So many things SEEM to be the same when you meet with contractors in really any industry. Everyone will usually say they will “do a great job”. What is difficult to account for is who will really show up and do the work and what will they do to produce a bankable end result. The following are some things to look for or verify when comparing what appears to be two very similar companies:
- Verify Workers’ Comp. Insurance with an agent. An expired or inactive Workers Comp. Policy, which protects you from onsite injury, will make a difference in the price of a bid.
- Can the contractor really explain how they ascertained the bid no matter what the number is? This is critical and will help you avoid contractors underpaying their people to perform the work and possible onsite unhappiness. This is often why bids can be very rangy when comparing one vs. another.
- Showing an established proven track record other than references can really provide some consumers to purchase peace of mind.
- Service awards. Does the company have some proof of recognized consistent customer satisfaction?
- Community service. While not directly affecting the price of a bid, a company that gives back and is charitable is definitely cut from a different cloth, and is a great reason to do business with them.
- Active in their own industry Are they members of an organization that supports and educates their industry? An educated contractor is generally a reliable one.
- Warranty. Are warranties realistic and detailed as to their scope? Offering warranties that will be difficult to honor, confusing, or that are vaguely written often says a lot about initial intentions.
- How detailed is the bid proposal? The attention to detail you receive with a bid is usually a strong indication of the kind of attention you will get with the work itself.
- Franchising. While this certainly does not preclude you from getting a good job, franchise owners can have less experience in their prospective industries, product knowledge, and estimating vs. family-owned businesses that have years and years of pre-established track records in all of the aforementioned.
Hope that helps! Again, Peace of mind is a beautiful thing.