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Thread: upcharging for softeners

  1. #1

    Default upcharging for softeners

    How come I can find many local water treatment installer/service companies that want to charge 2 to 3 times as much for a Fleck valve water softener complete with 1.5 cu ft Resin as I can find online? -Not including their insallation charges. Their installation charges are cheap, but they all jack up their softeners. I thought there was some protection from this happening by Fleck or something?

    Should I just buy one way cheaper online, have it installed, and call around till I can find one of them that will install a softener I have and not theirs? Seems to me that is the cheapest route to go. Am I missing something here? It's just a little scary buying one online. All the plumbers I've talked reccomend not to. Maybe just because THEY want my sale. I don't know.

  2. #2
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    You will have to ask them why they have such high markups. Let us know what they say.

  3. #3
    DIY Member rjh2o's Avatar
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    It's called a free market society. Internet prices are wholesale (most sites) your local dealer is retail. When you buy on-line, don't know what you're doing and somethings happens during install or it needs service. You are liable for it and you have to figure it out. That's why there are water treatment professionals. Have you ever seen what the actual cost to manufacture a car is?
    Water treatment companies have liability insurance, workmens comp, medical insurance, vehicles/insurance, building costs, employee compensation, warranty coverage, advertising, etc, etc. By the time its all said and done a 20% profit margin is the norm. So in the end we are just out here trying to do the best we can (as you also), keep good employees, grow our business and provide our customers quality service and equipment.
    RJ

  4. #4
    DIY Senior Member mialynette2003's Avatar
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    Do the local dealers have a office? They pay rent. Do the local dealers have trucks? They pay insurance. Are the local companies in the phone book? They pay advertising. Do the local dealers offer on site repairs? They pay service techs. This is way they are priced higher. IMO you should be able to find a Fleck unit for $800.00-$1000.00 installed. I agree that some dealers rise the price too much and you should not buy from them. With online sales, how would you get the unit fixed? If it is still under warranty, you have to take it apart, box it up, pay to ship it and wait until it is returned. Will it take a week or 2? With local dealers, you may have it serviced within a couple of days and not have to touch it yourself. Sure you can save money buying it online, but what valve do you give to have a service tech fix it at your home within a couple of days instead of waiting 2 weeks?

  5. #5
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mialynette2003 View Post
    ............

    With online sales, how would you get the unit fixed? If it is still under warranty, you have to take it apart, box it up, pay to ship it and wait until it is returned. Will it take a week or 2? With local dealers, you may have it serviced within a couple of days and not have to touch it yourself. Sure you can save money buying it online, but what valve do you give to have a service tech fix it at your home within a couple of days instead of waiting 2 weeks?
    With advanced replacement, no one buying on line has to ship parts to get service under warranty.

    And most people buying online are DIYers or wannabees and will replace a part or two themselves when needed, which is normally is rarely. They save more money that way.
    Gary Slusser Retired (= out of business)
    Click Here to learn how to correctly size or program a water softener.
    CAUTION, as of Nov 12 2013 all YouTube videos showing how to rebuild a Clack valve have an error in them that can cause damage.

  6. #6

    Default

    ok so the main reason is... They can?

    I get the free market society, they have to pay rent, workers, whatever. I would also have no problem paying a "little" extra for a local water treatment specialist to install their unit.

    However, I have had 3 of them come out to give me estimates, and they are all around $1500-$2000 just for the softener, then they charge a little more for the installation. The same unit I can get for just a little over $600 shipped free to my house with all of the parts I need (except for a little extra PVC etc.)

    So it just frustrates me because I'm not even going to Culligan or the other Higher end guys. I just want a good installation by one of these guys pros, not an average cheap plumber that has maybe installed a few softeners before.

    Oh well, I'm going to just call all of these guys back and tell them I already have a softener and need someone to install it and see what kind (if any) of a quote I can get.

    It just doesn't sound convincing that I should get one from them because IF I have a warranty issue, I can get it fixed easier and quicker by calling them back out. However, if I buy online I could almost buy two of the units for the same price as these guys.

  7. #7

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Slusser View Post
    With advanced replacement, no one buying on line has to ship parts to get service under warranty.

    And most people buying online are DIYers or wannabees and will replace a part or two themselves when needed, which is normally is rarely. They save more money that way.
    So what is advanced replacement and how does this work? I can buy a softener online and do not have to ship or wait for parts under warranty? Where is this available?

  8. #8
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    I don't know how you'd get parts from any dealer without waiting for them to get there but.... A dealer that is trusted by his supplier can be given advanced replacement meaning the dealer has the part he believes to be bad sent to his customer without the customer first sending the part in for evaluation. If the part fixes the problem, in some cases you'd then pay to return the used/bad part.

    SO... the dealer has to trust you to do that, and you must earn that trust, and if he doesn't, you don't get advanced replacement parts. I was an advance replacement dealer for many years and got taken by one customer for $10.xx once.

    The option to that is to buy from a local dealer and pay whatever he wants to charge you for the equipment and parts and service; they usually will not allow you to replace parts under warranty.... and if they don't have the art, you wait until it is shipped to them and then until they can get out to your place with the part.

    Not all dealers will know about this or be offered it.
    Gary Slusser Retired (= out of business)
    Click Here to learn how to correctly size or program a water softener.
    CAUTION, as of Nov 12 2013 all YouTube videos showing how to rebuild a Clack valve have an error in them that can cause damage.

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