An article in our “make an informed decision” series!
How do I verify that the dealer I am going to hire is the right one for the job?
Ok, a disclaimer. Of coursewe know that Ambia is the contractor you want to replace your windows and doors. But, I also know that me simply telling you this is not how you should be making your decision.
First let me explain something about marketing. The best marketing is not to need a whole lot. At Ambia, we have our web site and the basic adverts to help someone looking for us find our phone number. Our real advertising comes by word of mouth from our previous customers. They tell their friends, neighbors and relatives how happy they are and our phone rings. These homeowners have solid proof on which to base their decision to choose us.
Don’t all companies get lots of referrals from previous customers? There are many companies who would prefer if you never talked to a previous customer to find out that promises weren’t kept or work was neither up to par nor fixed when deficiencies were noticed and brought to their attention. These companies require a constant stream of new clients.
So, how do they find them? Since future customers aren’t coming to them, they must get their company’s name in front of as many homeowners as possible.
That early evening phone call telling you that they’re working in your “neighborhood” and just want the opportunity to give you a quote, may be defining “neighborhood” as “somewhere in southern Ontario”.
How about those flyers in your mailbox promising 40 to 60% off? They probably never sold a window for the advertised “full price”. Of course, they’d probably like to if they could find someone so lazy that a contract was signed without any comparison shopping. (That’s why a number of years ago the province of Ontario changed the term during which a consumer could cancel a contract signed in the home from 48 hours to 10 working days!)
Of course, there are numerous web sites promising to filter out the “bad guys” for you or that allow homeowners to post their individual opinions about work done for them. These can be helpful, but as they make their money from the advertisements from the companies being reviewed, they may not be quick to drop them as advertisers. (One site has a unique approach that when a homeowner searches for a particular contractor, a banner advertisement for a different contractor comes up across the page. If the firm who was being searched doesn’t appreciate this, then they are given the option of buying the banner advert to block an alternative firm from trying to scoop customers from them.)
And keep in mind that the post from a “Happy Homeowner” singing the praises of a company could just as well be from Uncle Billy or Cousin Sam. There is very little way to tell from the web.
If you don’t know the source of a referral or recommendation, the best thing to do is make sure that references provided by a company are within easy driving range so you can go and see the home and possibly catch the homeowner outside where you can explain why you’re looking at their home to verify what the company told you. You be surprised how often all you get is a blank stare! Of course, if the company has no references to give you, it could be as simple as they are legitimately a brand new firm, but…
The solution is to get a referral from someone you know, or, take the time to check the references from the company you are considering.
Here is one last piece of advice. Show the company that tells you that the price offered is only good if they sign the contract immediately the way out of the house. Legitimate companies don’t work that way.