THE SEVEN KEYS TO FINDING A GREAT CONTRACTOR
- PART SEVEN: WARRANTY AND PROTECTION
This is our seventh and final installment in our series about the Seven Keys to Finding a Great Contractor. This certainly applies to my business of building premium decks, porches, and sunrooms, but really these principles apply to almost any area of work you might have a contractor perform services for you.
To review, the seven keys are:
- Customized Product
- Attention to Details
- Warranty & Protection
The warranty serves as the back-up plan for a consumer if things don’t go right with the builder. This applies to major problems in having the project completed (unscrupulous contractors have been known to walk away from a job when it gets difficult or too expensive to make things right), or may apply to things that come up after the job is done and the contractor has been paid.
Small – and sometimes not-so-small – repairs are often needed after a job is completed. This is normal in construction as materials can change like the weather, buildings settle, and sometimes things become apparent weeks or months after construction is finished that were not apparent when the job was being performed.
A warranty is important because it outlines in advance what the builder is and isn’t willing to do to fix problems after the fact. Without a warranty, the homeowner still has certain protections under the laws regarding implied warranties. However, claims under these laws require the homeowner to file a legal claim and can be time consuming and expensive, not to mention stressful.
For the record, at Archadeck our warranty covers the entire project (meaning that we will fix anything that’s not right) for one year, and further covers structural issues (foundations, the integrity of framing, roof leaks, etc.) for a period of 5 years.
A homeowner’s best protection regarding warranty issues is to use a builder that is stable and has a good reputation. If a contractor goes out of business or moves on to another job or another area, it may be next to impossible to get something fixed after the fact, regardless of the written or implied warranty. On the other hand, a contractor that is concerned about his company’s reputation is more likely to meet or exceed what is written on his warranty. Homeowners can check with the Better Business Bureau and check a builder’s references and online reputation to see what his history is regarding honoring warranty claims. Once again, this is an instance where the cheapest builder may not be the best choice for you if there is a risk he won’t or can’t stand behind his work months or even years down the road.
The other major area of warranty coverage is what happens if the contractor defaults during the construction process. This is not that unusual and can be a BIG problem for the homeowner. This can happen for a multitude of reasons, including illness, financial failure, a job change, or a contractor simply pulling out of a job because he did it wrong and knows he is going to lose money on it. Again, legal remedies are available, but they will involve time, money, and stress. And again, this is a case where the more stable and reputable the contractor, the less your chance of running into this kind of problem.
Archadeck actually provides a guaranteed insurance program that covers customers if the local Archadeck office cannot complete a project due to death, illness, or going out of business. In this event, the Archadeck corporate office will pay to have the project completed by another Archadeck location.
One final word about warranty protection. It may be very difficult to pursue legal action against a contractor if you do not have a signed contract. This contract should specify the price, the scope of work, the timing of the work, etc. Without this document, you may not be able to prove what work was agreed upon and therefore what implied warranties should cover. Once again, here’s another reason to use a professional contractor who follows good business practices and not just a carpenter who can build you a cheap deck!
Our commitment to excellence in outdoor structure design and building ensures your project is built with quality and longevity in mind. Call Archadeck of Central SC today for a free design consultation at (803) 784-1566 or email us at email@example.com.
The Archadeck of Central SC team – Mike Reu, Marshall Reu and Tucker Reu
Please visit our extensive outdoor structure galleries located on our website for more examples of our lovely designs.