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Reading Between The Lines OR Is Every Local Contractor Created Equal?

Posted by Bonnie Bornstein Fertel on Wed, Apr 17, 2013 @ 02:35 PM

Bornstein Sons is your local NJ contractor for HVAC, heating, air conditioning, generators and more...Why didn’t the other guy tell me that?!
Why every contractor is not the same.

You’ve finally decided that it’s time to replace your heating or air conditioning system.  You've suffered through enough power outages, and you're ready to install a backup generator.   So, you search online, ask for recommendations, and start scheduling appointments for estimates from local contractors.


After meeting with several people, some strictly salesmen, some, fortunately, owners, you get the sense that everyone doesn’t read the same documentation or give the same presentation. And, it bothers you. (and rightly so!) In the world of comparing ‘apples to apples’; some contractors like to be ‘oranges’. What does that mean? Good question!

People in business like to do business, meaning, move the product, make the sale, and get the job. Some companies prefer establishing long-term relationship with their customers, and enjoying that over years and often decades. (These are the oranges; we like to think we belong to the latter of the two groups.)

So, recently we’ve come across several customers who have questioned statements or remarks that are made at the time of an estimate appointment. Want an example?

In meeting with a client recently about the installation of an Emergency Whole House Standby Backup Generator, we determined the proper location of the equipment. The homeowner was puzzled! “No one else told me that!” she stated. “Why wouldn’t they let me know that?” Eyebrows raised, the conversation continued. “You’d have to ask them; perhaps they never bothered to read the documentation from the manufacturer.”

Was this the first time of an encounter of this sort? Well, actually, no…it happens all the time. Transparency and full disclosure are important tools when it comes to dealing with the public. Unfortunately, it’s not always the practice and these attributes are not always found.

Here are a few tips:

1.    Look for expertiseYou want a company that’s done many of the type of installations you’re looking for, and has the know-how and experience to back it up.
2.    Ask for proposals in writing. - Do your due diligence.
3.    Choose a contractor on honesty, preparedness, professionalism and reputation; not exclusively price.  - (Does ‘you get what you pay for’ ring a bell?)
4.    “All my neighbors used them!”Remarks like these are sometimes uncovered during lawsuits and legal procedures.
5.    Consider dealing with owner-operated companies as opposed to meeting with salesman. Ask to meet with the owner.Owners have a vested interest in your complete satisfaction and that doesn’t end at the sale.
6.    Don’t be afraid to ask more questions and perhaps request a follow-up visit.  - Sometimes projects such as these take time.

Good Luck!
Need an estimate in northern or north central NJ? Let us know!

Topics: Choosing a Contractor

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