After weathering months of rainy, wet and overcast days, we are finally able to enjoy the bright sunshine and blue skies. And with the warm weather, we all gravitate outside to relish the warm sun and cool breeze. Yet, we are not alone as we dedicate more time outdoors in the fresh air. Warmer days mean you can expect an army of door knockers (door-to-door salespeople) from many alarm companies, solar companies, and pest control companies coming to your home. And although there is nothing wrong with grassroots sales, often companies that depend on door knockers for their sales force lack the credibility, longevity, quality, and honesty that we can trust from our local storefront businesses.
Be Prepared for Teams of Door Knockers
Many sales companies employ young teams of people to hit the streets and go door-to-door to sell as many sales contracts as they possibly can in a very short period of time. Often, a signed contract with a door knocker means:
- special rates
- added prizes
- free installation
- system activation
- free equipment
The problem is, nothing is free. These teams of salespeople have been trained to use languages such as “special offer,” “free” and “limited time only” to engage homeowners in the product/service they are selling. Homeowners end up in contracts that are excessively expensive, restrictive, or provide for services the homeowner may not need or understand.
The Scams are Sophisticated
Many of these door-to-door sales scammers are trained to stay in your home until they get a contract with signatures. This means they will tell you anything they think you want to hear to get your name on the dotted line. Another aspect of this technique is to stay in the house until you sign their contract. The staunch nature of the individual to just refuse to leave means some homeowners feel worn down and just sign the contract to get the person to leave.
However, what often happens in these high-pressure sales meetings is people sign contracts for services they may not fully understand, need, or even want. The “bait-and-switch” tactic is often quite frequent. This means that when the installer comes in to install your solar panels or alarm system or perform pest control work, they perform tasks that you were not expecting or are completely different than what the salesperson told you.
Another major problem is that many of the companies that depend on door knocking salespeople are not local. This means they may not understand the needs of the homeowners or the community, in general. They are also not companies that support the local economy. They take your money and feed it into a workforce and business economy that is separate than yours. As a consumer, obtaining a contract based service or product from a company that is located out of town puts you at risk. Who will be servicing your contract? Who do you call if there is a problem? Who will complete any warranty work? Working with companies that are not locally based open you up to take risks that can be avoided by working with a local business.
Do Your Homework
When someone knocks on your door with the intent to provide a service or offer you a product, take a moment to do your homework.
- First, check their credibility. Ask for a business card that includes name, contact information, website and email. Then do an internet search to check out their credentials. You should also ask for a copy of their HIS license. In California, this is a Home Improvement Salesperson license. People who are defined as licensed contractors to solicit, sell, negotiate or execute contracts should all have one before you let them into your home or allow them to present you with a quote, or contract for signature.
- Second, do not sign! If you are interested in their product, let them know you would like to do more research. If they are a legitimate company, not only will they respect your wishes to become informed, they will actively suggest you meet with more sales contractors to ensure you are making the best decision for your family and your home.
Support Local Business
At Local Backroads, we promote working with a company that falls somewhere along our local backroads. We live in an area that is rich with businesses that provide any product or service imaginable. Supporting local business means you are supporting the healthy growth of our local economy, workforce and community development. It also means the services and products you depend on come from a local company that has a local presence. When you need service, have questions, or need to find a solution to a problem, you will be able to easily access the business with a trip to the local storefront. Additionally, you can trust your local businesses. As business owners are neighbors, friends or maybe even family, you can trust the contract you sign for products or services rendered are credible.
When you are ready to conduct any sort of home improvement project, explore your local backroads for local businesses to partner with.