There is an old saying, “A jack-of-all-trades, master of none.” Some business owners and operators would have you believe that this great concept is no longer valid and that it should be discarded as an outdated notion. Consumers are forced to entertain the idea that the era of “experts” is over. NOT at Wilson’s Home Improvement. At Wilson’s Home Improvement, we pride ourselves in being the absolute best at siding and window installation. We don’t do roofs. We don’t do asphalt driveways. We don’t do bathroom remodels or install generators. We leave the bathroom remodels to the plumbing professionals, and generators to the electricians. It simply doesn’t make sense, to us, to do many things in a mediocre way when we can specialize in siding and windows and master it.
We have a theory about those businesses that simply keep expanding their services. It isn’t because they want to serve the public in a greater capacity; it is because they poorly served the public with their prior services and they have to expand in order to stay in business. Bad business, horrible customer service and poor quality of work will always catch up to you. It doesn’t matter if it is a simple repair or if you are making a major home improvement, it pays to look beyond the lowest bid when selecting a contractor. Right from the start, you can eliminate what are likely to be less-than-reputable contractors by considering a list of traits common to rip-off artists. We’ve found the following to be indications that a contractor may not be interested in satisfying customers:
Be suspicious of contractors who attempt to gain business by trying to sell you their services door-to-door. An honest contractor may hang a flier on your door as a courtesy to alert you that they are working by your house, but good contractors do not need to drum up business by making cold calls. Good contractors rely on referrals from satisfied customers or word-of-mouth advertising for a large percentage of their customer base. The good work they are doing on your neighbor’s house does the talking!
Have materials left over from a previous job
It is not your lucky day when a contractor shows up on your doorstep offering a cut-rate price on a project because they have materials left over from a recent job at your neighbor’s house or the house down the street. This is a common ploy of fly-by-night operators or handymen who are based out-of-state and use their pick-up trucks as their place of business.
Does not have a business phone number in the local directory
This can be a red flag indicating that the contractor does not have an established business presence in-state. Or, that he perhaps relies on a home answering machine to screen customer calls. Even in the age of cell phones, having a land-line for business is important.
Pressures you for an immediate decision
If a person pressures you to make an immediate decision, be very leery!! A reputable professional will recognize that you need time to consider many factors when deciding which contractor to hire. They will want to check references; look into the standard of work and get written estimates from several firms based on identical project specifications. They also understand why you want to do those things and will even suggest you contact the Better Business Bureau, Angie’s List and check reviews of all the companies you are talking to.
Free gifts, discounted labor and other “special deals”
Paul Wilson has been in the siding and window industry for 30 years. He has NEVER had an installation crew tell him that they will work for less than average pay scale. He has NEVER had a manufacturer call him and offer him free or drastically reduced siding or window products. These lies that you are being told are by far the most common method used to earn business. Do you think companies are able to give product away or drastically reduced their profit to give you a “buy one get one free” offer? Common sense tells us this cannot happen on a wide scale for even a short period of time. Companies cannot afford to lose money with every job they do. Ask yourself this; if a company can legitimately give 30% off their prices and STILL make a profit, how much money did they make off the homeowner who wasn’t given that discount? Realistically, this isn’t realistic at all. It sounds AMAZING, but the truth is inflated prices are used to offer “discounted” labor, special deals AND free gifts. It is “creative marketing” at its best. Remember if it seems too good to be true it usually is.
Ask you to pay for the entire job up-front or demands only cash
Whatever the reason, never, EVER pay for the entire project upfront. Most legitimate companies will require a deposit on the front in. Then, after the job is completed and they have made sure you are satisfied with the work, they will ask for the balance.