Sears Home Services Home Improvement, both a marketing arm for the sale of home remodeling services and a go-between during the course of the project, seems to be everywhere: coupon booklets, freebie newspapers, TV ads, and of course, in Sears stores. What is it? Is it any different from other contractor-matching services?
Sears' Brand Name: Good, Bad, or Indifferent?Sears Home Services capitalizes on the Sears brand name. For people of a certain age, the name Sears still carries some cachet. For younger consumers, the Sears brand may carry little weight or even a negative connotation if they are familiar with Sears Holding Corporation's flirtation with bankruptcy in 2009-2010.
The home improvement arm of Florida-based Sears Home Services markets and sells siding, garage door installation, replacement windows, HVAC, cabinet refacing, and kitchen remodeling. Its connection to the familiar brick-and-mortar Sears stores is tenuous at best. Sears stores act more as marketing vehicles for Sears Home Services.
What Happens When You Call Sears Home ImprovementAs a homeowner, you will be dealing with two Sears Home Services employees--the initial salesperson and the project coordinator--and with the third-party contractors and tradesmen.
First, you talk to the salesperson. If you purchase a home improvement service, the project moves into the pipeline with the Sears project coordinator.
The project coordinator hands off the job to a contractor or tradesman who is associated with Sears but is not an employee of Sears.
This contractor comes to your home for an initial inspection before performing the work. By now, you are effectively dealing mainly with that contractor. The project coordinator is always there to keep the project on track and to pass information to the contractor.
The Sears Home Services Project CoordinatorEvery contractor doing a job has a project coordinator of some sort. It could be administrative staff back at the office...or simply the contractor himself. The level of care can vastly range from detail-oriented to no care at all.
The project coordinator does have a responsibility to see the project to completion and to keep the customer happy. Additionally, the project coordinator keeps a roster of contractors that he/she feels is most trustworthy. Since most online contractor-finding services like ServiceMagic are not locally represented, they do not have a feeling for which contractors are good or bad.
Q: Are You Limited to Sears Products?A: Consumers are not limited to Sears-branded products. Sears has a few house brands in the home improvement area. But other than a few Kenmore products for kitchen remodeling and HVAC, there is not much of an opportunity for Sears to cross-sell in the home improvement section.
Q: How Much Do You Pay Sears Home Services?A: As a consumer, you never know. Certainly, Sears gets a cut off of the job for setting up the deal and keeping the ship on course; nothing comes for free. But these costs are hidden from the consumer.
Benefits of Using Sears Home Services
- Project coordinator to keep project on track and to police the contractors.
- Greater accountability than dealing with a no-name company.
- One year limited warranty on installation.
Downside of Using Sears Home Services
- Hidden middleman costs.
- Potentially slower process because of the added middleman layer.