Tempered glass shower door spontaneously exploded scattering glass all over the bathroom
Adobe Stock Tempered glass shower door spontaneously exploded scattering glass all over the bathroom

Lifetime warranties are prevalent in the home improvement industry. Many product categories come with lifetime product warranties of varying degrees and some home improvement companies add lifetime labor warranties as well. When conducting sales training sessions with home improvement salespeople over the last several months, I’ve begin asking the groups a question – “How long is a lifetime warranty good for?” Answers have varied from “7 years in this state,” “25 years,” “lifetime of the home,” “lifetime of the homeowner.” All of which are not entirely correct.

How Long is a "Lifetime"?

LegalBeagle.com defines the lifetime of a lifetime warranty as "the period of time in which the warranty remains in force. The lifetime in question is rarely the lifetime of the purchaser, but rather the length of time the manufacturer continues to make the product." In other words, the lifetime warranty of any product is only valid if the company remains in business. If the company dies, the warranty dies with it.

An article in Entrepreneur Magazine claims that "approximately 20 percent of small businesses fail within the first year. By the end of the second year, 30 percent of businesses will have failed. By the end of the fifth year, about half will have failed. And by the end of the decade, only 30 percent of businesses will remain — a 70 percent failure rate." The odds that a small home improvement company will be in business longer than 10 years are not good. You can bolster the value of the lifetime warranty on the products you sell by aligning with manufacturing companies with long, storied histories.

Communicating Warranties to Clients

It's critical how you communicate this message to your prospective customers. For instance, let’s say you’re buying from a manufacturer that’s been in business since 1946. You could simply say the company that manufactures this product has been in business since 1946 and hope your prospective customer connects the dots on just how long of a time that is, or you could say the company that manufacturers this product has been in business since 1946 … when this business started, Harry Truman was the President of the United States, and gas, on average, was 21 cents a gallon! Putting your message into this perspective helps connect those dots for your customer and clearly demonstrates the longevity in a way that resonates with your audience.

Companies that have been around for a long time are good at one thing – not going out of business. Staying in business requires many things, good products, reliable service, great people, awesome customers and sometimes, a little luck. Keep in mind that consistent profitability is also required to keep a business going. Make sure you are pricing your products and services in a way that brings this needed profit into your business. Take the time to explain to a homeowner what a lifetime warranty means, and why the companies you have chosen to align with will provide more protection to them in terms of the warranty on the products for their project. And as always, look for creative ways to deliver these messages.

Happy selling.