Conservatory Deals - how to get the best price
There are basically two types of conservatory supplier - those that operate locally and
those that offer a national coverage. Both offer two distinct ways of selling to the public. To get the best
conservatory deal requires two different approaches dependent upon the type of supplier.
Local manufacturers and suppliers will calculate their own costs for materials and labour and add on a margin
that usually has some degree of flexibility to pander to the homeowners desire for a deal. Their set up for
managing sales to delivery and installation is usually fairly simple and straightforward in the chain. You may
simply deal with one technical sales agent (who also usually lives locally) and then be passed onto one site agent
for when the deal is done. Even their installers will normally be local. No different to any other local business
National conservatory suppliers are very different. The chain from sales to delivery and installation is usually
multi-fold and very complicated. Each Department needs to have a margin for profit to succeed. Their sales
techniques are also very ‘technique driven’ usually designed to make you sign up on the day. This is because many
Sales Agents travel the country and are really not geared up for a second or third visit to allay any customer
concerns that usually build trust.
Many are trained the dark arts of how to counteract delays or rejection offered by the ‘punter’. These
techniques have been used for generations and I really do not know how they still think that the general public are
still that gullible or unaware of these pressure selling techniques. These highly distasteful techniques are
demonstrated weekly on a number of consumer programmes like WatchDog.
So, here are our tips for getting the best conservatory deal:-
LOCAL CONSERVATORY SUPPLIERS:-
1 - Have in mind the size and style of conservatory you are seeking and even prepare you own dimensions sketch
plan to ensure that all suppliers are pricing on the same criteria.
2 - Make sure they know that they are in a tender or completive pricing situation and that you are
seeking alterative prices for the same item. Do not tell them who their competitors are. Explain that you are after
their best price.
3 - Most will be able to provide you with a price their and then but do not be put off by those that will
want to work it out and provide the price later.
4 - Do not accept any price at the first meeting even if they offer discounts no matter how plausible it
may sound. Any conservatory supplier offering an instant discount at the first meeting has already informed you
that the price was inflated to begin with.
5 - Obtain their written quote and their terms and conditions together with a list of at
least three previous recent schemes locally that you can see and also approach the homeowner. You should also be
requesting some idea of their construction details for all the various elements of the conservatory as many will
vary. For example your expectations of a real brick dwarf wall made from matching facing bricks may turn out to be
‘brick slips’ stuck onto a plywood stud frame base. Ask them not to contact you for 14 days.
6 - Get at least three quotes in the same way. Do your own due diligence tests by taking the time to
inspect the one you prefer. Also check out their credentials and trading status.
7 - Let them make contact and explain that you are still considering their quotation. Explain that the
cost was higher than your expected budget cost. Ask them if there was any room for movement on their price and make
it clear that you are in a position to make a decision. Most will offer a genuine discount or you can improve upon
the fictitious discount offered at the initial meeting.
8 - Most will want a deposit. Try to reduce this by at least half and agree payment terms that you are
comfortable with. Have you read and understand their terms and conditions? Are you happy with the limited warranty
and period of cover - can this be improved?
NATIONAL CONSERVATORY SUPPLIERS:-
1 - If you were unable to locate your barge pole in order to push them as far away as you could and you are
obtaining prices from them, then simply use the same schedule above as for local suppliers.
1 - Remembering that you also need to have established what the Planning position is and ensure you obtain
formal Planning Permission if required or a Certificate of Lawful Development if the house extension conservatory
is under permitted development. Make sure that this is part of their service and is included within the price.
2 - The conservatory extension is usually exempt from Building Regulations subject to certain conditions.
Ask the conservatory supplier to provide written confirmation that they are in fact complying with these conditions
in order for the house extension to be exempt from Building Regulations.
3 - Due to the fact that the conservatory is exempt from Building Regulations there will be no third
party or independent specialists ensuring that you are obtaining a quality building robustly built and to a good
standard. Why not employ your own surveyor to view the works in progress. If you bring them in early and before
they start on site he/she can also vet, inspect and approve their construction specifications to ensure that you
are obtaining a sound building for a house extension.