| What should you consider when choosing a home elevator dealer?|
|Background - Find out about the background of each dealer you are considering. How long has your salesperson been in the home elevator industry? The longer the better, as it takes a long time and a lot of experience to really have a good feel for what works and what does not work. Your salesperson should be an expert at finding a good spot for your elevator and knowing the local codes. This is the person who will help you decide which lift or home elevator is best for you. You have to trust them to have your best interests in mind and not just their commission. Your salesperson will most likely be your main point of contact, but perhaps not. Find out what role each person will play. Who will lay out the hoistway for your contractor and answer questions along the way? Who will check to see if the hoistway was properly built before the installation? Who will schedule the installation? What is the background of each of these people? Don't be fooled by a pretty sales presentation with lots of smoke and mirrors. This is about what is best for you - not a flashy sales pitch. |
|Customer Service - Is the company easy to get in touch with? Are they willing to answer all of your questions and take the time to talk to you? Are you dealing directly with the owner? With a smaller company, you may get better service because each person is more personally responsible for the success of the company.|
|Product Lines - If an elevator company only represents one product line of residential elevators or one manufacturer, your choices will be very limited, especially if they only sell their own residential elevator. They will have to sell you on the type of home elevator they sell, instead of being able to offer you a range of products that would work for you.|
|Territory - How large is the territory covered by the company? If they try to spread themselves too thinly and you need service quickly - you may not get it. If the company you are considering is too far away, they will not be readily available to help you or your contractor. Think carefully before considering a company who is more than 100 miles away from you. If you are farther away, they may not be able to perform the site visits that will make your installation go smoothly. Of course, if you are not located near a large city, the dealers in your area probably cover a larger territory. |
|Site Visits - The installation of an elevator is a long process that requires a lot of coordination between the residential elevator contractor and your construction contractor who is building your hoistway. You have to be confident that your home elevator company will always be ready and available to answer questions or come to the jobsite. Ask if there is a limit on the number of site visits you are allowed within your contract price. |
Responsiveness - Keep in mind that if you are not getting a good, quick response from a company now while you are in the buying stage, itís not likely that you will get a lot of help after you have signed a contract. Don't keep calling a company if they don't call you back. Try back once because they may not have gotten your message or your e-mail, but if you still receive no call back, find another dealer to work with.
|Pushy Salespeople - If you are feeling pressured by a sales person to sign a contract before you feel confident in your decision, think twice before signing with them. If they are as good as they claim to be, they will still be the best even after you have talked to other dealers. There are usually a number of dealers in every area. A great dealer will want you to be happy with your home elevator decision for the long term and is not just looking for a signature on the contract to make a quota for the month.|
Employees or Subcontractors? - Find out if the dealer subcontracts out any of their installations or if the installers are employees. It is harder to control quality if the installer is not an employee. How long have they been installing elevators? Are the installers licensed or certified? Where do they live? How far do they travel? What is the company policy on working long hours or working when they are sick? Elevator installers should not work under conditions where they are likely to make mistakes. If the installers work too many hours or work when they are tired, they could make mistakes that are dangerous to you. You have to trust these people with your life. You don't want employees who are encouraged to take short cuts or to finish a job too quickly. You want a safe, high-quality installation.
|Likeability - You are entering into a long-term relationship with the company you choose to work with. You should have maintenance down the road and you should feel that you can always call on these people if you need them. Make sure you choose a company that you will want to call and see for years down the road. |
|Insurance - Request a copy of the company's Liability Insurance and Worker's Comp insurance. They should also be bonded or have an insurance crime policy. This will protect you and your assets.
State License - Before signing a contract with an elevator company, call your State Elevator Department to make sure they are certified to install elevators or if that is a requirement in your state. State certification, permits and inspections are a requirement in some states. For example, Georgia, Minnesota, Michigan, Washington, Oregon, and California have very specific codes.
Cheapest isn't always best, when your life is riding on your decision.