24 August 2015
Which should you choose? Local or National double glazing?
You may be a home owner who has woken up one day, after a chilly, noisy night’s sleep and thought: I need to replace the windows in this house. You begin to ask yourself, and your friends, all sorts of questions. Should you go for a National double glazing company? Surely that means your order will have more security, won’t it? Or perhaps a local company? Will it be more or less expensive this way?
Local or National Double Glazing
Let’s explore why Local companies often come out on top during this ever-lasting debate.
Local vs National
Glossy brochures, never-ending television adverts, a showroom in every county across the UK… we understand why customers may fall into the trap of automatically assuming that big, national brands are the best choice when replacing your double glazing.
However, we also know large companies come with a backlog of unhappy customers. Being pressured into buying every possible product, and waiting on the line to get through to a call centre are just two things that regularly pop up in reviews. So what’s different and how will you benefit from choosing a smaller, local double glazing company?
How does it work?
Like any company in this sector of work, you have three main stages:
- After-care services
Most national companies employ salesmen and train them using specific techniques, which usually result in the customer buying unnecessary products that they didn’t set out to buy in the first place. Ultimately, if you aren’t aware of this, you can often be made to feel uncomfortable and pressured into signing up right there and then!
The majority of local brands will attempt to avoid this approach altogether. They tend to enforce a “no-pressure” sales approach. This way, it’s the customer’s decision as to whether they want to buy or not. It’s nice for customer’s to feel that they can have a chat, ask questions and know they will get honest answers from this type of sales approach.
There’s a common myth that floats around the double glazing market, that national brands are always cheaper. Of course, it’s a competitive market, and local companies are aware of this fact and price their products in order to compete. The phrase “you get what you pay for” comes to mind… So before you think you’ll be out of pocket in choosing to buy from a local company – always get a FREE quote first before making a decision, it’s worth comparing.
What about the installation teams? WARNING: Don’t assume that by choosing a national company, their installers are part of that organisation! Most large companies subcontract their work out to local fitters in your area. Unfortunately, this means that if anything was to go wrong with the installation, it’s no longer anything to do with the national company and you’ll be left to sort out the mess yourself.
Ideally you want to find a FENSA* registered, local company with in-house, fully qualified fitting teams. This way if any mistakes are made during the installation process, the company are responsible for it, and it’s up to them to resolve it. The whole process is set up to make it as easy as possible for you. You’ll often find that the fitters at the smaller companies have been in the same trade their whole life, and take pride in not only their work, but also the logo they’re wearing.
*What’s FENSA? Scroll down for more information.
Service. Customer service, repair service, after-care service. Whatever you want to call it, it’s a necessary element of any business, especially in double glazing. It’s very common for glazing units to ‘blow’, or perhaps the door slammed shut in the wind and the glass shattered. All companies know this – and that’s why they offer a guarantee. How long that is, depends on the company and their manufacturers, but most local brands, such as Academy Home Improvements, offer a 10 year guarantee.
With the bigger companies, you’ll often find yourself stuck in a call queue – which we’re all used to, it’s the same with all other big brands. However, if you’ve got rain coming in through your window because the seal has come away… I’m guessing you’d want to speak to someone straight away. When you call a local company, they’ll know exactly which job you’re talking about and can make a quick decision on how to resolve any issues, without having to speak to their “line manager”.
WHAT IS FENSA?
FENSA stands for stands for the Fenestration Self-Assessment Scheme. It was initially set up by the Glass and Glazing Federation (GGF) in response to building regulations for double glazing companies in England and Wales. All FENSA registered companies are continually re-assessed by an independent inspection body to ensure consistency of building regulations adherence and service. To put in plain terms, it’s protecting you, the consumer, from the cowboys of the industry.
It is strongly recommended to stay away from ANY double glazing companies, local or national, who are not FENSA registered – this should always be checked when comparing quotes. Without a FENSA certificate, you may encounter a bit of trouble when trying to sell your house…
RECAP: SHOULD I GO LOCAL OR NATIONAL?
It goes without saying that there are good and bad national companies, as well as good and bad local companies. So it is always worth doing your research, and definitely looking for reviews online! Most companies can be found on websites such as the Review Centre and Reevo, where the reviews from previous customers speak for themselves.
At the end of the day, it’s down to personal preference, and whatever you can afford. Just remember, that although sometimes not well-known, you can 99% of the time put your faith into a local company, and in turn, not only support your local community, but also know you’ll end up with a high-quality product and package.