As a coating manufacturer, we are responsible not just for the supply of quality coating, primer and sealant products, but we also are involved in support on a wide variety of technical issues, including product application and project specific specifications. On the back end of many projects we issue a manufacturer’s warranty, which may cover both product and workmanship involved in the application.  This is common practice in the construction industry, and helps insure that the end user is getting a quality system that is specific for their building.

As part of the decision-making process the building owner or professional facility manager will evaluate all bids using criteria that covers the cost, the products, the experience of the contractor and the warranty being offered. Once all the data is examined, the decision may come down to a few areas where one contractor has differentiated his or her company from the competition and because of that, the final decision is usually made with more emotion than many of us realize.

Picture1 Warranties, Service and Roof Coatings

So, what drives that decision?

Is it pricing alone? A consideration for sure, but probably (we hope) not the only factor.

Is it length of warranty term? Perhaps, but we advise to be careful on a company that leads their sales pitch with warranty.

The overall impression the contractor has made during the sales process? Absolutely, 90% of purchasing decisions are subconscious and emotionally driven.

Because of this last fact, we encourage our sales people (and approved applicators) to focus on value by emphasizing a professional presentation and building the relationship with the customer.  Focusing too heavily on price and warranty for any sales people is the easy way out, and unfortunately, still may not win in the long run.

Not to mention, do we want the prospect that is looking for the cheapest price they can get? Is that prospect one that will show much loyalty over time?

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines VALUE as the amount of money that something is worth; the price or cost of something. While there is no arguing the definition of something, I would argue that value is more than the worth of an item or service provided, value is intangible and has to be experienced. Value can’t be equated to a price tag or a dollar amount because we all hold different value levels to items we hold in higher esteem. As Warren Buffett says, “Price is what you pay, value is what you get.” Or for my math friends:

Value = perceived benefits received/perceived price paid

But what about that warranty?  “The other company is offering a 20 year, or longer.”

Are they though?  Did you read the document to see what you are actually getting?

An unsettling trend I have seen over the last several years, as I have watched our industry grow and more people become invested in the roof coating market, is warranty terms are stretching out further and further as companies try to garner more business.  When I am told that a prospect of ours is asking for a 20, 50 year or a lifetime warranty, I am sure to ask for that warranty document so we can review it with them.

As an aside, do you know that a “lifetime warranty” usually is not transferable once the home or building is sold?

Unfortunately, too many times the warranty is being used as a leading sales tool and the focus is on the title or term alone. The language in that document, what the end user is actually getting in coverage, is an afterthought. I strongly suggest to all parties in the value chain, read the document, ask questions and understand what you are really getting. This will help to avoid the otherwise inevitable and uncomfortable conversation later that may start with, “I’m sorry but that not’s covered in our warranty…”