By Fabian Sandler
Actors and athletes strive to perform to their highest ability at their craft, with the best receiving recognition through awards or trophies. Actors covet winning an Oscar, while athletes aspire to be honored with a medal, trophy or award respective to their field.
Businesses are no different. Best Investments Siding and Windows has reached the pinnacle of its industry on many occasions, as well. Vice President Terry Vaughan recently accepted the 2017 Pinnacle Award from Deborah Duncan and Dan Parsons, president of the Better Business Bureau, at the Bayou City Event Center. The company also won the Dealer of the Year Award from North Texas in April 2017, presented by Mike Chambers from North Texas Windows, a major window manufacturer.
“We’ve gotten that award for the last four or five years in a row,” Owner Jerry Gerald attests proudly. The Dealer of the Year Award is given to only two contractors per year in the entire State of Texas that best exemplifies the retailer that conducts business in the highest professional manner possible, among other criteria.
Although Terry is officially the vice president, he simply and humbly calls himself a salesman. “I’ve been working for Jerry since 1983, and he’s never given me a rubber check in thirty-four years,” Terry laughs.
Other forms of recognition come from unexpected places. “Call my granddad. He’s the best service, quality, and best price. He’s the best!” extols Cameron, who at six years old is the youngest of Jerry’s grandchildren.
Jerry smiles, quickly stating, “We’ve been serving Texas for over forty years, and have had the same telephone number for over thirty-four years, and have been at this location for thirty years.”
He adds, “We are a family owned business with old fashioned values. We love our time with our grandsons, Travis and Cameron, and our granddaughter Jordan, and our oldest daughter Joy. Love, family, and friends are what life is all about. Building customer relationships is also important. We have had people praying for us, as well as we were praying for them in their time of need. We are blessed to live in this area and the love that is displayed through Atascocita United Methodist Church. I wish more folks in the community would visit United Methodist Church and feel the love.”
Best Investments Windows and Siding has been a member of the Houston Chapter of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) since 1988. Jerry has been on their Board for the past several years. He follows the strict code of ethics that NARI has along ago established. As a member of NARI, Best Investments has the ability to enrich its knowledge with cutting edge educational opportunities and certifications, and is allowed unlimited use of the NARI logo, giving the consumer peace of mind when dealing with the business that things will be done right and to their satisfaction.
Jerry reminds his customers that they should be careful when selecting their contractor, demanding some research and close scrutiny.
“The number one problem in getting a contractor is that people may get enticed by the price they are given. ‘Oh, that guy is two thousand dollars less than Jerry Gerald. Let’s go with him,’” Jerry explains. “And then they have to sacrifice either the quality of workmanship or they’re cutting back on the materials. We won’t be the cheapest, and we won’t be the highest, but we will do the job right,” Jerry states, adding, “We are a company that you can trust and a company that backs its warranty.
One of Jerry’s priorities is to make sure that customers are not taken advantage. “I want to try to help people more in making a wise decision because there are so many unscrupulous contractors out there. What I wanted to do to help people out is to explain how to find a good contractor,” the owner states. “Buyers beware. In the State of Texas, you do not need to be licensed in order to be a contractor. That is why you should check out the company before you sign a contract. If a contractor wants to better themselves, they will be a part of a trade organization. A good source of information is the Greater Homebuilders Association (GHBA), or NARI. Both are non-profit organizations and both offer contractors programs to be certified in a specific field.
Jerry has some suggestions on what to look for when choosing a contractor:
- Do not sign a contract the first day, even if the price sounds too good to be true.
- Read the contract or proposal carefully and ask questions.
- Check them out with the Better Business Bureau. Their phone number is 713-868-9500. They have an automated system that you can find out about the contractor, if they have any complaints. It also tells you how long they have been in business. You can find out when they joined the BBB. Most contractors say they have been doing business for twenty years, but may have joined the BBB just a few years ago. The contractor may have worked for other companies, or he went out of business and filed a new DBA to start all over again.
- Look at the license plate on their truck. Make sure it’s a Texas plate and write it down.
- Do not give them any money down, at least until some work has been done or they start the job.
- Call NARI at 713-621-NARI, or GHBA at 281-970-8970, to see if the contractor that you’re thinking of is a member.
- Check their references and call them to get their opinion of the work performed.
- Ask for a copy of their insurance and call the insurance company to make sure the policy is paid up.
- Ask the company if they do a criminal background check on their installers before allowing them into your home.
- Do a Google search to make sure they have a business location and not working out of their home.
“These are just a few helpful hints just to help you get started, to make sure you pick the right contractor,” the owner suggests.
Jerry does not forget his community. In 2014, Best Investments Siding and Windows donated 36 windows to the Habitat for Humanity, giving back to the community to help others in need. He has been on the Program and Souvenir Committee for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo for over twenty years, and supports the Youth for Tomorrow. He is on the Golf Committee for the Atascocita United Methodist Church, taking part in the raising of over fifteen thousand dollars this year for their community.
Terry is the Vice President of Publicity for NARI for Houston and Southwest Texas. Jerry is also a vice president and treasurer for NARI.
Jerry offers all the major brands of windows that include Marvin, Pella, Andersen, Simonton, NT Window. The company is a preferred contractor on the James Hardie website. A broad selection of siding is available as well, along with stonework for the front exposure or fireplace of a home. If a customer is looking to screen in their patio, Best Investments can handle it. Jerry is a certified roof installer with GAF Timberline, as well.
Best Investments Siding and Windows covers almost everything around the exterior. “We do doors, insulated patio doors, we even do hurricane impact windows, we do roofing, siding, patio covers, little room enclosures, stone work,” Jerry says. “We’re a name you can trust and a company that backs its warranty.”
Uppermost in Jerry’s mind is the welfare of his customers when providing that service. “We can lower people’s utility bills up to $100 a month by putting in insulated windows,” Jerry says. “Insulated windows do more than just cut down on your electric bill. They cut down on your dust, they cut down on noise; it’s quieter in the house. I don’t sell a window unless it has a lifetime warranty on seal failure. Most of those seals fail within five to seven years.” This attitude lends credence to the company’s slogan: A name you can trust, a company that backs its warranty.
“Best Investments Siding and Windows is unique because we have had an excellent reputation with the BBB for thirty-nine years,” Jerry states. “We are unique in the industry by having an almost unheard of Customer Satisfaction Rating of 97.5% by Guild Quality Service, Inc. And finally, Best Investments does not ask our customers for a deposit or down payment before the job has started. This is a rarity in this industry.
“What we’re trying to do is help people get their home fixed up and help them lower their energy bill,” Jerry summarizes. There is a testimonial on their website, www.bestinvestmentssidingandwindows.com, from one of their customers. “We lowered her bill the very first month $100 – this is in the middle of the summer, when we had all those 100 degree temperatures. The second month, we lowered her bill $155,” Jerry commented. The website contains blog sites and a link to Facebook. Hence the “Best Investments” part of the company’s name. It’s a comprehensive website, with before and after pictures.
Since 1987, the business has been located at 12314 FM 1960. The phone number is 281-852-1866. Jerry’s cell phone number is 832-524-0216. The website is, once again, www.bestinvestmentssidingandwindows.com
“On behalf of Best Investments Siding and Windows, we want to thank all of our previous customers for doing business with us and entrusting us to do your work and our future customers who are fixing to call us,” Jerry affirms.
When asked the all important question as to why a customer would choose Best Investments Siding and Windows, Jerry, an All-Star in his industry, explains, “It comes down to two words: Trust and communication. Our past builds our future.”