6 Things To Look For When Hiring A Bathtub Resurfacer
Let’s face it, hiring home improvement contractors can be one of the most stressful parts of your renovation project. You just want an honest individual who has the know-how and skill to give you what you want but won’t nickel and dime you. Don’t we all? Instead, you’re getting competing estimates and contradicting information from all parties so now your head is swimming with deadlines, permits, and visions of messy demolitions. But how are you supposed to believe a word anyone says? You just want your project over with and your house back! The answer is: trust your intuition & ask as many questions as possible during your research process. But here are some red flags to keep an eye out for when you’re ready to hire a refinishing company, or any home improvement company for that matter. Just keep in mind, selecting the company who promises impeccable workmanship at bottom dollar prices may not be the smartest decision. Here’s why…
Are they licensed and insured?
This is an important detail but often overlooked. Most people don’t think to ask or automatically assume that anyone advertising their services must be an upstanding service provider who does everything by the book. FALSE! Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case and more likely than not if the company is not licensed or insured then they’re doing the work under-the-table. Which is all well and good, but what does that mean for you? Well, simply put if the company does not have insurance then ALL of the accident liability falls on you, the homeowner. And that could be anything from paying for damages they caused at your home to paying their medical bills if they get hurt on your property. Without insurance their technician isn’t protected and neither are you. One way to protect yourself is by avoiding Craig’s List, or other public website contractors, for your home improvement needs. Or at the very least make sure they have a Maryland Home Improvement License number. The state of Maryland has specific guidelines that protect homeowners from fraudulent home improvement companies, so take advantage of those guidelines and don’t be afraid to ask for a Maryland Home Improvement License number!
Do they offer a warranty?
No warranty on the work or too long of a warranty can also be a red flag. No warranty could mean that the company does not stand by their work and values profit over workmanship. But too long of a warranty is a clear indication that there is some instability within the company. Don’t fall for the lifetime warranty ruse, it is a great selling point, but a warranty is only as good as the company; so if they aren’t going to be in business for longer than 5 yrs they can’t honor that lifetime warranty they are promising. The average warranty in the resurfacing industry is 3-5 years, anything more or less than that is definitely worth delving into.
Who does the work?
Some companies will use subcontractor instead of trained technicians in an effort to save money on licensing fees. But their cut in cost will mostly effect you, the homeowner, so it’s worth asking the company before scheduling any work about their technicians’ training. In-house trained technicians are going to be your best bet, that means they resurface as their main profession and they have the most experience in that specific industry. If you are hiring a general contractor chances are they do primarily other work with resurfacing not being their strongest suit. While you may be in a capable hands that’s not to say there aren’t more qualified professionals to consider. Having everyone play to their strengths by hiring a company that deals specifically with resurfacing is without a doubt going to generate the best end result.
What kind of products do they use?
Not all resurfacing materials are created equal. Like anything else on the market there are cheaper and riskier versions of resurfacing materials too. An example of some inferior but cheap materials would be ineffective epoxies that will cause the coating do fail prematurely. Some companies will even cut so many corners they will use stripping agents or other resurfacing materials that contain Methylene Chloride. OSHA has even gone so far as to flag many products that contain Methylene Chloride as dangerous! But it is worth a Google search to see what other agencies are keeping an eye on this volatile chemical. Not only are these chemicals harmful to the Earth, but they are also harmful to anyone who comes in contact with them. This can range from the technician preforming the work to you, the homeowner. This harsh chemical compound even shortens the career of the technician who uses it because if its adverse effect on their health. Companies who value the health and safety of their technicians and customers will have found safer and greener alternatives. Ask if your refinisher is using products with Methylene Chloride, it may be cheaper but the risk certainly does not outweigh the reward.
Is the company family owned or a franchise?
This is an important question to ask because it will directly effect the price of their services. Family owned businesses have the flexibility to work around complicated remodeling schedules and take the time to deliver first-rate customer service. They also set their own prices so that could mean there is more wiggle room to negotiate price. Franchises on the other hand will have some the highest prices which is due to the fact that they have to pay franchise fees as well as the price to operate a large showroom. The lack of franchise fees allows family owned companies to set a new standard in the refinishing industry in terms of quality and an overall excellence.
How much experience do they have?
A solid indication of quality of work and success in the industry is the number of years a company has been in business. So ask your potential service provider how long they’ve been in business, and avoid the ones that have been in business for shorter than the warranty they offer. You can also ask for customer references as most companies will be able to direct you to their online review websites. Reading past customer experiences provides you with a unique insider look at the way things operate at the company and maybe can point out some hidden fees to look out for.