One of the most frustrating things that can happen to any good professional, in any industry, is to realize that he or she is being given a bad name due to the shady competitors' practices. Some customers are so traumatized by previous experiences with contractors that no matter how honest you are and how reputable the company you represent is, you will always have to start by conveying that you are not the crook they've dealth with or heard of before.
The customer is already suspicious and, to tell you the truth, you can't really blame them. Some of our competitors in the foundation waterproofing business use such horrific sales tactics and perform so poorly , that I would be suspicious myself, if I ever went through what some of our customers say they've been through. From rude, obnoxioulsy pushy sales people using scare tactics and "sign now or you will pay double" threats, to terrible jobs and service.
It is all very sad, because waterproofing is not a cosmetic job. When someone calls us for an estimate, that person has a problem, and is upset about it. Sometimes they are even desperate, like a homeowner who had flooded basements or is trying to sell a house with a leaky basement. Scamming people who are in desperate need of the services they believe you can provide is just plain despicable.
I will try, in this post, to help anyone shopping for basement or crawl space repair pick the best companies by listing 7 things a customer should look for when calling for an estimate from a waterproofing company. Not all waterproofing companies are created equal. Hopefully, by keeping those 7 things in mind, homeowners will be able to sort good and bad contractors, from the start, during the consultation and sales process which is usually where the problems begin.
- A reputable waterproofing company will not, and I repeat, will not use questionable sales tactics (such as asking for a higher price and then give you an overly "generous" discount, "but only if you sign the contract right now". Beware of this type of company. Chances are that they know they will not be the contractor of choice, should you decide to get estimates from some of their competitors. In addition, it will never misrepresent the urgency of the repairs to be performed or use scare tactics such as the "toxic mold" or "your basement is going to kill you" speech.
- A reputable contractor will be clear about the products and services you are purchasing and will propose solutions based on your budget and the things you want accomplished. You will know exactly what you are getting, why those products are necessary and what to expect as a result.
- You will be given a complete written proposal, detailing every product and service that will be performed; as well as services that will need to be performed by other contractors at the homeowner's expense (i.e. a dedicated circuit for dehumidifiers, pumps, etc...)
- When the salesperson leaves, you should be comfortable with every aspect of the deal. You will not be "sold" anything. You will feel as an educated consumer making an informed decision about your own waterproofing needs. You will also have a way to contact the salesperson at any time if you have any doubts.
- A good contractor will have an excellent reputation in the service area, excellent references from customers (ask for them and actually check), as well as a strong Better Business Bureau reputation. Beware of fly-by-night contractors, or small companies that may go bankrupt before the job is finished or run off with your money without doing the work.
- Good waterproofing companies are usually in business for many years or are backed up by a reputable network that will honor the warranty given in products and services over the years.
- Make sure there is no additional charge for the transferable warranty.Altrhough not all companies that charge for transferable warranties are bad companies, I personally believe waterproofing companies should not charge for them. If they stand behind their products and services, they should do it consistently even if and when the serviced propertyt is sold or transfered to another owner. It makes no sense to charge a fee to provide a warranty that should accompany the product and service, not the person who purchased it.
In conclusion: If your waterproofing contractor does not offer any or all of the above, beware. I strongly recommend you to shop some more, call at least a couple more companies, and see what they have to say. Or just save yourself some trouble and call one of our dealers, because that is how we do business at Basement Systems.