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The Company

These “bad” home improvement companies usually have an owner who remains aloof of the sales force. He can have even three managers in control of the operation. One manager will handle the actual construction efforts. Another manager will control the call center or “boiler room” operation where dozens of annoying people bother you on the phone. The third manager will control the sales force. Sometimes the sales manager will also control the canvassers who prowl neighborhoods looking for leads.

A trio like this will be at each branch office.

In the case of Sears, at each branch office there are additional “super salesmen” who lord it over the lower salesmen. These “super salesmen” are called FSMs.

Often the branch offices can all be different corporations. This is done to limit liability … if a branch gets sued then the suit usually stops at the local level. Some home improvement companies have learned their lesson the hard way. In one case, the call center was operated from a central facility for all of the branches. The Attorney General of the state prosecuted the company for egregious violations of the Do Not Call list. The corporation was fined hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The people who install the materials sold to you might not be employees of the company. They can be subcontractors. This becomes a bit interesting when one discovers that Sears will subcontract some window installations to a competing company. Yes, they can hire their own competition as installers for the “Sears” products.

The liability problem gets even more interesting when the installers start burglarizing the home. Carpeting is purchased at May Company and the installers come to make the installation. They bring the carpet into the home and take jewelry and gold clocks back to the truck. The police are called, installers are caught with the goods in the truck and people are hauled away in cuffs. May Company refuses any liability. Sue them they say.

In another case, the home improvement company is contracted to install a new roof. The company does not have enough material for the job but starts anyway. When they run out of materials they just use whatever they have. The homeowner is told to just go up on the roof and paint the wrong colored parts of the roof with spray paint. Which is what the homeowners did.

Just because the nearest branch office is 150 miles from your home does not mean that the salesman who visits you did not come from that office. He probably did.

In the case of Sears, the call center is in Florida and the branch offices are scattered all over.

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