By Beth N. Gray
SPRING HILL — Front and center of a new 16,000-square-foot headquarters for Discount Garage Doors is a first-ever sales and display room to greet customers.
"Previously, we had sales reps we'd send out with samples," said operations manager Will Faulkner. The company was housed in the Brooksville airport industrial complex. "Now, we have a place for people to come."
The sales center shows off 10 popular door styles — 100 are available — plus three automatic door openers and 19 plaques and awards attesting to the firm's quality service.
The building also houses DGD's corporate headquarters, staffed by 40 employees. The firm counts seven locations with 65 workers serving 18 counties from here to Tampa, Orlando and Gainesville.
"We're proud to call Hernando County our home base," said Jack Dickerson, who founded the company in 2002 as a one-man show in a 10-foot square shed. "We still focus on the same core values of great same-day service and quality parts that allowed us to grow into the company we are today."
Service calls make up slightly more than half of what Faulkner calls a "very competitive" business in Hernando County. Of some dozen garage door firms, half are devoted to servicing door problems, he said.
Unusual among providers, DGD charges no service fees for house calls or cost estimates. Others assess a call charge, but essentially waive it if the customer purchases its service or product, Faulkner said.
DGD technicians are available 24/7, and same-day-service is offered.
"A lot of time, we can be there in an hour," Faulkner said. "It depends on where we are. That's why we have a lot of technicians, 18 throughout the state, plus 40 trucks. Our service techs start at 7 a.m., are available till 9 p.m., and after that we have emergency techs. That's how we grew our company, getting out there quickly and doing the job at a fair price."
The company advertises that if a customer finds a better price for a comparable product or service, DGD will better that price by 5 percent.
It would come as no surprise to homeowners that most callers report a broken garage door spring. Longevity of a spring, generally three to seven years, depends on its usage.
"Most people use their garage door as their entry," Faulkner said, adding that if a door is activated 20 times a day, its springs can give out in three years. "Most new homes have cheaper quality springs. The springs we use are rated to last 10 years."
That's what brought Audrey Holley of Brooksville to DGD.
"We had (the door) installed in '04. I guess it just got fatigued," she said. "They came right out. The man explained everything. He worked with my husband. I'm satisfied."
On the Spring Hill staff, 12 installers field 20 to 30 calls daily. Ninety percent from homeowners, mostly of older homes. Generally, they want upgrades to the latest hurricane codes, Faulkner said.
DGD installers and technicians receive in-house, on-the-job training, plus annual retraining as new products are added to the line, he said.
Beyond door style, choices are offered on door material and color, automatic openers, hand-operated or motorized screens and associated features such as remote controls and LED lighting. Most popular double doors start at $789, singles at $500, motorized screens from $1500, replacing a spring from $235.
"We're thrilled that they're here, and they've grown ... from office administration, to call center to potential technicians," said Hernando County economic development supervisor Valarie Pianta.
DGD opened its new headquarters in December and will celebrate a grand opening on March 2.
Contact Beth Gray at firstname.lastname@example.org.