By Fabian Sandler
The year was 1970. The Beatles broke up. Four students at Kent State University in Ohio were shot and killed by National Guard troops. President Nixon ordered the invasion of Cambodia. Gasoline was 36 cents a gallon, and a gallon of milk cost $1.15. The Houston Oilers completed their eleventh season, while the Houston Astros started their ninth. The average price of a new house was $26,000.
That is the year that Jim Lagrappe started Allstate Siding and Windows. “He had worked in the business. He traveled all across the country in the aluminum siding business,” Jim’s son, Jimmy, explains. “He was flying in a plane coming into Atlanta and the landing gear wouldn’t come down. He was in the air for three hours because they were going to do a belly landing. He said that if he ever made it off the plane alive, he would do something that he could stay home, and open up his own company or work for somebody down here. What happened was that the landing gear was down, the [cockpit] light never indicated. But he had a lot of time to think. So that’s basically what happened. He stayed here. He had worked for some other people in the industry and finally my mom pushed him to go on his own and he finally did it. The rest is history.”
Jimmy explains that the siding industry has changed quite a bit since those days. “Back then they were still selling aluminum and vinyl siding. That didn’t break until about the time I came in. There’s no longer a big demand for vinyl down here.”
Jimmy has been in the business since 1979. “This is the only thing I’ve ever done,” he says. “I’ve never done anything else besides this.”
Jim is now eighty-eight years old. “He still comes to the office every day,” Jimmy states. Jim lives in Atascocita, traveling to the office on Southwest Freeway. “He has his social gathering at the House of Pie with his buddies. They have their fellowship talk till about 10 o’clock, comes into the office about 10:30 or 11. Then he goes and gets lunch and comes back. He says, ‘Ya’ll call me if you need me,’ and he heads to the house, usually around 3 o’clock,” Jimmy laughs.
“We’re what you call a real family business,” Jimmy continues. “It’s just my brother Patrick and I, my sister Mary; we have office staff, and my dad. We don’t have any other salespeople besides my brother and me. I have some staff members that help me facilitate the jobs and do all the ordering of the products.”
Jimmy is the oldest, followed by Patrick and younger sibling Mary. “He’s given me grief [about Jimmy being the oldest] my whole life,” Jimmy deadpans. There are two other brothers, John and Mark. John is a criminal attorney and Mark is in the food business.
“We’re an exterior company. We handle exterior sidings such as Hardie Plank, Smartside, Mastic Structure siding. We handle windows that are made in Texas, that are made for this climate,’ Jimmy attests.
Manufacturers’ warranties, of course, are in effect on the products that Allstate Siding and Windows offers. But labor is also covered. Jimmy explains, “We stand behind our labor for as long as the siding warranty, and we stand behind our windows. We have glass breakage warranties on our windows. As far as our labor, if it’s put up properly, the way the manufacturers say, it should stay on there. It should not be an issue with these products. And there hasn’t been. We’ve been in business a long time.
The specials that are available include 30% off energy-efficient security windows, up to $2,500 off on a complete Hardie Siding and trim job, up to $2,500 on a complete structure siding and trim job, and a senior citizen discount. Cash discounts are available. Allstate Siding and Windows also offers a no payment, no interest plan until 2020.
Allstate Siding and Windows is the recipient of the NT Windows 2016 Presidential Dealer of the Year Award. They are a preferred dealer for Hardie and Mastic.
The office is located at 5750 Bintliff, Suite 200, in Houston. Office hours are 8 AM to 6 PM Monday through Friday and 9AM to 1PM on Saturday. The telephone number is 832-204-1936. The website is www.allstatesidingandwindows.com. Check out their Facebook page as well.
When asked why a customer would choose Allstate Siding and Windows over another company, Jimmy does not hesitate. “Longevity, the fact that we stood the test of time. When it comes to installation, we think our installation stands alone. We handle the customer from start to finish. Customer service can either make you or break you. The key to customer service is: If there’s a problem, how quickly can you solve it? Once we get a call or email, how quickly do you handle it? It’s very important to handle it in a timely manner, especially in this day and age. You’re trying your best to achieve that.
“It’s all about how you handle it, from the time you place the order until the time you respond to the customer,” Jimmy continues. “Communication with the customer is real important. The fact that we’ve been around for as long as we have, they’ll have peace of mind once the job has been completed, that we are going to still be around in the future.”
Jimmy’s comments are verified in one review on Allstate Siding and Window’s Facebook page: “We had Patrick come out and give us a quote, very easy to deal with. He bragged on the installers they had, and said they been with them many years. The material was ordered, and delivered on site as they said it was, neatly stacked and organized. The installers showed up when they said they would. They removed old siding, and made repairs as needed to the 1980 home, then installed new OSB, wrapped house in Tyvec, put metal where required, and finally installed new siding. They did an awesome job in cleaning up every day and finishing the house. In an era where we wait for the bad part to come with this high level of work, I am very happy to say there was no bad part, the wife and I are very happy with their work and the business. They did what they committed to do and said they would. I would hire them again, no doubt.”
The average price of a new house in February of this year, according to the U.S. Census, was $376,700, a far cry from what it was in 1970 when Jim opened Allstate Siding and Windows. New windows and siding will only enhance the beauty of a home, as well as increase its value. Jimmy is right. Longevity, for both Allstate Siding and Windows and their customers, do stand the test of time.