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May 16, 2019, 4:01 p.m.

Carport reviews and complaints: who should you buy a carport from?

Boxed Eave Roof Style
Boxed Eave Roof Style

When it comes to the US carport and garage business, it’s not easy knowing who to buy carport from and how to interpret the carport reviews and complaints that you might find online. Certainly, the level of transparency in this industry can be improved and that is the primary purpose of this series of articles. My goal is to provide open communication and information to customers so that you are informed when it comes to the business processes in the carport industry. Transparency is important in any business relationship. Establishing a consistent pattern of open communication keeps customers happy and it helps create long-lasting professional relationships.

The first step in acquiring a carport or garage that includes delivery and installation is to decide how you are going to purchase your carport. There two primary options when it comes to buying and they generally are:

  • Local carport reseller or carport dealer
  • Internet reseller or online carport dealer

Most carport manufacturers do not sell directly to the public. Similar to buying a car, most manufacturers utilize authorized dealers to sell the product. The manufacturers focus on the manufacturing and the logistics of delivering and installing the product. When it comes to selecting who to buy from, the decision is yours and the outlets for those products are many –both online and local ‘brick and mortar’ carport dealers. When researching carport review and complaints, in many cases, the carport manufacturer is named. In a few cases, you’ll see the carport dealer named. When it comes to the dealers, there are advantages and disadvantages to buying carport from either and we will discuss those here so that you can make your selection with all of the information that you need.

The bulk of all carports and garages purchased in the US are purchased from local carport dealers. Most of those dealerships are small retail locations that have carports, garages, and barns on display. There are usually four to eight carport and garage displays at the dealer’s location so that prospective customers can see a good selection of colors and options that are available. Most of those dealers also sell another product or other products. As a general rule, for most local resellers, carport and garage sales alone will not sustain the business. In order to stay in business, they usually have to sell other products.

Carport Dealers

The best local carport dealers that have the least amount of carport complaints are those that sell some type of skid-mounted portable building. They tend to have better carport reviews online there are several reasons for that. They are:

  1. Their focus is on selling buildings. Whether it is the skid-mounted storage shed, a carport, or a garage, selling buildings is what keeps them in business.
  2. They are generally more knowledgeable that the average dealer with just one or two displays. They are most familiar with the products and with the options.
  3. They are a ‘local’ and they are someone that a local customer can contact locally if you have a problem or issue.

If you are going to buy locally, our advice is to select a carport dealer that has been in business for quite some time. They have better product knowledge than someone that has just started selling these products and they have should have a good relationship with the manufacturer. If the local dealer has many displays and has been in business for a long time, chances are good that you will get exactly what you need. Manufacturers reward local dealers with more than just two or three displays because those dealers do a good job. Those displays are placed at the local dealer on consignment by the manufacturer and the more they have, the better they are with the customer and in knowing the product options so that the customer can make a better buying decision.

Buy Carports

When it comes to buying metal carports and garages from a local dealer, it is advisable to buy carport from one that has numerous displays, sells a line of portable buildings, and that has been in business for quite some time. They should be more knowledgeable and reputable than those local carport dealers with only one or two displays. They will have better carport reviews and fewer carport complaints.

While the bulk of all carports and garages sold in the US are sold by local dealers and the reason for that is because there are far more local dealers as compared to Internet carport dealers and garage dealers. It requires a tremendous amount of effort and capital to create a truly good internet site and to promote it. There may be hundreds of internet sites offering carports, but you will only find ten to twenty online because of the capital invested in promoting them. That doesn’t mean they are good. It simply means that you can find them.

The top Internet carport dealers are going to be more knowledgeable than almost any local carport dealer simply because of the volume of business that they do. Carports and garages are generally their only method of generating revenue so they have to be better than the local dealer. They are usually better trained and are updated on product components more frequently. There are a few select local carport dealers that do have the product knowledge and have the skills to give the customer exactly what they need. Of the 10,000 or so local carport dealerships in the US, 100 or so are probably excellent. Yes, 1% of all of the local carport dealers in the US are excellent, 10% are average, and the remaining 89% are poorly equipped to assist the customer. That contributes to poor carport reviews and complaints.

Online Carport Dealers

Regarding those internet dealers, the volume of customers that they touch truly dwarfs those touched by the local carport dealer. As more and more people choose to shop online, more and more choose to buy buildings online. It’s easy. The level of professionalism is generally higher than those of a local dealer and the product knowledge is excellent. That, however, doesn’t mean all internet carport dealers have the same values and ethics!

As you know, as markets become highly competitive, larger companies, such as the online carport dealers, are pushed to sell, sell, sell. They are coached to SELL all of the options and sell as many as possible, in order to maximize commissions. Let’s face it, all businesses are in business to make money. Some are in business to make as much money as possible and some are in business to truly help the customer and that allows them to sustain their business. Always look for the latter!

Many Internet carport companies, while some are quite knowledgeable, are pushy to the point of they remind you of the local, sleazy used car salesman. Some are loud, mouthy, and simply won’t let you talk. They bombard the prospected customer with e-mails, almost harassing you to buy. Unfortunately, there’s a few of those in any business type. If today’s customers are getting that kind of response from the seller, then most walk away and they should.

Some Internet carport companies offer ‘trinket promotions’ to entice you to buy. Most of those trinket promotions are ordered by the container load from China and have no real value. One, in particular, comes to mind and I have to ask, “Are you really going to put those fabric sides on your carport?” Another ‘freebie’ is a solar-powered garage light. The ones offered are those cheap lights where you must drill a hole in the roof of the carport in order to install the light. If you want one of those solar lights, order one from Amazon and get the side mounted panel for about the same price as you’ll pay for shipping and handling on the freebie solar light. The truth of the matter is, you usually have to pay for shipping and handling in order to get most of those trinkets and the truth of the matter is that the shipping and handling aren’t worth the cost of the trinket! Still, the decision is yours to make.

Here are some good general guidelines to help you select an online carport re-seller:

  1. Check carport reviews and complaints online
  2. Stay away from high-pressure sales people that bombard you with e-mails and calls
  3. Stay away from ‘trinket offers’. If you’re offered a free upgrade to the building itself, that is real value
  4. Ask your salesperson these questions:
    • If I can’t get approved for a building permit, will you refund my down payment in full?
    • If I want to cancel my order because delivery has been delayed, can I do so and will you refund my down payment in full?
    • If I have a problem, who is my contact person?
    • What if my site isn’t level?
    • Ask yourself these questions:
      • Did the salesperson or the website say anything about your site being level?
      • Did the salesperson ask if you needed a building permit?
      • Did the sales person offer me other options?
        • Were they pushy about them?
        • If they didn’t offer you other options and inform you about them, should I buy from them
  1. Will you need to sign a contract? Always get a written, signed contract!

Buying a carport or garage should be a good experience. In most instances, the product is excellent and the experience, especially with ethical online carport companies is usually a good one.  When you consider the volume of units installed across the US annually, easily more than 100,000 each year, the volume of complaints found the online number less than 300 annually. That’s 3/10ths of 1%! Transparency is the key at the point of initial contact with the sales person, to the manufacturing and customer service, up to and through the installation process.

Read the carport complaints and reviews for product manufacturing and customer service and for the installation process in the coming days on our blog. Any customer, whatever they are buying, should be fully informed on what to expect with any product. Transparency is the first step to ensuring that you, the customer, are happy and delighted with the service and with the product that they have selected. At the end of the day, that is what matters most!

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