What You Should be mindful of when considering a Water Treatment Professional
When seeking a contractor, of any kind, there are a few critical things you should ascertain to ensure that you get the best possible results and level of service. The information in this article should help you make the type of smart choices that will spare you much heartache down the line. Make sure you follow this checklist and that that the contractor you are considering meets these minimum thresholds.
There are two significant advantages in meeting a contractor face to face. First, it allows them to a look at where they’ll actually be doing the work, which makes it easier for them to give you an accurate estimate. Second, you get to actually meet them. There’s really no substitute for an in person meeting. Remember: These people will have access to and be making changes to your home!
Have Them Give You a Detailed Estimate
Make sure you get an estimate not only on the work, but that the contractor includes any permitting that will be required for that work. As the FTC points out, a good contractor will get the permits required for your project in advance of starting the work. Detail is key here.
Make Sure the figures on their Estimate Make Sense
You should always get multiple estimates. You can compare the estimates and see how different companies will bill out. This Old House notes that materials should be around 40% of the estimate. The profit margin should be around 15-20%, including overhead.
Make Sure They Present You with an Actual Contract
Don’t do ANYTHING on a handshake. Whatever you agree upon with a contractor, get it in writing. You don’t have any assurance that the work will get done as described and on schedule as agreed until you actually have a signed document in hand. Good contractors won’t need to be reminded of this.
Make Sure They Have Solid References
Ask if they have references. If they don’t, MOVE ON. Make sure you ask for references from jobs that were similar to your own. You can also check online for reviews of the business on social media platforms like YELP!, Angie’s List, Home Advisor, Porch.com etc. Watch out for reviews that say that the work wasn’t done on schedule, the agreed upon prices changed and other issues that indicate that the contractor may be something less than professional or trustworthy.
Make Sure They Have a License
Never work with a contractor who doesn’t have a valid license. EVER. You can call whatever agency handles licensing their trade in your local area and verify that their license is current. It may be tempting to save money and to deal with someone unlicensed, but in the long run, every short cut leads to the longest road.
Make Sure They Have Insurance
My note about a license, applies to Insurance as well. Every contractor should have insurance. If they don’t there is something WRONG. Even if they’re very good at what they do, things can happen on a job and you have to make sure they’re financially responsible if something does, indeed, go wrong. Some contractors are also bonded, so be sure that any additional requirements guaranteeing responsibility are always met.
Make Sure They Belong to a Trade Organization
Check for membership in a trade organization. It’s no guarantee, but it is one more layer of protection for you.
For example, well-established water treatment contractors invariably are certified through the WQA Water Quality Association. This organization provides information about the qualifications of the water treatment professionals that are members, which you can use to guide you in your decisions as a homeowner. It also provides best trade practices for the contractor, which in turn helps them to do their jobs better.
Make sure this basic checklist is met before hiring anyone and your experience is likely to be much more productive and the work the contractor does should better match your expectations, and if you are lucky, maybe even exceed them.
About The Author, Terry Reeh, Partner EcoWater Systems of Nebraska:
With more than 25 years experience in the residential and commercial water treatment space , Terry is a WQA (Water Quality Association) certified water specialist, LEVEL 3, as well as a WQA certified sales representative. In addition to running the day-to-day operations of EcoWater Systems of Nebraska, one of the biggest water treatment and water delivery enterprises in the state, Terry currently sits on EcoWater Systems (a Berkshire Hathaway Company) national Peers committee, as a water treatment expert advising other water professionals with less experience on best trade and technology practices.