Originally posted 10/29/20; updated 12/20/22
When you need repairs to your home, you have a lot of concerns: what needs to be done? Who can be trusted to do the job well? Are you paying too much? We understand that these can be stressful and frustrating questions to answer, and we want to help you navigate this process.
Acculevel is a family-owned and operated company that specializes in foundation repair and waterproofing. We’ve been in business since 1996, and have made repairs for more than 35,000 homeowners. Our goal is to help people preserve and protect their homes; we believe everyone deserves a safe and healthy place to live.
In some instances, negotiating a lower price gets you a genuinely better deal. In some cultures, it’s an expected part of doing business. But here, in the home repair business? If pricing is a moving target, chances are there’s some artificial inflation involved. We’re going to explain how some companies play with the numbers, what you should watch for, and what you can expect from us.
Ask What The Pricing Includes
When a contractor gives you an estimate, ask if that is the final cost. If this is before taxes, handling fees, etc- get the details about these, then calculate what your true cost will be. When you’re comparing estimates from multiple companies, you want to make sure you’re comparing ‘apples to apples.’ We review the different types of surcharges you may see in this article.
Discounts Do Not Guarantee Low Prices
You should be cautious of significant price drops. Let’s say a sales representative gives you an initial cost, and you hesitate. Maybe you ask if that’s the best price he has. Or you mention that you have additional meetings scheduled with other contractors. If they have enough “room” in that price to drop the numbers by 10% or more, this suggests there was a large markup in the original price. This type of flexibility suggests a contractor tries to charge as much as possible, and then discounts that amount just enough to get you to sign the contract. You have no way of knowing if this is truly a bargain or not.
High Pressure Tactics
You should also be cautious of companies that use hard sell tactics. These often mean the price is only valid “today,” or “during this appointment.” Most homeowners want to get several estimates, to compare both prices and repair methods. If a contractor refuses to give you the time to do this, it calls their methods and materials into question.
Most businesses in our industry require a deposit, but this should be no more than 25%-50% of the total price. If any company asks for more than that, please research the company thoroughly before you agree to anything.
And if a contractor requires full payment in advance? Our advice is to walk away. No reputable contractor (that we know of) does business this way.
How to Calculate the Costs of Repairs: the Acculevel Way
All of our project advisors are given one pricing sheet, and it is the same for every advisor and every customer. The costs are clearly outlined and do not vary from one customer to another.
Want to double check our math? We will show you the pricing sheet, walk you through the quote, and let you review the calculations. We pride ourselves on our honest and transparent business practices. The price of each service includes labor & materials, and it represents the full amount you will be invoiced.
Are There Exceptions to This Rule?
Yes, there are. If you want to expedite your repairs to the front of the line, or meet a specific (and more immediate) deadline, there will be additional costs. These rates are set and delineated clearly on the pricing sheet; they are meant to cover added expenses like employee overtime, rushed material orders, or additional crew members.
If we discover during the installation that more work is needed, we will clearly explain what we recommend, why we recommend it, and what the additional costs will be. This would be documented in a written change order that you would sign before work continued.
What Additional Fees Does Acculevel Charge?
In the rare event the work requires a building permit: we will either pay it directly and charge you for reimbursement (with zero markup), or you can acquire the permit yourself.
We do not charge our customers any of the following:
- Fuel surcharges
- Service fees
- Warranty maintenance or transfer fees
- Credit card or check processing fees
Does Acculevel Offer Any Discounts?
Like most businesses, we periodically have sales on specific products or services. We also offer financing to our customers, and sometimes they’re eligible for a special or limited-time deal provided by the financial institution.
Do You Require A Deposit?
Yes, if your total cost will exceed $2000, we require a 50% deposit. The remaining balance is not due until the work is completed. If you’d like information about financing, we review the options available to you, as well as provide information about our own offerings.
Do You Want to Know What it Will Cost to Repair Your Home?
We have a number of resources available on our website that will help you estimate your costs without an in-home appointment with one of our project advisors.
Our foundation repair guide covers everything from crack repairs to bowing walls to settling foundations. You can read the guide in its entirety, or skip to the chapter that interests you. Each chapter includes diagnostic help, repair method(s), and estimated pricing per project.
Need to waterproof your basement? Our homeowner’s guide takes you through the entire process, starting with how the water is entering your home and includes cost information in chapter 10.
If you have a crawl space instead, and would like details about encapsulation, this blog will tell you more.
And last- but not least- if it’s concrete lifting that you need, this article will explain how our slabjacking process works.
Are You Ready for an Estimate Now?
If you would like to schedule an in-home estimate, please find an experienced and knowledgeable company to evaluate your home. Before you meet with a contractor of any kind, we urge you to verify that the company is reputable, insured, and accredited by the Better Business Bureau.
Not sure what questions to ask, or what information you should acquire about the company you hire? Please use our guide to questions you should ask a contractor, with a free downloadable form.
If you live in Indiana or the surrounding states, contact Acculevel. We are a family-owned and operated company, and we provide free written estimates. One of our experienced project advisors will evaluate your foundation, basement or crawl space, then recommend the best course of action for you. Our goal is to help you keep your home strong and healthy for years to come.