Home projects of any kind always feel daunting, we get it! How do you find the right contractor? Someone experienced, someone affordable, someone available, someone trustworthy? We have lots to be mindful of in the way of credentials when it comes to hiring someone to trust our most valuable possession with for one of our most expensive home projects ever! First thing I would tell anyone, including my own friends or family; its important to recognize that you almost always get what you pay for. Red flags are always there with less than quality installers-contractors, always be aware and ask questions, make sure you are comparing apples to apples.
Every contractor, tradesman and installer worth their salt should be able to have enough solidified evidence for clients to reference; that their record speaks for itself. We here at Thompsons consider word of mouth and personal referral our very best compliment, we work hard for that. We can acknowledge that not all installers-contractors are the right fit for particular projects and or clients. But in most cases if a business has been around long enough and has done their job well, their reviews and community relevance will speak for itself. Now a days we also have full access to online feedback, social media, website reviews; if reviews for any given contractor do not lean toward the positive, that’s a good indication the quality and customer service is not there. Its also important to recognize what a contractor and or installer requires in order to establish a relationship or commitment with them. Is a deposit required? If so what does that entail? Do you stand to face any financial hardship if you choose to break the contract either by canceling or hiring another party? All contractors hate to loose business, and yes we can potentially loose work due to scheduling demands, when we base our schedule on committed work and then loose a contract. However we understand, life happens, we all have emergencies, changes of circumstances etc. Thompson Home Improvement, in most cases does not require deposits or upfront partial payments. We prefer traditional forms of payment once the work is completed and the client is satisfied. We also do not make it a custom practice of penalizing clients that have to cancel work due to extenuating circumstances after they have signed a contract with us.
All contactors should provide a clear and present schedule, identify operational protocol and discuss client expectations. They should also identify materials being used, any liabilities that may exist, present appropriate waivers identifying client-contractor responsibilities, should have an open and responsive line of communication and should have a present and valid community history, current licensing and insurance should be evident and available for review as well. All contractors should have appropriate references, should that be from previous clients, long term relationships, material suppliers, creditors or online presence.
We at Thompsons believe that it is up to us to provide as much information as we can in any initial relationship, but it is also up to every potential client to do their due diligence with self education when it comes to large projects. We are providing this information here to help with shining a light into what may feel like an uncertain space, hoping that you can use this information to your benefit while searching for the right party to manage your project; even if its not us.
In the world of construction and contracting, there are often three catergory’s. One being the Contractor that is potentially a friend or a brother of a friend or the small time guy that has some experience or maybe just started, he’s inexpensive, he doesn’t have the overhead of a more established company, he wants you to order and pay for the materials on the front side, he is likely not licensed or may be operating under another license and has very little, next to none or no referral base. Sometimes you can strike luck with these guys, they call you back, they know what they are doing, they show up, they may take a little longer, they may not have a professional business card or history but are capable of the end result you want at a discounted rate. But what if something catastrophic happens? Do they have appropriate insurance coverage? Will they be available in 5 years to honor their 10 or 15 year workmanship warranty if something fails with your roof or do they even have a workmanship warranty? Or will they ask for a deposit, take your money and run? Or will they start your roof, disappear and leave you exposed and scrambling to find a second contractor to clean up the mess after the first leaves you high and dry? Of course anything is possible, even with more reputable installers. But with more reputable installers and contractors there is more on the line. Lets take a look at mid-tier contractors.
Mid-Tier contractors, fall more in what you might consider the “bread and butter” category they are most prevalent in the market. They have experience, they have references, they have a presence in the community, they possess the appropriate credentials in the way of licensing and insurance. They possess knowledge, customer service skills, and have the ability to offer a clear understanding of how they intend to manage your project, in the way of the materials they install, planning and coordination, as well as being timely responder’s. They will have a competitive workmanship warranty, typically will not require deposits and they will try to help you feel more confident about the decision you have in front of you. Mid-Tier contractors, fall more in the family owned and operated category. They do have overhead, but manage it on a smaller scale than larger sales/commercial company’s. They have relationships with local suppliers and manufacturer representatives so that they have access to recourse should their be issues with product failures in the future. They also likely wont penalize clients for cancelled contracts. In short most will show up and do what you have hired them to do and they will stand behind their word and their work and will have a history of having done so. They will be more expensive than, the small time guy or a friend of a friend, or the “Chuck in a Truck” operation. But its important to recognize the differences.
Top-Tier company’s will fall more in the designation of “Sales” Company’s or “Commercial” Company’s. These company’s have a brand, they may be owned by private equity company’s that aren’t local, they may be high pressure company’s with a focus on financing and hidden fees. They likely have a ton of overhead and money invested in marketing. They likely will have a team of salesmen that are dressed in company logo gear and driving company logo vehicles, they may promote financed packages wrapped to look like “Payment Affordable” options that contain hidden fees and or high interest rates. Sales company’s are not experienced roofing companys in most cases. They have large financial backing, they are not a company that is invested in being available to manage any post roofing issues. In most cases their wallet is bigger than yours and they have legal representation that will ensure to protect them against lawsuits through contractual loopholes. Every industry has been saturated with these types of company’s. They will often likely have penalties for cancelled contracts, they may require credit card information to put on file for deposit holds, and could be charging you 3x what a Mid-Tier contractor would for the same project, but they make it look more affordable by providing a payment plan.
Commercial contractors are exactly that, they may sell and or accept “Non Commercial” projects or have a “residential” division. They are typically very knowledgeable, have first class project management, they will likely have a huge marketing thrust as well as having references and community history. Weather they offer financing options or not, they will always be the most expensive, they will have long lead times for project starts due to their ongoing booked business, and will often have a very detailed sales process. What they will offer as a company may be superior in their way of presentation and even detailed project management, but it doesn’t mean you are necessarily contracting to receive a more “Quality” Install or overall outcome.
Thompson Home Improvement is what would likely be considered a Mid-Tier Company. We are family owned and operated, we have been present in the community for over 35 years. We have all of our pertinent licensing and coverages, as well as great references and positive online reviews. We work hard to maintain a lower overhead by doing more with less, and we work hard to make you feel like you are working with family and friends. Our brand is to provide a professional and reliable service, being client and project focused, while providing reputable installs with quality products, backed by manufacturer and workmanship warranties. We are competitive in pricing with our other Mid-Tear local companies and in most cases work hard to be more affordable than top tier commercial competition.
This blog was written just to serve as a guide to considering and comparing different types of business and contractors. It is also intended to help protect you, from making costly mistakes or having less than desirable end results. If there is information contained within this blog that stimulates additional questions about our company or in regard to selecting a contractor, we are happy to answer any questions we are just a phone call or an email away. firstname.lastname@example.org