I am thinking about giving a lifetime warranty on my furniture line. Right now it is not specified, but when anyone asks I say one year. What do you typically give for a warranty? I would think a lifetime warranty would be a big help with sales.
(Business and Management Forum)
From contributor C:
Who's lifetime Ė yours, your company's, your client's? Do they need to return the product for warranty work? Or, will you go to them? What if they moved five states away? Still interested in driving for a repair? How long do you plan on servicing this furniture?
I give a one year warranty on the materials and workmanship with the following exception. The Blum hardware that I use comes with a limited warranty that will replace the parts for the original owner of the product. So, I use that as a selling point. And, if my company doesn't exist years from now, they can find any Blum distributor to take care of them.
The truth is, if a piece of hardware fails a few years after I deliver, I will most likely replace the part and not charge labor. No, I will not put that in writing. One never knows what a customer might do to a product. I am running a business, not a charity, so I reserve the option to decide on a case by case basis if I want to do free work. You might consider a five or ten year warranty if you really want to extend the time limit, but I would like to hear from some other business owners before I even did that.
The bottom line is, I do not over-commit with a written warranty. I was thinking about putting a long term warranty on our product, but then I thought it would be a little presumptuous since I am saying there will be no flaws with my designs, workmanship, my employees workmanship, the materials used that were made by others, the hardware made by others, the paint made by my suppliers, etc. I am sure you see my concern.
Since so many customers seem to use anything they can to get the better of those who provide products and services, I try to limit the ammunition I give them. I fixed four panels that fell apart recently, and they were built ten years ago. I was glad to do the repair at no charge, but I felt like the customer was grateful for my doing this, and not like they were using a warranty to "make" me fix the problem as if I would not have anyway.
I really don't see where a long term lifetime warranty will help you sell more products, but I do see where building a better product and building customer satisfaction will. That has been our approach, but it does take a while, sometimes years, to get that reputation.
I had a pneumatic hinge break in a kitchen I completed (eight months after install) and I uninstalled and replaced it (a three dollar item). The client wanted to know about how much they owed me for the service call and parts? I said ďnothingĒ! This gives the customer a feeling of security that a written guaranty canít provide for them. They then know that Iím a guy who stands by his word and products and that is what makes for additional sales!
There are also laws which give consumers certain rights and warranties so that expectations for certain things are already present. There are also similar to a restaurant I completed work for. I recently received a call to do some repairs on movable garbage bins that I built. The doors were falling off, the veneer needed repair, and the wheels were loose. I did some repairs gratis because I had given my word, but I wonít go back again!
Not only did they abuse the bins but they had another carpenter come to change things on other works I completed for them. They also ignored the basic care instructions that I provided. These things void any warranty that Iíd give to a client. Donít attempt a repair or do purposeful damage and expect me to come and do repairs as part of a warranty.
If you are offering a high end product that is well built this is almost like offering a good feeling only, because the vast majority of the time thatís about all it will cost you. The time that it does cost you it would cost you anyways because as someone who cares about what they do you would always rectify any quality issues with your work as a matter of pride.
I will do this provided that I can determine that the issue is due to a defect and that wear and tear or abuse has not played a role. Otherwise I will be glad to repair or refurbish my products for a reasonable fee. If there is a failure for something I sold for top dollar 15 years from now I want to know about it. People buy my stuff because they want something that won't fall apart. If I screw up I want to fix it.
Now I do not talk about this publicly but if somebody accidentally damaged a piece of furniture I would likely just fix it free of charge if they wanted to go to the trouble to bring it to me. That is as long as the repair is simple.
If itís easy for me to do and it makes a customer happy itís probably worth it. If I did things right to begin with I made enough off the original sale to where I can afford to do this.
In South Australia they make the trades provide a five year warranty and a ten year liability. They exist because they now have an audit oversight/self-inspection system. I'm still learning how the warranty works in the real world. Obviously you can't warranty a hung door for five years.
There are several big companies that soared because of lifetime warranties. They analyzed the facts and acted accordingly. In the end, do the math and figure how much you'd have to really replace based on the written agreement.