The Truth About the $189 Window Company

no_moneyFirst of all, no one really buys a window at $189 each, completely installed and sealed correctly, complete with warranties.

Years ago, these ads were called “Bait and Switch” ads. However, today they are more commonly referred to as “Sell-up,” or “Step-up” ads. There are a few things to keep in mind when encountering these $189 window companies and their tactics:

The $189 price includes the least expensive window the company is able to purchase. In order just to begin at this price, they must also pay their installers the very minimum as possible, as well as use the cheapest installation materials available.

Some of the items not included in the advertised price include:

  • Additional removal fee for steel or improperly installed aluminum windows, sometimes even for wood windows. ($50-$150 per window)
  • Complete and professional capping/trim fee to replace old/deteriorating wood, or other, trim surrounding exterior of windows. ($75-$125 per window)
  • Half window screen fee; more for full window screens.
  • Foam or fiberglass insulation fee for proper installation.
  • Taxes and city permit. City of El Paso requires a building permit to be purchased when replacing residential windows. Some companies add a surcharge to the $72 permit fee the city charges.
  • Disposal and cleanup fee
  • Wrought-iron security bar removal fee, and optional re-installation fee.

Keeping the above in mind, the original price of $189 per window may now have jumped to over $300+ per window after everything is said and done. The price will increase even more if you want a better, more energy-efficient window complete with Low-E glass coatings and Argon gas insulation. This is much different than what was advertised.

There are also certain things to consider when comparing the $189 window to others. Is the window energy-efficient, complete with Low-E glass and argon gas insulation? If it is energy-efficient, how efficient is it compared to other windows? Does the window have two ventilation stops, or perhaps only one, to allow the window to open only slightly just to ventilate? Is the window made from premium, non-recycled (“pure-virgin”) vinyl or low-end, re-ground/recycled material? Does it have a decorative, beveled frame, or is it flat and plain looking? How thick is the space between the two panes of glass? Are there water drainage holes (weeping holes) to prevent water damage? Is the frame and window sashes as thick as their top-of-the-line window? How much weather-stripping is on the window compared to their more expensive windows? Does the price include caulking, inside and outside of the window? Is there an extra charge to clean up and/or haul away debris? Is there an additional charge for a color other than white? Are the windows, glass, and installation all guaranteed? If so, for how long? Are the movable parts inside the window inexpensive, plastic pieces, or are they metal and durable? Now, after tailoring the window to how you would be happy, how much more will the $189 window be, or is the window even available with the above?

The $189 window ad works in one way, and one way only. It gets the window company’s phone to ring and their salesman into your home. Normally, when the phone rings for the $189 window, you, the customer, have already shopped around, and may have already been given more than two estimates. You most likely are intrigued by this $189 window and what it looks like. In other words, you are looking for “The Catch.” Why can’t you get all the “bells and whistles” in the window, as advertised for $189? Keep all of this in mind.

“Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.”

Replacement Contractor Magazine