I’m going to tell you the eight questions you need to answer before you make a purchase decision.

Hi. I’m George Bentley with Bentley baths walk-in therapy tubs. And for nearly 20 years now, I’ve been helping seniors and boomers, their adult children, and caregivers, figure out how to make our homes safe and more accommodating to us as we age and walk-in bathtubs.

Things have not changed much over the last 20 years. It’s still very much like aluminum siding sales out there.

And as a consumer, if you don’t know how to protect yourself, you’re very highly at risk of getting taken advantage of. So I’m going to share with you today the eight questions I think you need to know the answer to before you decide to buy a walk-in bathtub from anybody.

Question One

The first question you want to ask, and this is really important when they’re setting the appointment or if unfortunately they actually get to your door before you get a chance to communicate with them, the first thing you want to ask them is, are you going to ask me to buy today?

And if they say yes to that question you need to be very careful because that means their job.

They’re like a mercenary. They’re hired to go in and get the deal, get the clothes on that transaction. It’s not about them being there to help you. One call clothes is what it’s called and that means if it’s necessary high pressure. This is a very expensive investment.

This is a very important decision to be making. And I would suggest that you never make a final decision on the very first call. You need to get information and you need to be able to reflect on what’s best for you. So if they tell you they’re going to ask you to purchase that day, then don’t talk to them because 3 hours later you’re going to be shepherding them out the door.

Question Two 

Number two is, can I get a detailed estimate? And by a detailed estimate, I mean, you need to know all the specifics of what equipment, what fixtures, how it’s plumbed, what therapies are involved, and how they’re installed. All the details are in a written proposal.

And there’s very little information on this. You need to know what equipment, how it’s installed and everything in detail, don’t you think? It’s very, very expensive and can be risky not to do this.

Question Three

Number three, ask them about their installers. Are they employees or are they independent contractors? Now, I’m going to tell you, that virtually every installer in this industry is an independent contractor. And if they start telling you that they’re an employee, you should be very skeptical of that.

The real issue is who’s managing these installers and who’s standing behind their workmanship. What is their relationship to the company and what is going to be that installer’s relationship to you? So if we’re democratizing or breaking apart the process of purchasing a walk-in bathtub, I believe that you should have a direct relationship, if not even a contractual relationship with whoever it is that’s installing your appliance.

The big name companies, national companies are not going to let you do that. You want to know who’s going to personally warranty and service their work. And I’m not saying 1099 subcontractors are a bad thing. I’m just saying it sets up a different issue and you need to make sure that you can protect yourself in that situation.

At Bentley walk-in Baths, we have very specific and detailed guidelines for every one of our installation crews that are certified to install for us.

Question Four

Number four would be how long is it going to take you to do this project? Not just blows me away. Even today, there are still companies out there that promote the idea that they’re going to install your walk-in bathtub in as little as a day.

Well, I’m going to ask you right now, you know, how much work can you really do in a day? It’s not a one-day process if you’re doing it properly. The less work they’re doing. I mean, think about it. There is an installation process called a slide-in process.

And this is where we just leave the wall material. We take the old tub out, we connect up fittings and hook up hoses and slide the tub in and we’re done, right?

Question Five

Number five, you need to know what materials they’re using or are they removing wall material or are they reinstalling substrate in the surround or are they keeping the old tile? Are they tying into existing plumbing? Are they going to replace the PE trap and are they going to run a dedicated circuit for any electrical equipment?

Just a little side note here. A lot of these companies put multiple systems. Where do you need them? And not on their tub. And basically, speaking, every one of those systems should have its own dedicated circuit. So right off the top, you know, if they’re trying to pack on water jets, air jets, corona therapy, aromatherapy, microbubbles, whatever, you could need to three, maybe even four dedicated circuits.

So be very clear on exactly what work they’re doing and what materials they’re using.

Question Six

Number six, what are the credentials of this salesperson who is selling you a walk-in bathtub? Are they self-trained? I’m going to almost guarantee you virtually every one of them has no specialized training. Their training is in sales techniques. Their training is in closing the deal. Their training is in getting as much money as they possibly can out of you. That is their job to make profits for the company and for themselves.

We believe it’s more important that a salesperson has the knowledge and the skills. Are they certified? Aging in place specialists? Are they certified, environmental access consultants? Do they understand all the nuances and variables that are necessary in order to recommend to you the perfect solution for you?

There are over 35 different shows and configurations that we can recommend, and most of these national name brand companies have maybe one or two, and this is what I call a one size fits all approach.

Question Seven

Number seven, how many shells and configurations and options do they have for you? Do they allow you to customize the solution to your needs? Are they going to help you to accomplish that? And if they cannot, in other words, if they go, well, we got two sizes, our tubs all come with everything on them. You don’t have any choices that tell you right there you’re getting a one size fits all kind of solution.

And I’m going to suggest to you that you may or may not want all that, but you’re going to pay for it whether you want it and you need it or not. And to me, that’s something to be very very careful of.

Question Eight

Number eight, can they give you references? I mean, real live human beings that you can talk to. I just spoke to a person the other day that was talking to one of these big-name brand companies.

And she asked them about references and you know, customer service after the sale. Oh, we have a lifetime warranty. We warranty everything. And she thought, well, it’s a big name brand company. And, you know, maybe that’s true. But I want references.

I want to talk to satisfied customers, people that you’ve worked with, and that’s where they balked. So she went online and started doing some research and she found over 25 people had been complaining about the fact that they could not get customer service after the sale.

So the idea that you’ve got a brand name you might recognize that’s giving you some sort of an unlimited lifetime warranty on everything does not necessarily mean that they’re going to follow through. The best way to find out is to talk to real customers. And if they won’t let you talk to real customers. Big red flag.

So we’ve developed things like our ambassador program where we can help work with you and you can help us with future customers once we’ve made you happy. The idea is this should be a transparent process if they balk at that big red flag.

Those are the big eight questions I encourage you to ask every walk-in salesman that you might be dealing with if you don’t get the answers you’re looking for. Give us a call. We’re here to help.