Recently, several clients have asked our team to compare our competitors’ warranties to the ones we provide. When one of our project managers mentioned this to me, I agreed to tackle the topic.
But when I started researching and writing this article, it turned out to be a lot more frustrating than I expected.
Here at Acculevel, we believe that in order for customers to be happy they need to be well-informed, even if that means we’re not the best fit. When I was first hired, I wasn’t given a job manual. Nolan gave me an information packet instead. This is the same folder we give customers when we provide an estimate. It includes a copy of the Acculevel contract, summaries of our services, and details the warranties for each.
In previous blogs, we’ve discussed how misleading “lifetime” warranties can be. That research prompted us to create a checklist of specific questions you should ask contractors. (Links to these articles are in the Resources section at the bottom of the blog.) If you’ve read any of these, you know we guarantee our workmanship.
We’re a family-owned and operated company that focuses on foundation repair and waterproofing. We are very proud of our work crews; we believe we have the best installation teams in our area, and our customers agree.
Many of our customer reviews focus on how respectful our crews are towards their homes, and how diligent and hard-working those crews are. Since we have fantastic crews that install the best products in the industry, we are able to warranty our installations with confidence.
Our crew demonstrates how helical piers are installed:
Details of My Research
When I began researching this article, I encountered some major issues. I started online of course- because that’s how I (and everyone else!) in the world gets their information. Oddly enough, I found very little.
Most of the company websites I viewed shared extensive information about the services they provide, how much experience they have, and how good their products are. Some had a version of a blog: brief little sections that gave you an idea of what is involved in specific repairs. A few even had a “meet our staff” section with photos of all their employees.
None of them openly stated their warranties. There weren’t any blogs that explained what was covered, or for how long. I found one contractor who stated work was covered for the life of the foundation “under a service agreement.” This service agreement was not explained, and there wasn’t a copy available on the site to read.
Time to Change Tactics
So I put aside my aversion to the telephone and began calling these companies. (What? I’m a socially awkward introvert who feels a million more times comfortable with the written word. Naturally, I’m going to hate talking on the phone.)
But I told myself it would be fine. Surely the office staff would know the answers, and give me the necessary information, right? So I called and said I was researching companies, before I decided who to hire to work on my house. Yes, dear readers, I lied a little. I was worried they’d hang up on me if I was totally honest.
But it turned out that I was more naive than I thought. I was told:
- “We can’t provide that information over the phone. But the inspector who comes to your house will be able to answer your questions.”
- “Of course we offer warranties on our work. But it depends on the work done, and the equipment used. The salesman who comes to do your inspection will give you more information.”
- “We’d be happy to go over the warranty during your appointment. When can we send someone to your home?”
- You know that feeling you have when your toddler wants to watch the same animated movie over and over and over? You tell yourself it’s fine, but you really want to run over that dvd with your truck? This was. Just. Like. That.
This was frustrating, and super irritating!
I shouldn’t have to commit to having someone in my home, just to get basic information, right? And how was I supposed to produce a good article without it?
I complained about my situation to a coworker. He told me to imagine how customers must feel, and to write to you from that perspective. He had a valid point; if I was frustrated by the redirection and subterfuge, how irritating is that to a customer?! With our newfound awareness of health risks firmly etched in our brains, inviting a stranger into your home to get basic facts seems bananas.
But how can you make a well-balanced decision to trust someone to repair your home without those facts?
Only one company- the one with the service agreement- would answer my questions without a mandatory home visit. It wasn’t especially flattering; their warranty is only valid as long as you pay an annual service fee (currently $75/year). That’s less of a warranty and more of an extended service plan. But I didn’t have to meet with them in my house to learn that, so… there’s something.
Acculevel’s Warranty Specifics
At Acculevel, we clearly and openly state the warranty offered with each service. In other articles, I have made a point to discuss warranty specifics, especially in articles that provide our pricing. After all, part of the value of our services is the warranty that comes with it.
Here are the details of each policy, in descending order.
- Warrantied for the life of the structure: sub-floor water drainage systems, carbon fiber straps, helical piers, and wall anchors.
- 25 year warranty: white cap encapsulation
- 10 year warranty: baseboard water drainage systems
- 5 year warranty: dehumidification systems, sump pumps, crack sealant, and concrete slabjacking- if the slab is more than five years old.
- 2 year adjustment warranty, for up to 3 adjustments: adjustable floor jacks.
Please keep in mind that the information in this section is not a secret. If you call us, you can ask our call center representatives about our policies. If you schedule a free estimate appointment, this warranty information will be clearly printed on the form we use.
In fact, when a project manager fills out the estimate form, they usually mark on the warranty section which policy would be applicable if you hired us. If you have health concerns about interacting face-to-face with our project manager, we offer alternative meeting methods.
You should also know that all of our warranties are transferable, assuming you sell your home during the warranty period. There are no provisions or restrictions on this transfer, and it is done completely free of charge.
If you are not familiar with the limits of a “lifetime” warranty, we have a blog that explains how this term does (and does NOT) apply to services. This was the article that started me down the rabbit trail of warranty options.
While we’re talking about regulations and restrictions, if you have questions about what your home insurance covers, we researched that topic here.
Our detailed checklist of questions to ask a contractor is available for download at no charge. It is not limited to foundation repair contractors- you can use it with any home service provider and I strongly suggest doing so. It is an unfortunate reality that every industry has its share of scam artists, and legitimate business owners never want to see anyone taken advantage of.
If you need repairs made to your home, please do your research. Verify the company is reputable, insured, and accredited by the Better Business Bureau. Read the reviews, ask for recommendations from friends, neighbors, etc.
Always get an estimate in writing- and get more than one. Use our checklist, watch for any red flags, and remember that a quality contractor does not ask for full payment up front.
If you live in our service area, contact us. We provide free estimates, and our project managers will answer any questions you have, clearly and honestly. You don’t have to meet us face-to-face before we’ll give you answers. (We will still need to come to your home before we can give you a detailed estimate though!) But if you have health concerns about an in-person meeting, we will work with you on safe alternatives.
We believe everyone deserves a safe and healthy home, and we want to help you take care of yours.