Over the years I’ve heard many waterproofing contractor horror stories from residential customers in need of basement waterproofing or basement leak repairs. Unlike electricians and plumbers, waterproofing contractors in Ontario are not regulated; therefore, any person or company with a shovel or excavator can claim that they are a waterproofing contractor or that they are fully capable of waterproofing your basement. The horror stories I’ve heard range from contractors that disappear long before the work is done (once they have most of your money) to waterproofing the wrong place, or gross incompetence and/or unprofessional business practices. The most frequent complaint is that contractors never respond to customer telephone calls for warranty service even though the customer has a lifetime, or other, warranty in their possession. I have written this article because I believe that consumers would benefit the most from water proofer hiring advice if that advice was provided by a waterproofing contractor.
I don’t believe there is a foolproof way to protect yourself from a contractor’s incompetence and/or unprofessionalism. However, there are certainly several steps you can take to greatly reduce the likelihood that you will regret hiring a certain person or contractor to waterproof your foundation.
Steps to take before hiring a person or company to waterproof your basement:
Research the company Information provided by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) includes the company’s BBB rating (an indication of customer satisfaction), the company’s accreditation or membership status with the BBB, the length of time the company has been in business, as well as information regarding complaints received ;
Look for the company in the Yellow Pages or Guestbook under “Waterproofing Contractors,” as only bona fide waterproofing contractors choose to advertise in this category.
Consider how waterproofing services are advertised. A contractor who advertises in directories like the yellow pages spends a lot of money to do so, so they must be serious about being recognized as a professional company in the industry. If you call a company that posts signs on lamp posts or street corners, what are the chances that you will find the company, the owner, or even the address of the company if something doesn’t satisfy you? Have you ever noticed that road signs, etc., only appear immediately before the rainy season? Clearly, these businesses are taking advantage of an opportunity and are probably not there for the long haul.
At this point, you probably expect me to recommend that you ask for references, but I don’t think you should bother for the following reasons:
No one is going to provide you with references that will give you a negative review, so expect to hear only positive reviews from the references offered; and
Unlike a contractor building a house or finishing a basement, it is not possible to evaluate the quality of a waterproofing contractor’s work unless you have the expertise in this area. Only with time will the suitability and effectiveness of the waterproofing work be proven. Therefore, recommendations from friends are only valid if the work was done at least five years ago.
Other things to consider when hiring a Basement Waterproofing Service In New Hope, PA
As I mentioned earlier, I won’t be able to recommend a surefire way to protect yourself from fraudsters, incompetence, or people and companies with no integrity, as it is virtually impossible to do so. However, I can give you a few additional tips to help you be as informed as possible:
Recognize that the service you receive on your first interaction with a company is often indicative of what you can expect in the future; for example, if your call is not returned for several days, imagine what you will experience when you call for warranty service.
Consider the quality of a company’s advertising and website; if you’re not impressed, chances are you won’t be impressed with the quality of the work they will offer to do.
Evaluate the quality of the sales presentation and accompanying forms. If the forms lack detail, you are relying on verbal promises that will more than likely be rejected.
Educate yourself. The internet is a powerful learning tool and, as you’ve probably heard, “the devil is in the details.” Yes, you’ll read differing opinions on best practices, but at least you’ll be prepared to weed out the charlatans who try to sell you their services.
Ask questions. Ask the contractor to tell you exactly what they are going to do, why their products are the best and why their technicians are the best. Ultimately, the person or people doing the work are critically important. If they are untrained, complacent in their work, or even dishonest, you will have a nightmare on your hands.
Decline to hire a contractor who doesn’t specialize in the foundation waterproofing field. Without the necessary expertise no one can know the best products and/or practices for this type of work.
There are other considerations and factors in the hiring of a contractor but, at the end of the day, if you apply your logic and trust your gut feeling, your decision will likely be the right one.
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