Efficient Windows

Efficient Windows

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Fenestrated Integrity

Fenestrated Integrity

An Essay on Integrity, Holiness, and Justice

This is a summary of a paper I wrote for Indiana Wesleyan University.

Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the LORD of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows. Malachi 3:10

American Renovations Ltd.  is a small company offering personal service, great products, and big savings.

We believe in doing business differently; Straight talk, upfront pricing, no gimmicks.

Our Vision is to help forward America's energy independence through leadership, education, and guidance in fenestration, improved building performance and alternative energy sources.

Our Mission: To serve, by offering an easy shopping experience with straight talk, no gimmicks, and upfront pricing, to never compromise on product quality, installation, or service, and to treat everyone the way we want to be treated.

Our Passion is windows, doors, family, and happy satisfied customers.

Our Pledge: Deeds Not Words
The Hartwell United Methodist Church where we attended for years had a Good Shepherd stained glass window like this. I need to stop, reflect, and examine if I am being a good shepherd to my family, friends, and mission.


Integrity was impressed in me as doing the right thing when no one is looking. Merriam Webster describes it as firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values: Incorruptibility

Proverbs 11:1 “God hates cheating in the marketplace; He loves it when business is aboveboard.”

2 Corinthians 8:21 “We're being as careful in our reputation with the public as in our reputation with God.”

We put these principles out for the world to see. We see them every day. We come from an industry where to talk is to lie. Everyday you will see advertisements for buy one get one free, thirty, forty, fifty percent off, and free energy upgrades. At a company I was an officer for, every quarter we had a sales meeting to decide what our offer was going to be. The BBB does not like to see fake sales. I never sold anything at the regular price always giving my customers a discount of some kind. The reality is consumers are acclimated to a call of action, the strongest being a discount. In the home improvement game, you usually have to sit through a long sales demonstration before you can get to a price. If you are a better negotiator, you will pay less than you neighbor with the same house from the same company, the same salesperson. I believe it is glorified, acceptable, yet legal dishonesty.
I want to do business differently.


If I was asked to describe Holiness I would say it meant to try to immolate the character and aspects of God; easier said than done.

Luke 6:45 “It's who you are, not what you say and do, that counts. Your true being brims over into true words and deeds.”

1 John 3:3 3 “All of us who look forward to his Coming stay ready, with the glistening purity of Jesus' life as a model for our own.”

My wife says no, but I want to have ‘deeds not words’ tattooed on my arm so I am always reminded that my words have power. They have the power to encourage or destroy, to lie, or tell the truth, to bless or to insult. It requires a conscious effort and emotional maturity to stand behind my word. I must have people, time management, and systems in place to remind me and to assist me in fulfilling my duties. I must put first things first and not allow myself to become distracted.


I always thought that justice meant you are going to get yours in the end.

1Corinthians 6:12 (The Message Bible)  Just because something is technically legal doesn't mean that it’s spiritually appropriate. If I went around doing whatever I thought I could get by with, I’d be a slave to my whims. 

Isaiah 56:1 1 "Guard my common good: Do what's right and do it in the right way, for salvation is just around the corner, my setting-things-right is about to go into action.”

These verses reflect a different view of justice for me; to treat everyone fairly, to respect everyone, and by doing my best, and giving the customer more than they paid for, I am glorifying God. I knew a vinyl siding crew where one of the men would urinate, before the insulation board went up, on any house that belonged to an African American family. That was one time and I believe it was legitimate, I exploded in anger. When it comes to justice I do not care who the person is, their green is as green as anyone else’s. Generally, drug dealers and other criminal elements do not buy home improvements anyway. I try to show justice by helping customers taken by non-reputable contractors and have appeared in court as a witness for. Justice also tells me to give back, to support charitable causes and to give my skills and talents to volunteer for God’s work and Great Commission.

I have been called a give away artist, weaker than water, and worse of all, AN ORDER TAKER!; because I find the ten step, one call close, buy tonight or lose this deal forever, I am not coming back, selling system distasteful and dishonest. These skilled closers, dedicated to accumulating money, did not know that the rules were going to change. My father would never be able to sell a young, professional, single woman; he would never understand that in today’s market women make 70% of all home improvement buying decisions. The internet has evened the playing field, justice at work.
The Window TrustGard; Keep Comfortable - Save Money

Jerry Hartman is an expert in fenestration, a 25 cent word for windows and doors, but novice at life. He is the owner of American Renovations Ltd. a remodeler specializing in commercial and residential windows, doors, insulated siding, metal roofing, and walk in tubs in Cincinnati Ohio. He may give you a better discount if you share your LEGO brand building block
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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A Story About Discount

Chapter Two

Any company that uses a cute dog or kids would never try to gimmick prices, right?

I shared about my oversized postcard announcing that I am eligible to save $200 off windows or $400 off doors for my home. I also will not have an interest for a year but I read I cannot use both offers at the same time though I know that for this offer it is a gimmick.

The president of J.C.Penny, Michael Frances said they were going to stop marking up prices in order to have fake sales. A quote from Time Magazine Business section online said ‘In early 2012, JC Penney promised the end of “fake prices”—ones that were inflated just so that shoppers could be tricked into thinking the inevitable discounts represented amazing deals. Well, it’s already time to welcome back discounts and inflated prices alike.’ (2013) 

According to the Wall Street Journal, Penney’s  ousted president Michael Francis after just eight months on the job, saying his marketing strategy had failed to explain the pricing strategy to consumers; this in reaction to a 10% drop in store traffic in the first quarter and worse after that.
We can give you  affordable and effective windows. You need to supply the view. 
The New York Times from April 4, 2013, explains “But most shoppers, coupon collectors or not, want the thrill of getting a great deal, even if it’s an illusion. In recent months, Penney recognized that human trait and backtracked on its pricing policy, offering coupons and running weekly sales again. And it started marking up items to immediately mark them down for the appearance of a discount.

The problem, economists and marketing experts say  is that consumers are conditioned to wait for deals and sales, partly because they do not have a good sense of how much an item should be worth to them and need cues to figure that out.”

You see ladies, gentlemen and intelligent dolphins; in marketing this is called anchoring. Consumers infer that they get a great deal based on the reference point provided by the higher, presale price. Social scientists refer to this idea as anchoring, and it applies to all sorts of consumer behavior and expectations. Without that anchor, consumers have trouble determining whether the store is actually giving them a good price. Even the words a retailer uses in its marketing can affect how a customer judges a deal — “sale” or “special” leads people to think the item has a high value, but a straight markdown leads them to think it’s a cheaper item. This is according to a study in the Journal of Retailing. (2005)
Big Sale-Limited Time-Don't Wait

How do I know the information in this coupon is a gimmick using the principle of anchoring? For years every two to three months we dedicated a sales meeting to what offer shall we advertise. If a company constantly advertises the same sale, without changing the offer, the Better Business Bureau and some state attorney generals question is the sale price the regular price. Is the sale legitimate?

Let us hear what industry expert Dave Yoho, a sales trainer with over forty years in the business, has to say about the Washington State attorney general going after contractors and how the industry is being affected
“He doesn't understand marketing or the emotional connotation of the buy/sell relationship. He understands law not psychology. He says: I want to take the emotionalism out of selling these products. Well, there is no such thing as a cold, rational buyer purchasing this type of product purely on merit. Some people want a Cadillac, some want a Lincoln. Color, style, accessories ... it's about how that product makes the [consumer] feel.
“A vinyl window in this industry, totaling 90 united inches, could range in price, at retail, from $350 to $950 or more. What does that imply? That there are different products offered at different prices. What the attorney general wants to know is how you establish your retail price and how many jobs do you sell at this price. That's where he's utilizing prior Federal Trade Commission guidelines.
Yoho went on to sayTwo of the companies tell me that their lawyers told them drops like that aren't illegal because they do it in the automotive business. Well, it's not illegal, but it doesn't defend well in court. The price of jobs can vary for many reasons, but if you don't have a base price and sell jobs at that price occasionally, you're going to run into trouble in front of a jury.”
The company that sent me the coupon always has some type of special or sale but changes it every month or so. The bottom line is the phone will not ring if you do not perceive a savings. I will not share any specific numbers because it is unethical to but I can attest from memory that the sales price, the discount from list, closing rates, and salesmen commissions were pretty constant month to month no matter what the offer. The company is a good reputable company with caring people and great products but fake sales and discounts are the standard operating conditions of the industry and the consumer’s mindset.
We offer you straightforward advice and no gimmick pricing. E-mail us for an upfront estimate. The best bargain is no bargain unless the product, service, and customer experience is worthy.  
If everybody believes a lie, does it make it true?

 Clifford S., Rampell C. (2103) Retrieved May 24, 2013 from http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/14/business/for-penney-a-tough-lesson-in-shopper-psychology.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
No Author (2011) Dave Yoho on Deceptive Sales Practices Retrieved December 17, 2011 from http://www.replacementcontractoronline.com/contractors/q---a--dave-yoho-on-deceptive-sales-practices-and-the-washington-state-civil-suits.aspx
Ryan D. (20120 Frequent Sales vs Everyday Low Prices Retrieved May 22, 2013 from http://rswpartners.com/frequent-sales-vs-everyday-low-pricing/

Jerry Hartman is an expert in fenestration, a 25 cent word for windows and doors, but novice at life. He is the owner of American Renovations Ltd. a remodeler specializing in commercial and residential windows, doors, insulated siding, metal roofing, and walk in tubs in Cincinnati Ohio. He may give you a better discount if you share your LEGO brand building blocks.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

A Story About Discounts

January, cold, windy, the snow still is pretty and not yet turned black from traffic.  Walking across the tiled foyer in socks I discover the rock salt the vacuum left for a cheap laugh at our expense. The mailbox sits an arm’s length beyond the front door so there is no need to bundle up. This afternoon the mail is the normal collection of litter destined for the attractive black wrought iron recycling basket that resides behind the love seat. 

One oversized postcard catches my attention. It exhibits a photo of a stately two story home, snow-covered, announcing a limited time offer on products to protect me from the harshest winter in thirty years.  The reverse displays the smiling image of the owner of the company I worked with for years. A wave of contrasting emotions and memories always battles within me when I see his photo. He is declaring I am eligible to save $200 off a window, $400 a patio or entry door. In contrasting color the words ‘no interest for 12 months*’ is highlighted below the headline; again, available for a limited time.
I search the fine print to read the obligatory restrictions. Yes if I have already purchased the offer is null and void. In the past when a customer called asking for this new sale and discount I could easily convince them the price they paid was a better deal; always.

The rules specifically state I cannot use the twelve months no interest along with the $200 off.  It is either one or the other. The rule establishes the groundwork for a brilliant sales manipulation technique. I imaging the salespeople I trained at that company saying something similar to ‘Remember, as I shared before, the company gives me a little leeway in order to keep a smooth flow of business for the factory and installation teams. I am authorized, for a very limited number of qualifying customers only, to give you the $200 off and set it up so there is no interest or payments until 2015. I have to have a yes or no tonight.’ This is the principle of the norm of reciprocity, or rule reciprocity of sales, I do something nice for you, and you feel an obligation to do something for me. Cialdini R.B. (2001) Influence: Science and Practice (4th ed.) For further information see Kendra Cherry’s article at http://psychology.about.com/od/socialinfluence/f/rule-of-reciprocity.htm

Since they worked so hard for me I feel this must be the best deal I can get. I do not have to shop around anymore.

There are times when discounts and finance offers are not compatible.   If the offer is legitimate, (this $200 is a sales gimmick, I’ll tell you how I know in a later post) then many businesses cannot afford it. You probably know that a business has to pay a processing charge to a credit card company when they redeem their sales. A company with a large ticket may have to pay 3 percent or more. Credit card companies make money even if you never pay a penny of interest. When you see delayed interest or payments the business usually is paying a processing fee to the finance company. This company used GE Credit (a good company) in the past and that is how they operated. They are in the business of loaning the money and they need to be paid for their services.

Now sit down because here is the bottom line on how this affects you. Normally when you are paying for the tires, furniture, or plumbing repair and you use delayed payments, the processing charge is already in the price of the product! For a one year same as cash program we had to pay seven percent to GE Credit. One company forbade us to inform customers of this practice or offer a cash discount in lieu of financing. In the case of our $200 off a window coupon it would not be a wise financial decision to use the financing because you can receive a better price without it. Home improvement salespeople want you to use the financing in order to convince you to buy at the time of the presentation. Which is less, $8,500 for windows and a door or $99 a month?
Be Informed-Save Money-Get More

Jerry Hartman is an expert in fenestration, a 25 cent word for windows and doors, but a novice at life. He is the owner of American Renovations Ltd. a remodeler specializing in windows, doors, insulated siding, home restoration, energy inspections, metal roofing, and walk in baths in Cincinnati Ohio. He may give you a better discount if you shared your LEGO brand blocks.