Every once in while, while writing up a client’s order for window coverings, they will ask me how much of a discount they can get if they install their new blinds themselves. My company is a “full-service” company, which means that we consult, design, install and warrantee our product lines; my customers NEVER install their own products. There is one major reason for that: the manufacturer’s warranty is only valid if the product was installed properly. One way to verify proper installation is to have the product installed by a trained professional. Kempler Design is an authorized installer for all the products we sell. There are several others reasons why installing your own blinds might not be a good idea.
As the designer of the project, I know exactly how the products should be installed for your application. I ensure every blind and window treatment installs according to the vision you gave me when we started working together. For this level of service we have extremely low prices for installing your treatments. In fact, when I tell people the charge for their installation, they invariably have us do it rather than do it themselves, hire a handy-man or another installer. They assume that the costs are high, even though they really aren’t. The fact is that the only people who have ever asked me about these issues are people who are doing the basic type treatments.
I have never had someone who is having an expensive installation like an arch treatment, or complicated drapery treatment ask me about the installation costs, and yet, these installations are the ones that would be far less expensive if they installed them.
I can only speak for my own business when I say that we tend to be practical. I have been installing window treatments of all kinds for nearly 17 years and I have run into all kinds of issues. Therefore, I am able to estimate, reasonably well, the actual time and effort that any particular installation will take, along with any unseen issues that might be encountered. So, for example, if I am installing a house full of blinds, I know that it will take me somewhere between 2 to 3 hours to finish the job. For most homeowners, that same job might take them all day, including a trip or two to the hardware store to get some tool that they can’t find, or never had in the first place.
For most of my clients, the cost of the installation is really only a round-up tool to make my invoices cost a round number. For example, the costs of blinds and drapes might total to an odd number like $1,943.64 and I will round it up to an even $2,000 and include installation. If I were to itemize the install, the costs would be much higher, but that is just the way I’ve done it for years.
The jobs that are more than a “round up” cost for installation are usually very difficult to do and are not recommended for most homeowners. They often involve having to climb ladders, drill through materials like concrete or steel, hanging oversized products or some other issue that will require much in skill, time or tools. When I have one of these jobs, I try to be reasonable with the client. I describe what makes it a more difficult installation and that I can’t tell them exactly what the price will be but they can expect a certain number of hours of my time at the agreed price. If the job takes significantly longer than estimated to complete due to complications from the job itself, then they agree to pay an hourly rate beyond the original quote. In all my years of business though, I have only encountered two installations that required significantly more time and resources than I originally estimated, therefore, requiring me to charge the clients an additional fee for the installation. 17 years of experience has taught me how to accurately estimate nearly all types of installations.
The one category of shopper that I haven’t covered is the one that is more cost-conscious than value-conscious. If this describes you, I highly recommend installing simple blinds or window treatments yourself. Chances are you’re buying from a big-box store, or a low-service blind company that advertises their low-cost, high-volume products over a service-oriented company and their products. For some people low-cost is a requirement. In this case, if you are handy with tools, you can save a little money and feel good about accomplishing a task in your home if you do the work yourself. In fact, in these cases, you might do a better job of installing the products than the “by-the-hour” employee, or more realistically, the lowest-bid sub-contractor that the store hires.
To sum up; if you are the type of buyer that shops by value, then using the installation services of your window treatment professional may actually save you money compared to the time and effort it might take from you. If you are a price shopper, locate a good resource for installation instructions and do it yourself.