What to expect when your stairs are measured for a stairlift

By Chris Clayton

To know how much a stairlift will cost you and if you can have a stairlift fitted on your staircase (and what type), you'll have to get a stairlift company to come out and assess your staircase.

Fortunately, the vast majority of stairlift companies will do an assessment of your staircase for free. You just need to contact companies and ask them to come out. But there is a catch with these free assessments. But before we talk about what the catch is, let's look at what will happen during their visit to your house to see if you can have a stairlift.

They'll assess your staircase

When a representative (and it will be one person) of the stairlift company arrives at your house, the first thing they will do is to assess your staircase to see if it is possible to safely install a stairlift. They will measure the width of the stairs, see if there is enough space to park the stairlift at the bottom or top etc...

If some modifications are needed to be made to or around the staircase to fit a stairlift (e.g. removing a handrail, adding a mains socket etc...), the representative will inform you about these and explain what you need to do.

If they believe a stairlift cannot be safely fitted, they will explain why it can't and leave.

They'll answer any questions you have

You can ask them any questions you have about using and installing a stairlift. In addition, if the person who the stairlift is for has never used a stairlift before, you can ask them to arrange a visit to try one before buying in the house of one of their customers.

They'll explain your stairlift options

If a stairlift can be fitted, the representative will go through the options that you have (whether it be fitting a straight stairlift or a curved stairlift, and the different types of models and brands that you can have). They will carry with them material which will show you the different options that they can offer you and explain the differences of how each of the stairlifts is used and fitted.

They will then provide you with quotes for how much each of the different options will cost you.

If this was all they did, it would be perfect. But it isn't. So let's now look at what the catch of these free stairlift assessments are.

They will try to get you to buy there and then

What you have to realise is that the person who will come out to assess your staircase for a stairlift is basically a salesman. They work on commission for every stairlift they sell. So it's in their own best interest to get you to buy a stairlift when they are visiting your house.

And as most of them take a percentage of the sale as commission, the original quote they will give you will be higher (and often a lot higher) than they can actually sell you the stairlift for and still make a profit for the company.

Apart from them telling you if a stairlift can be fitted safely (which they will not lie about) and how it is used, take everything else they tell you with a pinch of salt. They are skilled at what they do (i.e. selling) and can use various techniques to persuade or pressurise you into buying a stairlift from them there and then (e.g. telling you it's a one-off deal which you need to make there and then etc...).

What you should do

Not matter what they say or promise, don't buy a stairlift when the representative is at your house. You need time to consider your options and compare the offers/quotes you have received from the various companies (not only price, but what's included (e.g. what the warranty cover, service visits etc...)).

Another advantage of waiting is that all the companies will reduce their prices. In the days after their visits, you'll find that all the companies you've had out will contact you with a special offer. You'll be very pleasantly surprised by how much the quotes fall by.

To find out how to reduce the amount you pay for a stairlift, read my article on 'Lowering the price you pay for a stairlift'.

In conclusion

The only way you'll know if a stairlift can be fitted (and get quotes) on your staircase is to get stairlift companies (and you should always get at least 3 companies to come out) to see it. Be prepared for the representative trying to persuade/manipulate you into buying a stairlift from them when they are at your house. But not matter what the representative says or offers, don't. By waiting before you make a decision, you'll substantially reduce what you'll end up paying.