There are thousands of home repair contractors in our area, and even the number of foundation repair companies seems to be growing. How do you know who to trust with your home repairs? A variety of advertisements state that you should trust their foundation company, but who really should you place your biggest investment – your home – in the hands of, when it needs help? Let’s discuss six things to consider when faced with this big decision.
Money – How Important Is Price?
We tend to talk about money first, but money is not always the better guide to choosing the best option for home repairs. “You get what you pay for” is a common phrase that we often find true. When considering a foundation repair company to handle your foundation repairs, what are you paying for?
- Does your repair come with a warranty or are you simply paying for a one-time installation in hopes that it does the job?
- Will you have a customer care team available to answer questions before, during, and after the project is complete?
- Does the foundation company expect a down payment before any work begins?
- Will you have to pay whether you are satisfied or not and whether the work resolves the initial problem?
The service you pay for, along with the service you actually get, could be more important than the price of the product.
There is nothing wrong with obtaining multiple estimates from various foundation repair companies. In fact, we recommend comparing prices. Some companies do increase their prices for the wrong reasons. Even still, many industry leaders must increase prices just to keep up with the cost of supplies, which is unfortunately beyond their control. It is okay to ask a foundation repair company about their pricing but ask about the quality and service of your upcoming investment, too.
Some companies understand that the money for your necessary home repair project, especially a larger expense like foundation repair, may not always be affordable. Ask the foundation repair contractor about payment options.
- Do they accept credit cards or personal checks?
- Do they accept more than one credit card as payment?
- Do they offer financing or a payment plan?
- What about 90 days same as cash?
- Do they require a down payment? If so, how much?
- When is payment due?
Answers to these questions play key roles when faced with the unexpected expense of foundation repair.
Service – Is There A Warranty?
When shopping for higher-priced items, you expect a warranty. You expect the product to stand the test of time if you are going to risk the purchase. You expect the item to work, to hold up, to last. Asking a prospective foundation repair company if the service you are seeking comes with a warranty is important in weighing your decision. Some repairs from reputable companies, such as those near invasive tree roots, may not come with a repair warranty because it is inevitable to eliminate the likelihood that the problem will return. Some, on the other hand, offer warranties for a limited time, because they know adjustments in the future will be needed and are manageable. Over time, the earth shifts and soil settles, and this can cause a repair to need an adjustment, by no fault of the customer or the foundation company. Other major repairs, such as underpinning with steel piers or a crawl space encapsulation, are often warranted for a lifetime. If a foundation repair company uses proven technology and reputable products, and they stand behind their work, the repairs will likely come with a warranty. Ask the foundation repair company you are considering about their warranties and why they may or may not have them in place.
Next, you will want to find out if the warranty is transferable. Perhaps you plan to sell your house, and the buyer requests a guarantee that the foundation repairs you recently completed are warrantied. Transferable warranties are the most ideal warranty because they remain with the home and not the homeowner. Find out from the foundation repair company how they handle the transfer of warranty. At USS, no action is needed with transferable warranties on any foundation repairs. We keep the documentation on file so that in the event a new homeowner does need to reach out to us regarding their previous repairs, the process is made as easy as possible.
Ask the foundation repair company representative what is included with the warranty, as well.
- Are there annual maintenance requirements in order not to void the warranty?
- Are actions needed on a regular basis to make sure the repairs are in working order?
- Do any of the products come with a manual or further instruction?
- What is the process for calling in warranty service?
- Does warranty service come with additional costs?
The more questions you ask the better. A trusted foundation repair company is willing to see that your questions are answered, that you are educated on the process, and that you are well taken care of.
And to be taken care of, we don’t just mean until the sale is complete. Any foundation company that you plan to hire to complete repairs on your foundation should be one that is available and accessible following your repairs. Ask about their customer service and who you can call when you have questions.
Experience – How Knowledgeable Are They?
A foundation repair company that is well versed in their explanations of the repairs they offer are likely to be well experienced. This is not always the case, but they should be. Hiring the right foundation contractor calls for more research on their experience:
- How long has the company been in business?
- How long has the salesperson/project manager worked for this company?
- Is the representative a salesperson putting in the hours to meet a sales quota?
- Or is this a longstanding team member who cares about the service they provide and cares about restoring the integrity of your home?
- What other industry-related experience do they have?
The right project manager may have experience in foundation repair, house renovation, general contracting, and/or other industry-related fields. This experience plays an important role in the outcome of your repair plan and your repair.
The representative of the foundation repair company that you choose should listen to your concerns as a customer and put you and your home repair needs first. However, take into consideration that the more experienced project manager may have a more effective repair in mind. They’ve seen what works and have probably had experience repairing what doesn’t. These project managers will also be aware of the latest industry trends and proven technologies. Open communication about the expectations of each party involved will prove beneficial when dealing with experience at all levels.
Accreditation – What Are Their Certifications?
Every industry has its standard certifications, and the foundation repair industry is no different. However, not all foundation repair companies carry or require this accreditation. Are their products engineer tested, field tested, or load tested? USS is a foundation repair company with the ICC-ES certification which includes, but is not limited to, the steel foundation piers and the carbon fiber straps that they install.
Time – How Quickly Will I See A Repair Plan?
Often, time is of the essence. We all “needed it yesterday.” Repair plans that are standardized, readily available, or quoted over the phone and not catered to the needs of your personal residence are, however, ineffective. Most of the time with an experienced foundation repair company it is worth the wait, for an appointment and for the repair plan. Turnaround time does not automatically discredit the experienced foundation repair company that stands by its work. There is probably a good reason that a same-day appointment is so hard to book. Wait for the foundation professional who will come to your home and carefully, thoroughly inspect it. The desirable project manager is the one who creates a personalized repair plan for you and for your home that not only corrects the issue but addresses the cause of it. These detailed repair plans can sometimes take days to prepare when extensive foundation repairs are necessary.
Read over your foundation repair plan (only accept one that is in writing), and make sure it is specific to your home and your home’s needs.
- Does it take into consideration your concerns as a homeowner?
- Does it make sense? If not, ask for an explanation of that part of the plan.
- Does it list warranty information?
- Does it have the names and contact information of each party involved?
- Does it detail the pricing and your payment responsibility?
- What does the fine print and/or each clause within the contract say? (USS does not include “fine print.”)
- Ask if there is anything else you need to be aware of that is not in the contract.
If you have any questions, call your project manager, and address any concerns before signing. A trusted foundation repair company will guide you through these steps without being pushy. Let them know if you feel pressured in any way. Keeping the lines of communication open is the best way to an agreeable contract and a more secure foundation.
Reviews – What Do People Say?
After you find out what the foundation repair contractor has to say about the company, or perhaps even before, research the reviews. The Better Business Bureau and local Chamber of Commerce are a great place to start. There are numerous online sources to find reputable reviews, but as with anything, you must also determine the credibility of not only the sources, but also the person leaving the review. What are others saying not just about the company, but about the service, the people, the process, the attitude, the quality of the work, and the experience in general? There are many ways to weigh the value of reviews on foundation repair companies, and that can take time.
Sometimes it all boils down to intuition. What is your gut telling you? But, sometimes, it simply comes down to “do they care?” Does the foundation company you are seeking truly care about you and your home? At USS, we build our own foundation on improving lives by guaranteeing our best. We care about you as a homeowner, and we care about your home. When working for you, we treat your home as we would our own. We love what we do and do what we love. And we strive to do our best in it all, so much so that “We Guarantee Our Best.” There are many reasons homeowners trust USS. It is earned and it is proven. Over 23,000 satisfied customers have expressed their support for USS through reviews, feedback, and return business. So should you!
If you need further help in making a foundation repair decision that impacts the integrity of your home, call us at USS. Our services go beyond foundation repair, and we hope they go beyond your expectations. If you need floor supports, waterproofing, concrete or foundation repair, and you live in Middle TN, Southern KY, or Northern AL, we’re here to help!