Tom Shafer

When a replacement window deal is worth your money

November 18, 2015

Window dealers are always trying to get your name and number so they can call, make an appointment, and sell you windows. The best way for them to get through to you are typically ads and promotions. Some of the most popular offers are for free windows and financing. So how do you know if you're actually getting a good deal? Let's break it down.

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To start, do you really know what a replacement window costs a dealer? A window's cost to a dealer runs from about $150 to as high as $800. Usually they are somewhere in between. $250 works as an average window cost for our example, but do some research into your own area. We'll say each window costs $500 dollars.

With these numbers in mind, let's consider a promotion that says you get one free window for each window purchase. But the fine print on that ad says that a certain model must be purchased, and you must buy a minimum of five windows. Remember, each window has a dealer cost of $250. Let's say the dealer then bills you $4500 for the package. Is this a good deal?

In a word? Yes. Here's how we know: The dealer's total window cost was $2500 ($250 per window times 10 windows), so they've made $2000 total once those costs are removed. But you get a good deal, too. If each window costs $500 dollars, and you pay $4,500 for the entire project, then you've actually knocked that down to $450 dollars for each window, which winds up saving you an entire $500 on the project. It may not work out to be quite the deal you thought, but it's a good deal nonetheless.

Now let's look at another popular ad: no-interest financing. I saw an ad last week saying that if you "bought now," you wouldn't pay interest for five years. But as you probably know from other "interest-free financing" deals you've seen, if miss a payment, then you get interest for the entire amount, and it is usually around 30%. Not great. However, if you need to finance and can make the payments, or even pay the loan early, it is a good deal. Just be sure you'll have enough to pay every month for the duration of the financing period so you don't wind up with interest you can't afford.

One other way you'll want to make sure you're getting a good deal? Make sure you know absolutely everything you're going to be charged for. At least one major window dealer prices everything in an a la carte fashion. That means they can advertise a window at a sub-$200 price then adds items like moving furniture, caulking, taking down window coverings, etc. These are items covered in the cost of installation by most other window dealers. But if you are willing to take care of all the small line items yourself and get a contract written up reflecting that, you can get a great deal.

Most of all, when you're shopping for windows, be aware of what you're buying. Does the fine print force you to buy the lowest quality window the dealer sells? Will the job be completed before you make the final payment? Armed with information and solid numbers, you can make these promotions work for you.

About the Author

Tom Shafer has decades of experience in window sales, marketing and product development. He's worked closely with window design engineers in testing, design, and building code interpretation. Past employers include United Windows and Doors and Norandex, MI Windows. He currently works at a home improvement retailer.

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