Why Industry Standards Fail To Protect Muncie HomeownersFeb 14, 2022
And Why We Hold Ourselves To Higher Expectations
The contractor industry in Muncie is held to standards based on the lowest expectations possible and is based solely on structural integrity. Whether the work will hold up for decades or years is of no concern to our regulations.
As to contractors themselves, all they need is some tools and insurance, and POOF, they’re contractors. Toss in a nice pickup with a clever logo on the side, and not only are they in business – they’re in demand.
Home Renovation Standards
The first thing to know is that there is very little licensing in the Muncie renovation industry. There are no tests to pass, no background checks to get through, and no need to prove you can do the job to become a home renovation contractor.
You do need to carry insurance and do the paperwork necessary to operate a business, but the same applies to almost any type of company. So all those ads you see proclaiming they are bonded or insured mean very little.
Those are the extent of the legal requirements, such as they are, to operate a renovation company. Industry standards don’t take things any further, trusting companies to self-govern.
When you toss competition into the mix, you get all kinds of contractors cutting corners and playing games to put in the lowest bid.
This is no way to run an industry, so it becomes the homeowner’s job to check out companies before awarding their project to a contractor.
Minimum Acceptable Contractor Standards
Let’s first discuss what a contractor does. They remove part of your home and replace it with something new. The potential for something going wrong can be pretty high.
While building codes cover the most egregious failures of the past, they aren’t product specific and certainly don’t cover the path from “good enough” to “best practices.”
What you want to find is a company that is stable, professional, and takes pride in its work.
A stable company will have staff and a showroom that you can visit to get ideas. They’ll have a large number of great online reviews that they feature rather than bury on their website.
They will also hold certifications from the manufacturers they work with, which can’t be had without a longstanding history of excellent work.
And while it isn’t a deal-breaker, if they grant direct access to the company owner, you’ll know they are confident about the work they do and serious about customer satisfaction.
Professionalism is reflected in several ways, though it’s easier to spot when it is lacking.
A company that only offers one to three style choices is not one with a good relationship with its suppliers.
High-pressure sales tactics like massive discounts and one-day sales are a dead giveaway that the company is less than professional. It’s a numbers game to them, and they only care about getting the work and care very little about how well that work is done.
Sloppy bids are another indicator of trouble. Any bid you receive should have everything written down, from the specific products they’ll be using to an exact description of the work to be done. And no, “Replaced roof with Certainteed shingles” is not specific enough.
Worker Conduct Agreements are not common, but the contractors who use them are guaranteed to have a more professional workforce than those that don’t. These agreements lay out the minimum expectations of worker conduct while at your home, such as:
- No coarse language.
- No loud music.
- Always be well-groomed.
- Always be respectful toward homeowners and their property.
- Keeping the work site tidy at all times.
- Cleaning up at the end of each day.
We’d add drug and background checks to the list, but that has become the standard thanks to the companies that insure the industry.
Shoddy workmanship can turn even the most well-funded projects into your personal nightmare. In fact, a good crew installing bottom-dollar shingles on your roof will do more for your home than a sloppy crew installing a full Certainteed roof system.
So, you want to make sure that the company you pick has a training program for their installers bolstered by the factory certification of its workers.
But there’s a shortcut to this – check for a workmanship guarantee.
A company that is confident about the quality of its installations will offer a strong guarantee that is free of loopholes. One year of coverage is the mandated timeframe, so you want a company that takes it further.
To use ourselves as an example, we offer a 15-Year Worry-Free Guarantee. If anything goes wrong within those 15 years and it’s our fault, we’ll make it right at no cost to you. If we can’t solve the issue, we’ll refund every dime you spent on the project.
And if it’s a manufacturer’s defect, we’ll do the leg work to ensure you are treated fairly by the manufacturer.
We can offer this level of coverage because we believe in our installers. No other contractor is willing to match our guarantee, which speaks volumes about their confidence in their workforce.
Our Gift To You
We’ve touched on the basics of proper contractor standards in this blog, but there are more details that we can’t fit into a short piece. That’s why we developed our Contractor Standards Guide and give it away for free to anyone who asks.
Even if you don’t select Clemens Home Solutions to help you with your exterior home project, we want to ensure that you know how to choose a good contractor.
If you need work done on the exterior of your Muncie area home and want the best available products installed by Indiana’s best installers, contact us at Clemens Home Solutions for a free estimate.