Have you bought a South Carolina home with an unfinished basement or thinking of giving your derelict basement a facelift? Either way, you will need to hire a basement contractor, as a DIY won’t cut it. A trip to the local hardware store won’t be of any use either.
The best next move is to find a basement repair contractor. But how do you know who’s legit and who’s after your money? Let’s find out.
Signs of a Bad Contractor
If a basement contractor in Columbia, SC, shows any of these signs, you shouldn’t work with them:
1) Negative customer reviews
While some people take online reviews with a grain of salt, you can’t question the claims of 10 different homeowners who are dissatisfied with the services of a single contractor. Negative reviews should prompt you to the fact that the contractor either does a shoddy job or doesn’t deliver what they promised. You don’t want to be the next customer leaving a negative review online, do you?
2) Communicates poorly
Communication is key to the success of your basement repair or waterproofing project. Often, projects fail because the contractor didn’t care to understand your needs or know your expectations. Any contractor who doesn’t provide necessary documents or who doesn’t listen to you probably isn’t a good choice for you. The same goes for anyone who is too busy to take your calls or reply to your emails. If you’re not happy with how they respond to your inquiries during the initial stage, you can expect worse once you have commissioned them to work on your basement repair project.
3) Undersells their services
Basement repairs and waterproofing projects aren’t cheap. Material cost, labor and other fees will run into thousands of dollars. At the end of the project, you will have spent a considerable amount of money. Any contractor who offers dirt cheap repairs may be hiding something from you. It could be they don’t have a genuine insurance cover, are not fully licensed, or don’t have the requisite expertise to undertake repairs. Any repair they may do may not stand the test of time. In the end, you’ll have to hire a competent contractor to fix their mess. And that will cost you more money.
4) Asks for a huge down payment
Another sign that you are about to hire the wrong contractor is if they ask for a considerable amount of money as down payment for the project. Contractors want to know you’re committed to the project, but any contractor who asks for more than 50% without a justifiable reason isn’t a good contractor. It could be they’re incompetent or just want to recover any money they might spend on the initial stages should you be dissatisfied with their work.
5) Not bonded or insured
Any contractor who doesn’t have worker’s compensation and liability insurance might cause you problems. What would happen if one of their technicians gets injured in your home? Or your neighbor’s property gets damaged? Or their work falls short of local codes? You’ll be held liable for any loss or injury. Ask to see their insurance policy or call their insurance carrier to confirm whether the contractor is covered.
Signs of a Good Contractor
Any basement contractor who meets these criteria is likely a good choice for your project.
1) Locally owned and operated
This is a no-brainer. A local basement contractor understands the basement problems of the residents better than a contractor from elsewhere. That way, they can offer the most appropriate solution. Also, they have a clear reputation in your neighborhood so you will know what they are capable of doing. Trust is another reason you should go to a local contractor. In case a problem arises after your project is completed or the repairs don’t hold up, you know where and how to find them.
2) Fully licensed
Any legit contractor has a license that allows them to undertake basement repairs in your municipality, city or state. It’s also a sign that they’re competent in their work. In other words, they can inspect, diagnose and fix any water-damaged basement. When you hire a licensed contractor, you can rest easy knowing they will handle your project in a professional way and abide by local codes, safety regulations, and state laws.
3) Local referrals
As a homeowner, you might be interested in finding out who your basement contractor has serviced. It could be other homeowners or commercial properties or institutions. A genuine contractor will be happy to name some of their local customers and help connect you with them. This way, you can find out what experience they had with the contractor you intend to hire.
4) Good customer reviews
Another good sign you’re about to work with a genuine contractor is they have many credible reviews online. Happy customers tend to leave positive reviews for a job well done. If you go to the contractor’s Facebook page, Yelp page or Google local business page and find customers speaking highly of them, you should enlist their help.
5) Extensive warranties
Lastly, a good contractor should offer you a warranty for your project and any fixtures or installations. You spent a good deal of money and want the assurance that their repairs will hold up for years. Legit contractors have no problems backing their repairs with warranties. Some typical warranties offered can be up to 25 years, as well as the lifetime of the structure; however, terms and conditions may apply.
For fast, professional, and affordable basement repairs in South Carolina, contact Mountain Valley Foundation Services.