Granted, we live in a technology-driven, fast-paced world. “Send me a text, email me this, I’ll DM you later with the details.” More and more we are transacting by phone and not in person. Sure, there are some benefits—faster service, quicker decisions.
There can also be some downsides.
You’re about to put a new roof on your home. It’s not the car or vacation you had hoped for, however, it is an important investment—functionally and aesthetically.
The key is, if you have to spend the money, make smart choices, like carefully selecting your contractor. Selecting a contractor from an app isn’t like ordering take-out or buying items online. A lot more than money is at stake and you should want more assurances that the company you are considering is the right choice.
The HomeAdvisor Approach
More and more I’m hearing from contractors that homeowners are going online and picking a couple of contractors off of a home services site and then asking them to send an email estimate for a new roof. At this point, all you know is there are a few companies who APPEAR to be equal in stature because they are listed on a site.
You get a few estimates, all through email, without ever actually talking to any of these contractors. You’re basically price shopping. Now, getting a fair price and comparing contractors is a good thing to do. Then, how do you know which contractor is the right one? “I’ll take the cheapest.” “If he’s the most expensive he must be the best.” Or, “I’ll take the one in the middle — not too cheap, not too high.”
Why Face-to-Face Matters
What’s missing is the human factor. By scheduling to meet with these contractors, you can learn what sets them apart and why they think they are the best choice to address your specific needs. You’ll also get a feel for that contractor’s commitment to satisfying customers and performing high-quality work in your community.
- Does the contractor carry credentials and have a well-trained workforce?
- How does he present himself…as a professional who is courteous, respectful and on time?
- What products and warranty coverage does he offer?
- Is the company licensed, insured and how long has it been in business?
- What happens if there is a problem?
- And, the ultimate: Can I TRUST this contractor? — A key question that an email can’t answer.
No one wants high pressure, lengthy sales pitches. I get it. And, if that concerns you, give prospective contractors a time limit. The key here is — at least give them the opportunity to meet you in person and inform you about their company and services. I don’t know why a buyer would make a major purchase without spending at least a half an hour of face-time interacting with the seller.
A Chance to Earn Your Trust
Many contractors we work with spend a lot of time and money building their reputations—through training, education, advertising, solid work and excellent service. They thrive on referrals and are committed to giving you an excellent experience so you’ll recommend them to a friend. Many have built their businesses from the ground up and are proud of the reputations they have built. They want that chance to demonstrate that to you.
Ultimately, your satisfaction and peace of mind is the end game for both you and them.
Leave high tech for ordering take-out, clothing or an Uber. Technology, though, is great for up-front research. When it comes down to actually making a selection, don’t base it solely on an email price quote and some online reviews. Meet contractors face-to-face and spend a little time to understand their businesses, let them walk you through the investment you are about to make and most importantly, give them a chance to EARN your trust.
Jay Butch joined CertainTeed Roofing in 1998 and is responsible for all contractor programs and marketing. Jay adds valuable insight from his extensive interactions with contractors across the country.