by Greg Houghton
The Suburban Star
Small businesses just starting out would do well to heed the old business saying, “Stand by your work.”
New in the marketplace, they likely don’t have the resources to embark on a big marketing campaign. So they’d better let their work output do the talking.
A south suburban business owner, Ralph Weber, learned that lesson around 1976. Some 27 years later, he still lives by it.
His business, Weber & Sons Windows & Siding, does everything possible to let its work speak for itself.
One of Weber’s primary selling tools is to urge prospective customers to look at his company’s projects. Blessed with a memory for numbers, he rattles off street addresses where Weber projects were recently completed or are in midstream.
He also hands out fliers filled with more addresses.
If customers want to see still more, Weber powers up his computer and shows volumes of photos of his company’s work. Some images show a home before and after getting a Weber-style makeover in new siding or windows.
“Go see the work that a contractor has done. Talk to his customers. I’d recommend that for any improvement a homeowner is considering, not just siding or windows,” Weber said from his showroom office in the Home Improvement Showcase in Orland Park.
“In our case, I welcome for any prospective customer to pick an address at random. They should go to that address, knock on the door and ask the owners if they are not 100 percent happy with the work we did for them,” he said.
Weber’s company is in Oak Forest and still does much work in that village.
“We have done probably 1,600 homes in Oak Forest,” he said with a chuckle. “There are only 7,000 homes is the town.”
The company has doubled in volume in the past four years and wants to do more work in Tinley Park, Orland Park and surrounding towns, he said.
According to Weber, quality materials and craftsmanship are his company’s keys to success.
“We have been successful because we sell value,” he said. “We are not the lowest-priced in our market. Nor are we the highest. I think our workmanship is the best you will find.”
A native of Oak Lawn, Weber said he taught himself the trades of replacing home siding and installing windows, using mathematics skills he acquired in college.
In turn, he and sons Dan and Dave teach employees what he calls “the Weber way” of exterior improvements.
“We pride ourselves on being fast as well as precise. Doing siding with trim, soffit, fascia, shutters and gutters, we can do 20 squares in a day,” he said, using trade slang for 2,000 square feet. “We can usually have a whole house done in three days.”
An example of a quality touch is the Weber company’s technique with soffit installation. Where other installers might fasten a piece of soffit twice, Weber’s crew fastens each piece in four places, he said.
Weber & Sons uses materials that have a lifetime non-prorated guarantee of quality. Main suppliers are Alcoa and Alside. Weber-installed soffits and sidings are usually of heavier gauge to assure long life and better appearance, he said.
Vinyl replacement windows by Thermal Industries are custom-made for every window opening, he said.
Today’s appearance-conscious customers are requesting fancier window solutions for their homes, Weber said.
Custom-built bay windows and bow windows are gaining in popularity. So are ornamental glass treatments that resemble leaded and beveled glass.
“People should know, too, that vinyl can be cleaned to look like new,” Weber said. “That’s not the case with aluminum, which is subject to oxidation.”
The company will work year-round, often making fine adjustment to measurements to compensate for temperatures. According to Weber, his crews can install in January as long as the wind chill is above zero degrees.
Weber tells customers his crew members doing siding are employees, not sub-contractors.
“There is a big difference,” he said. “They know they are going to be paid in a day and are concerned about doing the best work they can. Sub-contractors want to work as fast as possible so they can go to the next job.
“We take no shortcuts in the work we do,” Weber said.
More information on Weber & Sons Windows & Siding is at (708) 687-9083 or on the Internet at the company site, rweberandsons.com.previewyoursites.com.