Contractors come in all shapes and sizes. From small “Chuck in the truck” type operations to very large national companies like those advertised on TV. Most home improvement projects cost thousands of dollars and as a result, most homeowners are anxious about choosing the contractor that’s right for them and their project.Let’s take a look at what you can probably expect from each type of contractor…
“Chuck in the truck” is a small, hands on business who might be a skilled installer (not always) but does not run and organized business. They often provide a handwritten estimate but no contract to protect you if something goes wrong. Their price might seem surprisingly low but that comes at a higher cost later on. They are usually hard to reach by phone or email and don’t show up when promised. Hiring this type of contractor often ends up a frustrating experience.
The larger organizations that you see advertised on TV and hear on the radio are nothing more than marketing operations. They insist that both “decision makers” are part of the initial appointment (big red flag) because they want to play one agains the other in order to close the deal that night. They have a 2-4 hour sales pitch whether you want to hear it or not. During this pitch, they create fear in you that if you don’t choose their product or company then you’re doomed for the rest of you life. They use high pressure tactics, are well trained at manipulation and charge 2-3 times more than the right contractor. To add insult to injury, they offer discounts for a good review and you’re usually so disappointed with how much you paid that you’ll do anything to get some money back.
Like most things in life, there’s a happy medium. There are many contractors out there that run a very sophisticated business, are local and family owned and truly care about what you want out of the experience. This contractor meets with you on your terms and asks about your expectations. They tell you as much as you want to know about the products and what kind of experience to expect. This contractor usually gives a price somewhere between Chuck in the truck and the big guys and can always be reached for any reason. Often times you’ll deal directly with the owner or have access to the owner.
We all have the ability to know when something feels right. It’s called a “gut feeling”. Always go with that. If you’re excited by a low price but nervous about whether you’ll get a good installation or be able to reach the contractor after the sale, trust your gut. If you feel anxious during the sales presentation of one of the big companies, trust your gut. Buyers remorse lasts a long time.