000 ini­tially? Ille­gal? Of course not. But is this really indica­tive of a BBB A rated com­pany? Is this really reflec­tive of that company’s claim that they give great value?
Beyond-Basements Gives a One Price, Best Price Quote


• It doesn’t mat­ter what it is, they are all fake. Look, a pizza coupon is real. That large Pep­per­oni is $16.50…with the $3 coupon it is $13.50. You can prove that just by look­ing at the price on the menu. But if a com­pany is not mark­ing up the mate­ri­als sig­nif­i­cantly, how can they give free labor, or even 50% off labor? Vinyl sid­ing is an easy exam­ple here, much like the roof exam­ple above. Call a sid­ing com­pany offer­ing free labor. Ask what sid­ing they are installing. Price it out per square (100 s.f.) for your­self and mul­ti­ple by the s.f. of your exist­ing sid­ing. Then add 10% (a stan­dard mate­r­ial markup) and see how close that price is to your quote. I can guar­an­tee it will not be close at all.

• Inter­est­ingly, it now seems that many of these dis­counts are not arbi­trary num­bers like 50% but rather 46% or 22% to sim­u­late “real” sav­ings. Come on. Use your com­mon sense. How can a com­pany pay a crew for an entire day to install win­dows or a roof or cut their labor in half over the time for a base­ment remodel and not inflate the mate­ri­als sig­nif­i­cantly? The oppo­site is also true. How can a com­pany give free floor­ing on a $15,000 base­ment install with­out mark­ing up the labor costs?

• There is another hole to con­sider here. When a com­pany is con­stantly offer­ing their 30% off mate­ri­als or labor, it is not a dis­count. That is their stan­dard price. Like men­tioned pre­vi­ously, ask to see their con­tracts show­ing these non dis­counted prices. My good­ness, Beyond-Basements can adver­tise that we are offer­ing 50% off all base­ment remod­els but still price a 1000 s.f. Base­ment at, say, $30,000. Unless we have con­tracts show­ing around $60,000 for some, that dis­count is not real, only a fab­ri­cated num­ber. And if that $30,000 has been our price for the last two years, that is our price; to adver­tise 50% should make the base­ment pro­posal $15,000.

Beyond-Basements Does Not Engage in Phoney Free Mate­ri­als or Labor



• This is one of my favorites…the aster­isk. To post an expi­ra­tion date on the bot­tom of the ad after the aster­isk for a 20% off restau­rant coupon I under­stand. One needs that copy space to get your atten­tion. Even for a con­trac­tor I under­stand (although I have pretty much stated my posi­tion that these dis­counts are not real…although I sup­pose in a select few cir­cum­stances they can be legit if they are rea­son­able in pric­ing.) Ex. Beyond-Basements might state a free chair rail then have an aster­isk. The aster­isk copy would be too long to put into the copy where the chair rail was men­tioned. In a case like this it is under­stand­able, tak­ing into account, how­ever, the nature of the aster­isk copy. In this spe­cific exam­ple, which is real by the way, our aster­isk would state that the chair rail is lim­ited to the fab­ric wall areas, not in the stair­case or bath­room or bar area where there is dry­wall (I have no idea why any­one would want it there, but any­way…). Now before you say that is fake, fake, fake, let me explain. A chair rail elim­i­nates our need to put seams in the fab­ric. The cost in labor to run a 30 foot long wall in fab­ric (even count­ing the chair rail mate­r­ial and labor) is much less costly and time con­sum­ing than the mate­r­ial needed for all our addi­tional tracks, the addi­tional labor to install these tracks, the addi­tional labor to tuck sec­tions of fab­ric in, and the addi­tional waste for the fab­ric and tracks needed to have these “sec­tions.” If I still didn’t make my point con­sider this, although it is a com­pletely stu­pid clar­i­fi­ca­tion but I am writ­ing this as I am think­ing about it…kind of like talk­ing aloud. Imag­ine mak­ing a bed 13′ by 9′ with one sheet. Now imag­ine 4 beds put together in that space and you need to make all four of them. I think it’s easy to see that the for­mer would be faster, espe­cially when con­sid­er­ing the lat­ter would need spe­cial tracks not just along the perime­ter of the bed like the larger bed but also between all the beds. I said it was a stu­pid example.

• Now I have started to see aster­isks from a base­ment com­pany stat­ing ship­ping and han­dling fees not included. Are you kid­ding? A con­trac­tor request­ing ship­ping and han­dling costs? This fol­lows all com­pa­nies post­ing S&H fees. Just like those infomer­cials say­ing they’ll dou­ble the offer, just pay sep­a­rate S&H. I feel absolutely ridicu­lous explain­ing this and am des­per­ately try­ing to avoid being con­de­scend­ing but if most Amer­i­cans took a few min­utes to really ana­lyze this I believe 90% of these com­pa­nies would be out of busi­ness. See for me, I take this as a reflec­tion of their integrity. And that would be the first cri­te­ria I would look for in a com­pany. In other words, they would be dis­missed instantly. Why not sim­ply state the cost with­out the lower, teaser price and aster­isk and S&H fees? Because it gets your atten­tion. As is the theme through­out this blog, how does that ben­e­fit you. $39.99 is $40.00. Is it ille­gal. No. But from a strictly lit­eral sense it is deceptive.

“$6999 for a fin­ished base­ment plus free floor­ing*” where * = “floor­ing lim­ited to car­pet tiles total­ing not more than 300 s.f. Per­mit fees, ship­ping, and han­dling fees not included. Price includes basic elec­tri­cal. Base­ment lim­ited to 300 s.f. or 60 lin­ear feet of wall space. One hol­low core, flush door. Sof­fit paint­ing additional.”


•  First off the price is $7000. Let’s be serious.
•  Who the heck has a 300 s.f. base­ment? Per­haps a room fin­ished in the base­ment,  but the head­line indi­cates a basement.
• The car­pet is lim­ited to a spe­cific, cheap type and the sof­fit paint­ing (which is  almost always present) isn’t included
•  Wanna bet the elec­tri­cal will have an upcharge?
• Our old friend S&H is there. Why not just say $9000 with­out the S&H?
• Try to con­fig­ure the above. A square always makes the lin­ear footage as small as pos­si­ble in rela­tion to square footage. Accord­ingly, a 15′ x 15′ room would be 60 l.f. but only 225 s.f. 15′ x 20′ is 300 s.f. but 70 l.f.

This has been changed slightly but is based upon a real ad from one of my com­peti­tors. Inter­est­ingly, I received an open house invi­ta­tion and the prop­erty was only 5 min­utes from my ware­house so I stopped by. I will hold off on my opin­ion of its appear­ance but state that the home­owner told me he paid $19,000—$6000 less than the ini­tial $25,000 quote. It was only 385 s.f. and had only two doors with no other extras. How did $7000 become $19,000? Maybe I am delu­sional but I would run from this com­pany. I am amazed that peo­ple who could afford a house are so stu­pid to actu­ally fall for this.

• Here’s another vari­a­tion. The price of $29,999 is crossed out and $24,999 is printed along with “Now only.” Again, the best ver­i­fi­ca­tion for this: ask to see con­tracts show­ing $29,999. In the case of these S&H fees, why not ask why they sim­ply didn’t add them in. For these “basic” instal­la­tion costs, ask how many cus­tomers have actu­ally been able to use these “basic” instal­la­tion costs. Ask how prac­ti­cal their pro­posed scope of work is: ie, that low price for a base­ment remodel with only one door, the bath­room remodel with fix­tures you’ve never heard of, a new roof which doesn’t include new drip edge or ice and water shield, etc. The next time you see this type of copy, spend a few min­utes digest­ing it. Then after politely telling the sales­per­son you will think about it, reflect some more on what he or she said. Only then should you con­sider doing busi­ness with this com­pany if , and only if, you have ade­quate answers to your questions.