Honesty, integrity and transparency.
An informed consumer is a smart consumer, and even in the internet age today, that can still be a challenge. Spending money to make sure your home is in proper working order and as comfortable as it can be is no trivial matter, and the right information can either save you a not-so-insignificant amount of money, or prevent quite the headache. Of course, here at Honest John, we want to give you the knowledge and tools you need to make it easier to make smart, informed decisions (hey, it’s what we do).
So how do you find the right double glazing company for you? Well, we’ve put together this guide to help you know what to look for, some things to watch out for, and how to search smarter and get the best possible results. Here’s what you’ll get:
First, you need to know what to look for in a double glazing company. How do you know a company isn’t putting you on with marketing-speak? What’s the best way to find out if a trader provides the quality of service that’s up to standard? What are some things you can do to protect yourself as a consumer?
Then, after having armed yourself with this knowledge, it’s time to learn to use the power of Google to find yourself a good double glazing company (spoiler alert: more tips and tricks to make your searching faster and easier follow!).
Ready? Let’s go.
Look at independent companies first before checking out the big guys. Research indicates that independent companies overall tend to have a higher customer satisfaction rating compared to the big four (respectively: Everest, Anglian, Safestyle, and in last place, Zenith), the former collectively averaging a customer score of 81%, the latter, a mere 52%. Of course, this may vary depending on your location, and there’s always the possibility that things may change for the better, so it certainly wouldn’t hurt to look at all your options.
Find out if the company is registered with FENSA, BM Trada, or Certass. Certification and competent person schemes require companies to comply with building codes and regulations, as well as ensuring that products and services provided are of acceptable quality and workmanship. More importantly, in case anything goes wrong, you as a consumer are provided with additional protections and avenues for resolving any issues that may arise.
Find out what their own customers think and say about them. One of the best ways to get to know a company is to see what their own customers have to say about them. Ask around about a builder, contractor, or installer you’re considering, and if it’s at all possible, ask to see their handiwork in person. If you can acquaint yourself with one or several current or past clients, see what they think of the work a company has done, and what the overall experience was like for them. Additionally, you can check the internet for what people say about them via forums or on some review websites.
Word-of-mouth is one of the most effective ways for a company to build a reputation and for consumers to gain insight on a company. While it’s best to speak directly to people you know who have experienced a company’s services that you happen to be interested in, that option may not always be available to you. That being the case, people often turn to the internet to see what others have to say, with review sites such as Yelp and Trustpilot being two of just some of the most popular destinations.
Online review sites can be quite useful, but you should take a reasonable amount of care when reading “customer” reviews on the internet, as these can be faked in favour of the company, or against them by disgruntled people with personal vendettas. The Guardian wrote some time ago that upon investigation, they had “uncovered fake reviewing on an almost industrial scale, with companies paying offshore contractors to post numerous glowing accounts of their activities, yet maintaining they are from unbiased consumers”.
Fake reviews are illegal and punishable by law, and Yelp, Trustpilot, and other consumer review websites have since taken steps to identify and penalise any that are discovered. That being said, no system is perfect, and it certainly doesn’t hurt to be actively aware of potentially misleading reviews
How can you tell if a review is fake? The Guardian has some tips:
Avoid one-review accounts. Click on a user's profile on review websites to get an indication of which other reviews the user has written.
Beware reviews in poor English. Genuine customers may take little care with spelling and grammar, but some reviews sound as if they were translated from a foreign language. Give more credence to reviews written in well constructed and grammatically precise English.
Skip over reviews overflowing with verbs, adverbs, hyperbole and praise that contains no caveats.
Consider whether the reviewer's purchase has been confirmed. Amazon and Trustpilot have ways to confirm whether a customer who left a review for a product has indeed purchased it, but this system can be abused.
Conduct in-depth research. Reviews left by users on consumer forums, where they've engaged with the community on a regular basis can provide sharper insights than reviews posted online, so look beyond page one of Google's search results to get a better idea of a company's reputation.
So, in summary: prioritize looking at local, independent double glazing companies (but keep all your options open), check to see if they are registered with any competent person schemes and consumer-oriented trade organizations, and – most importantly – find out what their own customers say about them.
Now you might think “well, I’ll just Google it and that’s it, right?” – and that’ll work, sure. But we can show you a smarter way to search so you can get better results and get them a bit faster. Ready to power-up your Google-Fu? Read on, grasshopper.
If you’re on your desktop computer or laptop, type google.co.uk/maps in your web browser first, then type in “Double Glazing” along with the City or Area you’re looking for – let’s use Double Glazing Edinburgh as an example – in the search field. Not only will this show you all the listed companies around Edinburgh on a map, you can usually get their contact information right then and there as well, and see what some people have to say about them. Additionally, you can get directions on how to get to these companies by driving or via public transport, and you can send the information you’re looking at to your phone if you want turn-by-turn navigation.
If you’re on your mobile, you can just go ahead and open the Google Maps app, type in the same search terms, and you’ll see pretty much the same results and the same useful information as above, with the added benefit of being able set off on your way to find the company or give them a ring right away.
By default, Google will try to give you the most relevant search results it thinks you want to see, regardless of whether those results were what you wanted to get. Most of the time, they do a pretty good job, and this will work for most people. But there are things you can do to make Google give you more specific results.
After typing anything in the search field and initiating the search, Google will display search results as it usually does. To narrow down the results and remove any potentially useless international companies that somehow manage to find their way into what Google shows you (and they inevitably do), do this:
Click on “Search Tools”
Click on the option that says “Any Country”
Click on “Country: the UK”
Now you’ll only be shown results from within the country (and of course, Edinburgh).
Another way to try get more relevant results is to add a “+” immediately before the location – in this case, “Edinburgh”.
What this does is it forces Google to show you the websites of companies who have “Edinburgh” in their company names or addresses.
That’s it! Now that you know what you need to know, you’ll be better equipped to find the right double glazing company for your needs. By the way, you should use Honest John’s double glazing quotes tool to get quick, easy, and free local quotes – we’ll help you get started on finding the best deals out there!
More useful stuff for smart consumers:
How Much Does Double Glazing Cost? – Learn more about how much you should be really paying for double glazing.
Double Glazing Complaints – What do you need to know and what should you do if things go wrong? Read on.
All You Need To Know About Double Glazing Units & Windows – Want to know even more? Read up on our comprehensive primer so you can make even smarter choices!