How not to sell to me

Our back deck needs maintainence.    Nothing surprising, every couple of years we have a company come in and clean and re-oil it.

We’ve been using Fine Line Renovations.  Eight years ago they did a complete sand-down and refinish, and since then the oiling.  It’s time for another complete renovation, and since it’s an expensive process I thought I should get another quote.

Fortunately, we got one of those envelopes with all kinds of coupons in it, and there was a deck company offering a 10% discount (and 5% more if you ordered the same week), so I called them. Springers Deck Restoration came right out this morning to price out the job.

I met the owner, Daryl, and his foreman, Tris.  The boss gave me the sales pitch while the worker worked.  They were going to use all custom blended products, water-based and biodegradable.  They were going to strip the old surface, then clean and sand and re-coat with their super-duper proprietary finishing materials.  Sounded great, but all sales pitches do.

Then I asked about colors, and he pulled out the color chart from Behr Wood Stain.  Maybe he thinks I don’t know you buy that stuff at Home Depot, there isn’t anything custom or proprietary about it. I’m smelling rat already.

But I leave them to finish their work, and go inside and shower for the day.  All clean and tidy, I picked up the estimate to see how much it was going to hurt.

The price came to $2698, minus another $100 if I sealed the deal by 7 pm tonight.  Does that seem like an interesting number to you? They figured out the square footage, the materials needed, the time to get to the job, all their costs and profit margin, then deducted 10%, for one discount and 5% for another discount, and it just magically came to one of those common sales-type numbers, $2 less than a round $2700?

Would it change your mind if you knew that Fine Line quoted $2500 exactly for the same job?  With no purported “discounts”?

These companies know each other, and their market.  I think Springers decided that the job was worth $2600, and then added their “discount” back in to make the numbers look like I was getting a good deal.  In fact, I’d bet my lungs on it.

Add in the story about the “custom” products that you or I can buy at Home Depot, and my choice is clear.  I’m calling Fine Line.

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