The Sales Pitch...
1. HUSBAND AND WIFE MUST BOTH BE PRESENT AT SALES CALL
• 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
2. DISCOUNTS FOR SIGNING UP TODAY
• 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
3. PRICE REDUCTION AFTER PRICE REDUCTION
• 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
4. FREE LABOR OR 50% OFF MATERIALS
• 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
5. THOSE LITTLE PESKY ASTERISKS AND OTHER MISCELLANEOUS HIDDEN CHARGES
• 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.
WOW. TAKE A LOOK AT THIS!
“$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.”
I WOULD CONSIDER THIS DECEPTIVE FROM AN ETHICAL POINT OF VIEW!
• 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.
BEYOND-BASEMENTS HAS NO HIIDDEN CHARGES AND HARDLY ANY ASTERISKS