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Honesty Sells – Honestly!

I was in the market to buy some insulation for my home, which is approaching it’s 100th birthday. I thought it would be a very nice gift for me and the house.

So I called around and got my obligatory 3 quotes. They were as different as night and day. Not just in terms of pricing, but in terms of presentation and delivery.

Company 1 arrived the same day to give an inspection, he had a couple of fancy gadgets to help measure and give an estimate. What he didn’t have, however, was a flashlight, so he could see into my attic to determine the scope of the project. After he measured my home, and searched through every nook and cranny in my home (Basement, dormer, garage, etc), he flipped through his presentation book faster than a pig in a greased chute. He offered to take my current energy bill and “crunch some numbers” to show how his insulation could cut our heat bill. He also offered a lifetime guarantee and an energy reduction guarantee. Then he insisted on talking with my husband, because apparently he thought I was too ignorant to be of much use. He regurgitated my “insulation education” to my husband – who’s so afraid of power tools that the conversation essentially fell on deaf ears. He also ran down the two other companies I told him were quoting the job.

Company two arrived an hour late, but at least he called to let me know he would be late (apparently he had fallen on a job site). He had a slick video presentation that ran while he went out to measure the house. He brought his own flashlight – and ladder – and was very tolerant of my noisy and nosy kids. He was pleasant and treated me with respect. He also let me in on some unknown history on my house that he deduced by inspecting my attic. His pricing was substantially different than the Company one – higher on the walls, but lower on the attic. He explained how labor intensive it is to drill through brick, and reminded me that they come out a few days after the work is complete to Infra-red the home and ensure that all the insulation was packed properly. He then offered to match the price of any competitor.

Company three never called to confirm, they just showed up – in fact I had almost forgotten they were coming, except that company 1 was on the phone with me when company three knocked at the door (and he didn’t want to let me answer the door!). His estimate was lowest on the attic, and right down the middle on the walls and also explained the sheer labor involved in drilling the brick. He also took the time to explain that there are instances where they can’t insulate a home properly, and that when that happens, they just eat the cost of whatever’s been blown into the home and tell the owner they are not able to properly insulate the home so the service call is free.

Did I mention he was very tolerant of my nosy, noisy and sick kids. He was quick and polite, brought his own flashlight and ladder and asked to see my basement as well as the exterior of the home. He also came with a list of references I could keep to call and confirm. Further, he commented on having bid previously on jobs company two had bid on – sometimes they won, sometimes not. Usually it was a question of price or location, but because they both use the exact same product, the work is comparable.

Company one was a referral by an acquaintance. Company two has a celebrity endorsement (they insulated the famous Henry Ford Mansion in Detroit), and Company 3 was pulled from the local phone book.

If company two had not offered to match prices, I would have gone with Company 3 without flinching – not just because his price was good, but because of his honesty. I’m still VERY tempted to stick with Company three – even though company two specializes in retrofitting older homes like mine. And I kind of dig the idea of seeing my home on infrared. I’m having flashbacks to the six million dollar man and the Greatest American Hero.

It’s a tough call, but in the real world, honesty sells. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

And you thought insulation was boring. HA!