If you’ve been shopping for a home stair lift, you may have received estimates that vary significantly in price. If so, you’re probably asking yourself why one provider is willing to install a new straight rail stair lift for $1,999 and one is quoting a cost of $3,000 to $ 4,000 for a similar product.
The answer to this question usually comes down to two factors.
- The quality of the stair lift
- The qualifications and experience of the stair lift installer
Many of the stair lifts advertised online are sold by companies without local installers of their own. They often have a network of handymen throughout the country that subcontract to handle their installations. Some websites may even market do-it-yourself installation. While these handymen may be able to get the job done, it is recommended by most stair lift manufacturers that you use a licensed and authorized local dealer. They also recommend that you DO NOT install a stair lift yourself.
There are several reasons for these recommendations.
- Many states, including Connecticut, Minnesota, and Rhode Island, require that a stair lift installer be licensed by the state. Most (but not all) authorized dealers will hold the required state licenses.
- Many states require a permit and inspection for residential stair lifts and a licensed dealer is likely to be familiar with these regulations.
- Authorized dealers typically receive factory training and certification for the stair lift being installed.
- Licensed and authorized dealers will provide reliable service and maintenance to their customers. Often, handymen or subcontracted installers will not offer service after the installation is complete and labor is not typically covered under manufacturer warranties.
It is especially important to use an authorized provider when installing a curved rail stair lift. The rail for a curved stair lift is custom-made to fit your staircase and it is important to get precise measurements and installation from a factory-trained provider.
While a straight rail stair lift may seem like a simple installation compared to other types of accessibility equipment (vertical platform wheelchair lifts, overhead ceiling lifts, etc.), it is still wise to use an experienced and licensed provider. While the cost may be slightly more than some online retailers, the safety, reassurance, quality and value of using an expert with the proper training and certifications is well worth it.