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Posted February 21, 2017

Avoiding the Sharks

I often compare our industry to the automotive repair business.  How many of us go with our car to the repair shop with a stalling engine, or a jerky transmission, or some other problem only to find out that the cost of the suggested repair is many thousands of dollars?  At that point, we have a problem.  Do we believe our repair shop, or not?  This is an eternal problem in business: can we trust the company selling to us, or are they taking us to the proverbial cleaners?

Our company motto is A Great Job at a Great Price®.  Our philosophy as a company is to deliver high value for the money, and we believe in that goal entirely.  Interestingly enough, we have a trademark on the phrase “A Great Job at a Great Price®.”  We find it a bit amusing that in the more than 240 years our country has existed, we were the first company to protect the concept of giving a great job at a great price!

So what’s the point?

There are many individuals in our industry more than happy to take benefit from a crisis for their own personal enrichment.  Often these individuals promise phantom discounts or unrealistic claims for work to be performed.  “Sign today, and we will discount this by 25%,” for one example.  25%?  We don’t’ have that much net margin in our jobs, so how can anyone even offer that.  Another example–in our region we have a contractor that every year advertises “75% off labor!”  Seriously.  So they are paying their guys $15 an hour normally and now will pay them less than $4 an hour?  Or normally they mark up their labor 400%, but this month only the markup is only 100%?  How does that even work?  Answer: it doesn’t, it’s just a marketing ploy, and when things seem fishy, don’t buy.

When you contract with a basement repair company, check for the following:

  • Do they explain a few options, or push one?
  • Are they willing to tell you some options that don’t even involve doing business with their company, such as better landscaping or maintaining gutters and downspouts?
  • Do they have a different price if you agree now, and another if you wait to think about it?  NEVER sign a contract, in our industry or another, where the price is dependent on immediate agreement.  We hold our pricing for 30 days as a matter of policy, and anyone providing a discount for immediate acceptance is not to be trusted.
  • Do they make extravagant claims, like 75% off labor, double lifetime warranty, free lifetime guarantee, etc?  If it sounds too good to be true, it surely is.
  • Do you feel pressure?  Too much pressure from a home improvement specialist is a bad thing, and if you are getting that vibe, don’t buy, and if it’s over the top call your state’s consumer protection department.

Final word: basement repairs often cost many thousands of dollars by their very nature, and just like car repairs, big money can bring out the shadier side of the spectrum.  Make sure you understand everything before handing over your hard earned money and NEVER submit to pressure tactics.