I am a runner and I have been for many years. When I first started running I went out and bought a pair of Nike’s like you see in all the adds, the ones the professional athletes all use because they are the best. Six months into my running career I had my first injury and sought out the advice of an industry professional. My issue? I had the wrong shoes. 15 years later and hundreds of running shoes trial and error and I love shoes from a company called Mizuno. You have likely heard of them but most would assume they are a second rate company smaller and without the technology of the big boys. Yet, if you went to a road race you would see that many more seasoned athlete are running in shoes from companies like Mizuno, Saucany, and Asics then the big brands like Nike, Adidas and Under Armor.
As we go through the process of designing and spec-ing a house we are going to build for a customer the conversation eventually comes to windows. Everyone asks for Anderson, some say Pella or Marvin. Why? because these are companies that have branded themselves as manufactures of quality products that we are all familiar with. Yet if you go to builders job sites the brand you will see most builders using are from a company called Plygem. Why? because as a professional builder who has to offer a quality product we can stand behind without driving cost up this window is the industry standard. Is is sexy? No! Can you brag about the manufactures name? No! Is it a better window at a more reasonable cost. Ask anyone in the industry and you will get a resounding yes.
Modular builders are always fighting the stigma of be second rate construction quality because for the early years of the industry they were. However, today the modular industry is in many ways driving the choices the site built industry is making. They look at what the Mod guys are using, they know they did all the research to determine what the best value is and they just follow their lead. I believe some people feel that if they tell their friends they built a modular home but it has Anderson windows they get Street Cred for that. When was the last time you were in a beautiful home and went over to read the label you can barely read in the lower corner of the windows to see if they were a fraud? You don’t, you look at a beautiful well built house and think, Damn! this is nice.
Don’t get stuck on name brands, the simple business concept of most huge companies is that if they do an effective job branding their products they can charge extra without increasing the real cost of making the product and improve profits. Don’t pay extra for things that do not have any real added value.