I've had many homeowners ask me the question about why buying a window sold through a dealer is better than buying a window from a manufacturer direct. There are a number of manufacturers who have gone down the path of selling direct to the consumer, although there are less of them than the traditional method of local dealers handling the sale, some are quite large and market their services aggressively. Most of these direct manufacturers have limited offerings of models and options, and sell what they have, which sometimes is not what would be best for the consumer's needs.
When a manufacturer decides to sell directly to homeowners they direct the sales process in total and dictate what the consumer will be offered. When a local dealer, who has access to numerous companies to buy from who offer him numerous options and product choices can design the products offered to the consumer to precisely fit the consumers needs. With more choice the entire process focuses more on the consumer and less on the manufacturer. In addition the local dealer is a small business located in the community who have to maintain their reputation to maintain their business. They have more interest in satisfying the homeowner in every way than the remote manufacturer.
When a manufacturer is selling direct to the homeowner they have a built in structure that gives them an incentive to install whatever is shipped, as it is all their cost. A dealer will only install first quality products as it is their reputation on the line and the extra cost back to the manufacturer is really not their problem. Let's say a window is ordered with a specific glass option that is really almost impossible to see, only the paperwork can verify what was supplied. If that window arrives at the dealer he will re-order the window to the specifications he required, as the error and cost is born by the manufacturer. The same goes for a quality issue, the dealer has no incentive to install a second quality product, the direct seller does. It's possible that a manufacturer direct seller may not re-order the product, as they have the financial incentive to use the product regardless, as it is all their cost. I believe it removes the checks and balance inherent in the remodeling industry.
Having been in this business for over forty years I've seen many direct sellers come and go, but the dealer based business has maintained that entire time. I believe the personal service and interest offered by a local business is far superior to some manufacturer in a remote city who may or may not maintain an office in your city. A local dealers livelihood lives or dies from how he treats the customers in his marketing area. I'm not sure the same is true from the manufacturer direct method.
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