I met with a prospective customer who was looking at choosing a gutter guard for her home. She had an estimate from the local Gutter Helmet dealer. Google Gutter Helmet to see the design which is very much like our Niagara gutter guard looks like. Just Google Niagara gutter guard to see the similarities. Both are a single fin design. Based on how close her trees were and heavily concentrated the debris was I recommended double row louvered system for a total cost of $1,995. I said, 'I would imagine the price Gutter Helmet gave you was about $1,400.'
She complimented me on my guess and told me I was only $100 off-it was $1,500.
I happened to have a sample of the Gutter Helmet product with me and we both agreed that it was big and bulky. I asked her if I could use her kitchen sink for a demonstration.
She approved and I showed her how the water flows over the top of both products and down the fin of the Gutter Helmet product or through the louvers of the double row louvered leaf guard. I then whetted a dollar bill, which is very much like a wet leaf, and showed her how the leaf would follow the contour of the single fin Gutter Helmet product and go into the gutter. I then showed her how the dollar bill or leaf would never get through louvers of double row of louvered leaf guards.
As opposed to most people who witness this demonstration, she was not impressed which confused me.
She asked about warranty, and I informed her it was a life time warranty meaning that if her gutters ever clogged with tree debris that we'd clean them for free for as long as she owned her home. She told me that Gutter Helmet had the same warranty.
I then gave her another option which would save her $250 by installing our single row louvered leaf guard on her front gutters. The front of her home did not have heavy debris conditions and our mid range product would handle the conditions without problems and save her money. On the back of her home I recommended a high capacity version of our double row louvered gutter cover where she had a very long roof with a 6' gutter (normal residential gutters are 5' wide and 5' deep).
I went on to explain that all gutter cover products, (including our residential double row louvered leaf guard and Gutter Helmet) have a normal radius which can not handle water from a long rafter length as her house had in the rear of their home and that we are the only company that has a commercial grade available which she would need.
The option was that I could install another version of the Gutter Helmet which is much smaller on her home for $1,400. We call it the 'Little Giant' because it does every thing the Gutter Helmet product does and is much smaller in size. I told her that I believed Gutter Helmet gets nailed to the roofing and she acknowledged that that was her understanding too. I informed her that our version of the product (Niagara gutter cover) or for that matter any of our products are never nailed to the roofing so her roof warranty would not be voided. I went on to explain that if her roof developed a leak near the gutter that the roofer would not be responsible for the warranty whereas with our gutter guards the warranty is never voided so there's no question as to whose responsibility is to fix the roof-the roofer.
She wanted to see a sample of the Niagara Gutter cover, but unfortunately so few people ever choose that option that I didn't even have a sample with me-my mistake. She was interested in the Niagara gutter guard but I informed her I could never give a life time warranty on a single fin design on the rear of her home as that basic single fin design would most likely fail and let the gutter clog within two years as I showed her with the dollar bill in her kitchen sink.
I shared with her that I once asked a salesman of another single fin design how they could give a life time warranty on their product when they knew that the gutter would clog and that he informed me, 'For twenty dollars a foot, I can afford to send a technician to the customer's house every year if I have to.'
She asked why the double row louvered leaf guard was more expensive than our Niagara gutter cover. I explained that the single fin design product is much easier to manufacture than a vertically front louvered gutter guard. Our Niagara product is simply a piece of metal bent to a contour where as louvered leaf guards are not only bent to a contour but also made from a sophisticated expensive press that creates the louvers. The extra step in manufacture makes the product not only a it more expensive but also far more effective in keeping out leaves and blossoms than the simple fin design.
She then asked about what would happen if she needed a new roof. I told her that I though her roof would last another fifteen or more years and that when she changed her roof, she would call us and we'd remove her gutter guards and reinstall them when the roof was finished.
I shared with her some of the nightmares that I've seen by letting roofers remove the gutter protectors and reinstall them. Roofers often crush them or nail them into the roofing. One actually installed them incorrectly and didn't have enough of the leaf guards to finish the job so he took a piece of aluminum, bent it the same contour and drew louvers on the face of the bent metal with a magic marker to look like louvers.
She wanted to know if there was a charge for removing the gutter guards to change the roof and I informed her that there would be a small charge. She informed me that Gutter Helmet vendor would do it for free.
I asked her which option she wanted and she said she'd be choosing the Gutter Helmet product instead of any of my gutter guards. I asked her why and she shared that it was only $1,500 and that they will change the gutter guards for free when the roof is installed. I asked her what she would be willing to pay and she answered, 'no more than $1,500.
I replied, 'We're looking at the difference between the design of our Niagara product and a double row leaf guard system is like comparing a Cadillac to a bicycle. I reiterated that she had a life time warranty with both their product and ours but most likely she will be needing to call them for servicing plus our leaf guards don't get nailed into her roofing. I asked her agin what would be a reasonable number?'
She was stuck on the $1,500 figure. I hated to see her make that choice and offered her that if we could make a deal today I'd meet the price. She informed me that she'd have to discuss this with her husband and I set up a tentative appointment with both of them two days later.
Back at the shop we had a rotten week with equipment failures and I didn't have a great feeling about her thinking-not that the two have anything to do with each other. It didn't seem that logic was prevailing in my life.
I left a sample of our double row louvered gutter guard with her and called her a day later to confirm our appointment with her and her husband at which time she informed that her husband wouldn't be available plus he didn't like the appearance of the double row louvered gutter guard and that they are choosing to go with Gutter Helmet.
In summary, logic doesn't always prevail. Some people like the appearance of a single fin to the double row louvered leaf guard design despite voiding roofing warranties and the hassles of servicing. And even though most people prefer the appearance of a double row louvered system to the appearance of a single fin design, not everyone is our customer for one reason or another--who knows, maybe I reminded her of an uncle she disliked and it had nothing to do with the products.