Things to Consider When Selecting Any In-home Contractor
In a perfect world, all Denver hardwood floor contractors would be honest and have high integrity. Unfortunately, there are contractors out there who choose not to be honest and do not even know what the word “integrity” means. Here are a few questions to ask yourself (and the contractor!). Think of them when making the big decision of inviting anyone to come into your home to complete a flooring project:
- Does the contractor carry liability insurance? If not, you could be in for big troubles should anything go wrong with your project. Ask the contractor for a copy of their liability insurance. Be sure to check when the policy expires. It may even be worth a call to the agent/agency that insures them. That way you can be sure the policy is current and in good standing.
- Does the contractor use full-time employees, sporadic sub-contractors, or are they a hybrid that uses the same sub-contractors every week? Many companies will claim they use only full-time employees. If so, you may want to request a copy of their workers’ comp insurance. And, it is not a bad idea to call the agent/agency that provides their workers’ comp insurance to be sure they are current on that policy, too.
It is somewhat of an “age old debate” on what form of employment hardwood floor technicians work best as/in. There are benefits and disadvantages to both the full-time employee and sub-contractor models. Full-time employees are becoming less of a trend. There is a high cost to employ them and a less desirable pay structure for the employees. Essentially, good sub-contractors will have more to offer because they 1) have more experience, 2) know they deserve to get paid a higher wage for their experience, 3) take great pride in their work, and 4) will take care while in your home. They know their pay and reputation are at stake. As opposed to being resigned to getting fired and finding another hourly job.
- Regardless of what type of employees the contractor uses, ask them if they are current on their payroll. We know of several companies out there who are weeks behind in their payroll. While you may think that a company’s payroll situation has little to do with your project, it is actually a very serious potential issue. People who are not receiving pay for their hard work are not going to be as motivated to give you top-quality. Not only will you more than likely be sacrificing quality, but the chances of that sub-contractor “walking” on your project are much higher in this situation and that will cause delays and inconvenience to you.
- Are they actually members of the organizations where they claim to be members? In wood flooring, the two main organizations contractors subscribe to are 1) The Better Business Bureau, and 2) The National Wood Flooring Association. While all a contractor has to do to initially become a member for either one of these organizations is to pay dues ($395 for NWFA annually and variable dues for BBB annually), it is a good idea to check on the websites (www.woodfloors.com and www.bbb.com) to be sure the contractor is not being dishonest.
- How recent are their reference letters? How recently were the projects completed for any references? We have seen some glowing references. The truth of the matter is that a company, (any company) may have had a couple all-star employees five years ago, but none of them work there now. And the company is a totally different one than they were years ago. You may consider asking for references that have had projects completed within the past six months. This should give you a more accurate idea of what you are signing up for.
- And last, but not least, please be wary of companies who claim that their price is higher because they offer superior services. Most educated consumers realize that the mid-range quotes they receive are probably the safest. The unbelievably cheap contractors have something missing (insurance, dishonesty with tax reporting, etc.) Make sure you really “do your homework” with a contractor, should you be interested in hiring them. The higher priced companies are probably charging that amount because either they have made some poor business decisions and have to charge that amount to survive, and/or they are just greedy. Be sure you’re being charged a fair amount.