It can be difficult to know when you’re getting a good deal. It doesn’t matter what you’re shopping for: cars, appliances, lawn care, home repairs, etc. No one wants to waste their hard-earned cash on a sub-par product or service.
Acculevel has been repairing foundations and waterproofing homes since our start in 1996. Family-owned and operated, we have helped more than 30,000 homeowners restore their homes’ health and stability. Even if you don’t live in our service area, we want you to be well-informed before you make critical decisions about whom to trust with your home repairs. We don’t want anyone taking advantage of homeowners with deceitful or predatory business practices.
In this article, we’re going to address several frequently asked questions about hiring a home repair company. We’ll discuss how to select a contractor, compare their estimates, and what you need to know about billing practices and service warranties.
How Do You Choose a Contractor?
As much information as the internet provides, it can be difficult to wade through all of the options. When you’re looking for a reputable local business, the age-old method of asking friends and neighbors is still a good one. Likewise, you can check with your HOA, local realtors, or chamber of commerce.
We also recommend that you do a little research on the companies suggested:
- Are they highly rated by customers? What do their reviews say?
- Make sure you read reviews across multiple platforms like: Home Advisor, Google, Yelp, etc. Some companies will have employees enter false reviews, so independent verification is essential.
- Verify them with the Better Business Bureau. The BBB provides company information, reviews, and how long the company has been in business.
We suggest looking for a contractor that is well-established, operating for a minimum of 10 years. This is because the average homeowner lives about 13 years in one home. Statistically speaking, 70% of businesses fail within the first 5-10 years. A substantial amount of home repairs should come with warranties beyond 10 years. You don’t want to hire someone, only to have their business ‘fold’ and leave you with a useless warranty.
Uneasy about hiring a contractor? Use our free guide: Questions to Ask a Contractor.
This free checklist covers every aspect of a typical transaction, and is designed to help you make the best decision for your home and family.
How Do You Compare Estimates?
When you are comparing estimates for home repairs, you need to make sure you’re accounting for all of the variables. You’ll want to start with the obvious question: are they recommending the same service? Will one of these solutions be permanent, or be warrantied for a longer period of time?
You’ll also want to consider if one solution addresses the cause of the problem. It’s the difference between treating the symptom and treating the disease, right? This would be a valid reason for a higher cost, assuming the cause is correctly diagnosed.
Review the products each company is proposing to use. This is when the internet can be a great asset. You should be able to get the brand names of specially designed items, and do some research on the manufacturers. Is one considered better by the industry? (Does the EPA approve of the chemicals involved in a product? Does a national organization endorse a specific standard?)
We also recommend that you look closely at the costs quoted. Are these all-inclusive? Acculevel pricing includes both parts and labor, and we cover the appropriate sales tax ourselves. This brings us to our next point to consider.
What Do You Need to Know about Invoices and Warranties?
I referenced this topic in the last section, but I want to be clear: make certain the estimated cost is the total cost. Many companies will add surcharges to their invoices, so ask about fuel costs, trip charges, taxes, even building permits.
Does the contractor require a deposit before scheduling the work? Most do- but it shouldn’t be more than 25%-50% of the total. If the contractor wants to be fully paid in advance, proceed with extreme caution. We are not aware of any reputable company in our industry that has this requirement.
Ask about the length of the warranty, and keep in mind that service providers can define ‘lifetime’ any way they choose, so do not assume their definition is going to match yours. Ask the contractor or their representative what the process is for transferring the warranty, if you decide to sell the home. Make sure there aren’t any special terms or conditions; some contractors require you to have their service plan (with an annual fee), to maintain your warranty status.
I practice what I preach: when customers asked how Acculevel warranties compared to our competitors, I did the research. It was an eye-opening experience:
Contractor Warranties: Comparing Acculevel with Competitors
Do You Need Foundation Repairs or Waterproofing?
If you live in Indiana or the surrounding states, contact Acculevel. Our warranties are clearly defined as either for a specific time period or are life-of-structure. All of our warranties are transferable without any additional charges, and none of them require that you meet additional conditions or pay for additional services.
We offer free estimates. An experienced project advisor will evaluate the areas of concern and recommend the best course of action for you, to keep your home strong and healthy for years to come.