How to compare basement waterproofers
If you are new to the experience you may be wondering how to compare basement waterproofers. I often hear prospective customers tell me they have had three basement waterproofers visit and each one had a different opinion and recommendation. And with the ease of internet marketing it is difficult to decipher things about contractors like the size and age of the business as well as reputation. Any business can launch a new website and look experienced and professional in an instant.
National (and franchise based) vs. local basement waterproofers
National waterproofers and franchises are easy to spot. They brag about how big the network is and if they go out of business the corporate office will still be there. Actually, national businesses and businesses operating franchises are not immune to going out of business. These basement waterproofers spend a lot of money on marketing. TV ads, print ads, large fancy trade show and county fair booths, catalogs mailed out to the home prior to the appointment, and a very large marketing organization consisting of telemarketing associates and highly trained sales people. Sales people trained on a word for word step by step process to sell they “patented” product. Oh, there is another clue. Patented systems mean everyone gets the same solution.
These companies are very good at convincing you they do it all. But look closely at both hands and you will see the sales presentation is designed to point to one final conclusion…the patented system. They never sell anything else to anybody.
Be careful to look at the credentials of the actual franchise and not the corporate statistics as well. For example, there are franchise based basement waterproofers that had a franchisee go out of business with bad BBB complaints in our area within the last five years. A new franchise owner has popped up, all new employees etc… So in effect this is a brand new business with no experience. But the image the brand holds is what the new guy is selling even though he has no track record.
Local basement waterproofers are also easy to spot because they often advertise “locally owned and operated since …” Local contractors spend a fraction of the marketing dollars of national companies. Look for how many employees the company has. Small business owners in this business are trending towards temporary labor and day labor. This can be risky for their customers. If anyone gets injured or causes damage to the property and they are not insured it will be your responsibility to cover damages & costs.
Many local basement waterproofers offer one solution not unlike the big national and franchise operations. There are those who only do exterior basement waterproofing and those who only do interior basement waterproofing. Again, in these scenarios every customer gets the same solution whether that is the best fix for your specific basement problems or not. There are very few basement waterproofers who do it all.
It is not as easy as it used to be to do a quick glance at whether a company is listed with the Better Business Bureau and determine if they are solid or not. Almost every basement waterproofer in our area has an A+ rating and I don’t think anyone has less than an A-. That’s not because they are all great. You have to look at the number of complaints listed on the contractor’s profile. They can have over 30 complaints listed and have an A+ while others have zero complaints and an A+. As long as the contractor responds to the constant barrage of complaints they get an A+. In the meanwhile they have a pattern of very dissatisfied customers. You can read the actual complaints and contractor responses on the BBB site to get a good feel for how they do business.
So look for zero complaints, and look at things like when the business was established. If you hear from a contractor “25 years experience” it should be a red flag to look at the age of the business. There could be five employees with five years experience each and the business is one year old in this scenario. There is very good info on the BBB site, you just have to take a few minutes to dig into it.
Another very good resource is Angie’s List. Angie’s List contains consumer driven information for their ratings. You’ll see not everyone gets an A there! Angie’s List sends homeowners a report card for each service performed by contractors on their list. Things graded are price, punctuality, responsiveness, quality and professionalism. These grades are then averaged for the contractors overall grade. You can click through actual report cards and read customer feedback on each interaction.
Do a google search for complaints.
Look at their website for content…is there quality information on a variety of topics or a simple landing page with a phone number and the basics? How about Facebook and Google + ?
Do they show picture of their actual work?
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Certainly there are other things to consider…hope these tips helped you compare basement waterproofers!