I will be the first to say that I love a deal. It’s hard to pass up the discount or the savings but sometimes, especially in an industry like refinishing and remodeling, ‘cheap’ can really cost you more than you were ready to pay. There are handfuls of refinishers out there and most of them can do it for less than the next guy but you have to ask yourself one question. How can they afford to do it for so much less? Is it cheap products and labor they bring into your home or rental property? Is it because they are underinsured? Is it because they have no license or insurance at all? The fact is you really don’t know how or why they can do the same job as the other for so much less.
Everyone offers a warranty.
Which is great for you, if you aren’t satisfied or their product fails they’ll come back and fix it. Unfortunately, if something happens and they go out of business or close and open under a different name – they don’t have to come back and fix the bad job they did and that means you’re going to have to pay the next guy to tear up the mess that refinisher number one left behind and then pay for the job to be completed again. Hopefully they are a quality refinisher this time. Otherwise you might just be in the hole for round two as well.
You have to take a look at what you’re about to ask for.
How long has your refinisher been in business? Unfortunately, most refinishing companies fail within their first few years. You’re going to want to ask how long they’ve been in business. You’re also going to want to make sure that you hire someone that has their contractor’s license and is insured. There are plenty of people that claim they have their contractor’s license but a business license is not the same thing. You are entitled to ask anyone you hire for their contractor’s number so that you can contact your state contractor’s board to make sure they really are licensed appropriately.
A little fun fact: Licensed Contractors have their license numbers on their estimates, invoices, cards, website, and work vehicles with advertisements. It is required by the contractor’s board that they do so. If you get an estimate without a license number, be wary. If you ask for a license number and they keep putting you off, you can search by company name and owner’s name on the contractor’s board website.
I have personally learned that the cheap way, can be the most expensive way. I don’t fault anyone for wanting to get the bigger better deal; but that deal can end up costing you in a few months’ time when your fixture is peeling and you have no way of getting ahold of that ‘contractor’ that gave you such a ‘great’ discount.
Anyone can claim they use the best products and maybe they do. Maybe where they cut their cost with labor. You can pay a couple of guys next to nothing to come in and wash down the bathtub or shower. Regrettably, cheap labor often leads to mistakes. A fixture needs to be meticulously prepared to ensure that there are not going to be any problems with the finished product. This requires time and materials – both of which cost money but are necessary if you want the work done right.
I can honestly say that you can learn a lot from reviews. You have the entire world at your fingertips, don’t settle for what a contractor just tells you. If you look them up on Facebook, Angie’s List, or Yelp – what kinds of reviews are you seeing? How are they rated by the people they’ve done work for? If you’re not sure that you’re convinced, there’s probably a good reason. Look around and see what everyone else has to offer, you’ll find the right contractor for you and more than likely they’ll be within your budget.
If you have any questions or concerns about a contractor you’re talking to, contact your state contractor’s board. They are there to make sure that illegitimate contractors are held accountable, and are happy to provide you with information to licensed professionals.