Garden arches Guarantees and Warranties

I have started reading a book called Ogilvy on Marketing by David Ogilvy, David Ogilvy was considered, I am told to be one of the leading men in his field and a great source of inspiration to the world of marketing. One of the first adverts shown in the book as an example, was for a Rolls Royce with the headline “At 60 miles an hour the loudest noise in this new Rolls-Royce is the ticking of the clock”. At the time of the advert a new roller cost $13500 and had a warranty of 36 months. I wondered what today’s warranty is; 48 months, price tag £330,000, so the guaranteed life of an expensive vehicle is 4 years. Kia on the other hand make less expensive vehicles a £7500 starting price and a 7-year warranty.What does that say about confidence in your product? Rolls Royce who make the best car in the world (their opinion), will only guarantee the best car in the world for 4 years, Kia on the other hand guarantee their cars for 7 years.I started thinking what I could give in the way of guarantees for my garden arches and garden products, should I be working on the Rolls Royce principal offer a shorter warranty than my competitors? What should I guarantee my product against? Rust perhaps? I have an arch on order from a customer who wants it left unpainted so it rusts, one of my customers offers his arches (some made by us), naturally rusted. So rust for some people is not important, should I guarantee longevity? If a £330,000 car can only be depended on for 4 years how long should a £67 garden arch or a £36 obelisk last for?So I had a look round at some of the other people in my field to see what warranties they were offering. I found none above the fourteen days defective materials and workmanship, I am not saying that there aren’t some companies offering longer guarantees, I am just saying I didn’t find them.I could offer a warranty that all our standard products are made from solid iron or steel, not thin tubing, which means they won’t corrode from the inside or fill up with water when it rains then freeze and split in winter. I could say that they are guaranteed to have as few as possible parts so they can be assembled easily and quickly. I could guarantee that you can normally stand on the bottom bar of an arch or gazebo side and it won’t collapse. I could show people the way we have tested some of our gazebos for strength, I could, well, all right this is how we have done it on occasion.

Its a very crude method but fifteen and a half stone seems a fairly good test, our customerthought so too, the gazebo in the photo was to replace a tubular one that had blown down.This was the first use of this test process but we have used it since on new designs andspecial sizes. I don’t know whether the thin tube gazebos are tested like this, perhaps they are, most of ours have been.I am still left with the problem of guarantees. Do people who buy Kia cars think that they must be more reliable than a Rolls Royce because the manufacturer has the confidence to guarantee them for seven years? Three years longer than Rolls-Royce?I don’t know, David Ogilvy went on to say “ I resigned the Rolls-Royce account when they sent five hundred defective cars to the United States.”Why do people buy a product? A guarantee doesn’t always seem to do the trick; I have been offered marketing courses that guarantee my money back or double my money back if I am not satisfied with the results. Would the guarantee persuade me? Not so far, it’s about confidence in the product, that is what is lacking for me, with their marketing courses.Would the Kia drivers prefer a Rolls-Royce to their car even though it has a shorter warranty? Do Kia have to offer a longer warranty to inspire the confidence in their brand they feel wouldn’t be there, if they had a shorter Rolls-Royce length warranty?So what can I offer my customers in the way of a guarantee?If you buy our gazebos most have them been tested by having a fifteen and a half stone bloke hanging from them? Could I guarantee that our products can be assembled quicker than a lot of the thin tubular ones? those ones with a gazillion bits and pieces, (most of our arches have a maximum of five main pieces, many of them as few as three (plus nuts and bolts between four and six of those).Could I say that if you live in the fens put one of our arches up and grow roses over it, then there is a very good chance it will still be there sixteen years later?Perhaps I should say all of these things.
E-mail me when people leave their comments –

Comments

  • PRO
    A good post Phil and you ask some thought provoking questions about guarantees. To my mind it's all about managing client expectations.

    If you wrote about the conditions that your gazebos have to endure during its lifetime and then ask your client to consider what it is they expect to receive from their purchase then I think you will be 90% toward them not coming to expect a lifetime guarantee on your product.

    It's as simple as writing a short statement about how metal reacts, over time, to certain weather conditions and different climates in the UK (or elsewhere). Once a client realises that if they live on the west coast and within a few miles of the sea that the combination of higher rainfall and salty air will corrode certain metals at a greater rate than a sheltered position in a garden away from the sea, they will automatically consider the lifespan of the product and not expect anything unrealistic.
  • Thank you Phil.
    I do try and get coastal customers to buy galvanised products. Most of my clients and customers are older and are willing to listen to advice, they are not overly price sensitive as long as they are content with the quality and think the product offers good value for money.
    The blog was really a thinking aloud excercise. Marketing courses I have attended place a lot of emphasis on guarantees but to my way of thinking a guarantee is an incidental, an add on to add reassurance, it should not be a central component of a product. I hope other people may add their thoughts, their views would interest me.
    The business link marketing courses are all about giving you a leg up moving your thinking forward, I would pay for courses some of these people who presented these workshops offer and have bought their books. They wouldn't need to give me a guarantee.
    I have attended other low cost or free courses where the object has been mainly to sell you another more expensive course and from that to enroll you onto a more expensive still programme. The guarantees have not persuaded me to join, lack of confidence in them has discouraged me despite guarantees from signing up.
    The David Ogily Rolls-Royce advert, despite being probably forty years old started the hare running in my head. The book is an interesting read recomended in a book on marketing I have been rereading.
  • Very good blog post Phil, and thank you for letting us know about a good book.

    It may sound silly but you will find that another thing that people still think that means quality is a price. Do really a £200,000 worth it in value? no, and I have few friends that build these cars. But for any customer that is looking for low cost you may find one that will say he is looking for quality and that means more expensive.

    So what to do : I think the best is what you actually do , offer all qualities and prices levels- and be bold so you can offer a Rolls Royce product at a Rolls Royce price and a Kaya for a kaya person.

    But you probably know it all, long before me, Wonderful photo that will work far better than low a price and a must I think on your home page.
This reply was deleted.

You need to be a member of Landscape Juice Network to add comments!

Join Landscape Juice Network

PRO Supplier

A recent school grounds seminar held at Charterhouse in Surrey has been hailed a huge success by all who attended.

The event attracted over 50 delegates from all levels as several topical issues were explored and discussed. Supported by…

Read more…

Open forum activity

David Benson replied to Gary's discussion Industry never ceases to amaze me
"its amazing i wounder if its ajustable for differant size balls"
4 hours ago
Glen Stillman replied to Gary's discussion Industry never ceases to amaze me
"That's amazing, do they do one for cubes?
 "
4 hours ago
John Culpin replied to Ben Gooding's discussion Pressure washing detergents
"This recipe is reccomended on the Paving Expert website. I know the guy (Roger) who first posted the recipe - he runs a very susccessful pressure washing company.
I have used it on a brown/buff Indian sandstone as well as some block paving with it -…"
5 hours ago
Connor Galbraith and Mike Baker joined Landscape Juice Network
6 hours ago
Gary posted a discussion
6 hours ago
Paul Doyle replied to James Macleod's discussion pa1 / pa6 exam
"and well done!!!
 "
6 hours ago
Paul Doyle replied to James Macleod's discussion pa1 / pa6 exam
"your not alone!!!"
6 hours ago
Fleur Voice posted a blog post
 
“Gardening programmes tend to be very ‘traditional’ white middle-class in their attitude towards gardening”, Julia Sargeant said in an interview after she won gold at Chelsea Flower Show in 2016. She was the first black gardener to design a Chelse…
7 hours ago
Steven Mills replied to Peter sellers's discussion budget scarifier
"I picked up an Einhell at the back end of last year and have been pleased with it."
8 hours ago
Gary replied to James Macleod's discussion pa1 / pa6 exam
"Well done. It's been a pretty challenging day out there today...
 "
10 hours ago
Jon Davidson replied to James Macleod's discussion pa1 / pa6 exam
"Passed my PA6 exam today in far from ideal weather conditions, but onwards and upwards and looking forward to using the knowledge come better weather!"
10 hours ago
Liam Wetherall replied to Joe McWilliams's discussion weed kill
"Hi joe, 
chemical weed control is always  my last solution but many unwelcome weeds find their way into drives and the cracks between paving.
most weed killers work best when the application of the herbicide occurs during several days of dry weather…"
14 hours ago
Glen Stillman replied to Peter sellers's discussion budget scarifier
"+ 1 for the einhell. I had an older model than this but was very pleased with it for the money. Had it for three years I think before it died a death, but I was using for far more than it was designed for. I thought it did a really good job, and the…"
15 hours ago
Richard Farley replied to Peter sellers's discussion budget scarifier
"Hi I bought one of these Einhell machines about 4 years ago it does a decent job on my lawn a a few others I use it on every year.I m more than happy with it and for what it its great.
Regards Charlie"
15 hours ago
Fusion Media posted a blog post
Weed-free soil with just one applicationUNIQUE residual turf herbicide, Valdor® Flex, is now available from Agrovista Amenity.Valdor Flex was introduced to the UK turf and amenity market last year and has been widely praised for providing excellent…
16 hours ago
Adrian Noble posted a discussion
We are getting emails every day which proclaim to come for our website provider "1&1 Ionos", but are in fact a scam.If you are a 1&1 customer make sure you don't open any emails with this address :- hostingsecurity@ionos.co.uk
16 hours ago
More…