Let’s face it, smart consumers plan prior to spending thousands of dollars with a contractor. However, it can be very intimidating obtaining a number of quotes from various companies that are putting their best foot forward to obtain your hard earned money. With that being said, knowing the steps you should take prior to contacting a number of contractors will make the process much easier and will leave you confident in your final purchase.
How to Prepare for a Contractor Visit-
1)Know What Your Needs Are- Are you replacing your HVAC system? Do you have an emergency such as a water leak or power outage? Are you interested in upgrading your home and/or systems or just replace what is existing? It’s important to know what your expectations are prior to the contractor visit so you can effectively communicate them to the salesman.
2)Know Your Budget- You know what you can comfortably spend to not put you into a pinch. Better yet, a good salesman will show you the value between options and your current situation. Even with an increased job spend, you may make up for that from a monthly utility savings.
3) Do Your Research on Each Company- There is no excuse for not reading about a company and their business practices before they come to your home. What do their reviews say? What are their guarantees? Do they screen their employees? Know who will be in your home. It’s important.
4) List What is Most Important to You – Customer Service? Pre-Screened, Trained and Clean Cut Employees? Price? Quality of Equipment? Quality of Craftsmanship? Warranties? Keep this List handy when comparing your quotes. You can NOT categorize all trade companies as offering the same product dictated only by price. It just is not the case.
So You Have a Handful of Quotes- Now What?
1)Make Sure you are Comparing Apples to Apples- The prices may be different but do you know why? Compare all aspects of the scope of work such as the customer service you will receive, the training of the contractors, the equipment, and lastly, warranties. Generally, all contractors purchase their equipment and supplies from the same wholesalers. The costs to the company may vary slightly from one company to the next but they are relatively close. If you are seeing quotes that are significantly higher or lower than what you expected, you may want look closely at what you are really getting. What kind of quality are are you getting with a low quote? Can the salesman justify the reasoning for a higher quote?
2)Know What You Are Being Charged For– A respectable company will provide you with a proposal that is itemized and detailed. You can’t compare the value had from one company to the next if you don’t know exactly what you are paying for. While 1 company may provide you with a lower quote, the higher quote may have an entirely different strategy to complete your scope of work that changes the price. Remember, apples to apples.
3)Customer Service, Technical Knowledge, and Warranties Are Not Free– This is not a bad thing. To have the most skilled contractors that provide you with great service does cost the company something. Whether it be training programs, certifications, higher paid skilled employees, or better warranties to protect you the homeowner, you can’t expect to get the best and not be charged. It does not happen in any industry. This does not mean that a company that has a lower or mediocre quote does not provide good service or that the higher priced is the best.
4) Awards and Accolades- What are They Worth– A lot. Period. Companies that strive for excellence are recognized by peers and consumers. All companies will have negative reviews or remarks but overall a company that has won awards for service, skills and reviews, is one that is legitimately in the industry and one to consider. If you are looking for a handyman or popup company, don’t expect them to back their work and follow through.
4) Your Gut Feeling Stands for Something – If you feel good about a particular company and are confident in their price, skill, service and warranties… then you have a winner. Essentially a good value is perceived by the buyer and not a formula.
To be a smart consumer, make sure to take the time to educate yourself. Get to know your contractors. Do your research. Even in an emergency situation don’t make hasty decisions. When you need someone to take a second look and you want Atlanta’s best, Contact Casteel Heating, Cooling, Plumbing & Elecrical for your Home Service needs.