Posted by: pdxgraniteguy | May 12, 2009

Shop & Compare – But Beware

These days, if you’re shopping for granite counter tops, you know it’s a great time to buy and you’re probably doing lots of research and comparing competitive quotes.

As you shop, keep this in mind: comparing granite counter top companies is more complicated than it is with most other products.

With a gas range for example the appliance is built by a manufacture to very stringent codes and specifications, then sold through a network of retailers. The retailers promote, display, and sell the appliance, and the manufacture backs it up.

This makes it easy to “shop” for the best price on the range and to compare apples to apples because regardless of the retailer, the product is the same. It is built by the same company on the same assembly line with the same warranty.

With granite slab counter tops, its different for 2 reasons.

First, each “retailer” is also the manufacturer (fabricator), which makes it difficult to compare the finished product and the overall experience you will have from one company to another.

Second, while the Marble Institute of America (http://www.marble-institute.com/) sets quality standards for the industry, there is little oversight and almost zero enforcement.

As a result, “quality” is defined by the fabricator, and you the consumer, have very little recourse if you’re not happy with the work, aside from the fabricator’s good will.

I suggest you follow these 2 simple rules when comparing quotes:

1. Check their online reviews – Angie’s List (http://www.angieslist.com/) is the most comprehensive service available.

2. Ask each fabricator the same questions and document their answers- This way you can make a more objective and less emotional decision. (Price is emotional)

Below is the list of 7 questions we suggest our customers ask other fabricators when they set out to get competitive quotes.

1. Do you use a digital measuring system to template the counters?

2. Will you measure over existing counter tops and guarantee accuracy?

3. What is your turn around time from template to install?

4. Will you schedule a carpenter to remove and dispose of my existing counters?

5. Will you coordinate the disconnection and reconnection of my appliances with a liscenced plumber?

6. Can I view the layout of the templates on my slabs before they are cut?

7. Will you use CNC technology to accurately manufacture my counters?

I am happy to explain the reason behind these question in greater detail if you would find it helpful. Just let me know.

Have a great week shopping!

Aaron J Crowley – PDXGraniteGuy

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