Garage Door Repair
10 Tips A Homeowner should follow before hiring a garage door repair company
This article uses examples relative to the garage door repair industry, but in reality, every tip applies to all home service industries. I left out the obvious ones like BBB, ask friends and family for recommendation and Angie’s list because quite frankly in my opinion they are 3 of the worst you can use. The amount of fake businesses is staggering and their to good and quick for the BBB to track. I look at all the great reviews for people that just spent $800 for a door repair they could have had done for $200 and cap off their review by saying”will definitely recommend to friends and family” As for Angie’s list unless you know the search parameters, you are only shown companies who pay to be in your area.
Some Basic Facts
Every week, S.E. Michigan adds at least Seven fake garage door repair companies. Other Services industries are not immune to this growing problem. As the WSJ reported last June, millions of businesses use a phony address to gain a competitive position in the search engine rankings.
Who is causing the problem
The primary two sources are 1) established companies who want to rank high in the search results for other cities. So they use a address from a friend, family member or virtual office to give the illusion of an additional business location. 2) Lead Generators, Kelly Molloy at New Breed Marketing defines: “A lead generation website helps site visitors while gathering information about them for your company. It’s more than just a digital brochure; it’s an experience that educates and nurtures prospects.” In the home service industry, lead generators do not educate or nurture prospects. They are nothing more than a shell company. They don’t perform the work When you call their phone number; that call is forwarded to the company buying the leads.
So what's the big deal? More competition = lower prices Right?
The influx of competition has pushed many established companies farther down in the search results, leaving them with the only alternative available, paid click advertising. Several advertising clicks for particular keywords are over $60 If you click on that ad and don’t call the company you just cost them $60 If it takes a couple of clicks to get a call and two calls to get the sale (service call) it costs the company $240 to get your business. So when that company surprises you with an invoice for $800 that you could have had done for $200, you will know why.
10 Homeowner Tips Worth following before hiring a contractor
- Thanks to Google’s Guarantee Program, the majority of reputable service companies have a state-issued license. While not mandatory in the Michigan door repair business, any job over $500 in Michigan is required to have one. A reputable licensed contractor will post-license information on their website Search for A Michigan Licensee
- If a contractor’s website lists several locations within a 30-mile radius, that’s a red flag. It doesn’t make sense financially to have multiple locations. They are trying to trick into thinking they are 5 minutes away when, in essence, they could be 40 miles away. However, if they are 40 miles away and are willing to fix your problem on your time frame and at a reasonable price, then, by all means, use them. Just be sure there are no trip fees for traveling that distance.
- Websites with no business name or address are red flags. This will most likely be a Lead Generator who typically rent cheap short term office space or co-share space in several target cities. Each location may have anywhere from 2 to 8 shell companies operating from that location. Each shell company has a website with the objective of being found on Google’s local business map. Phone inquiries are forwarded to whoever is paying for the leads. For many companies, this is the equivalent to winning the lottery because they have nothing to lose. If they gouge the customer, it won’t be them getting the lousy review; it will be the lead generator.
- The warranty is only as good as the company. Contractors will promise you the moon to get your business. They are offering extended warranties that seem too good to be true. Warranty work is a big part of daily activity. If something goes wrong and there’s damage to a vehicle or worse, an injury to a family member will your contractor be there or disappear.
- Google the business address on their website or on the listings map and make sure it’s there and not an empty building, house, or virtual office.
- Low service call fees – I guess people really believe they can get their door or opener fixed for $19 because it works. This is a trip charge fee just to visit your home. Most contractors wave the fee if you go a head with the repair but at a cost higher than average.
- Check reviews on Google and Yelp and look for reviews with substance over quantity. Fifty long, well thought out reviews are better than 500 reviews that say a great job.
- The company, with the most reviews, doesn’t make it the best. We may be called Five Star Doors for our 5-star reviews but were not perfect. No company is perfect, so when you see over 500 reviews with not one review under five stars, it’s only natural to question it.
- Do your research before hiring a garage door repair company. Depending on the company, garage door repair fee’s for the same repair can range between $200 and $800. If a company can’t give you a ballpark estimate over the phone, be prepared for a hard sell when they show up.
- Angie’s list and home advisor are two excellent websites to get a ballpark estimate of what the company charges for a particular service.
Ian spent several years working for ARAMARK where he sold and helped manage the indirect service contracts for Ford Motor Co. At the time, it was ARAMARK largest account.In 1996, he was diagnosed with ALS and continued to work until 2000. He provides Pro-Bono consultation for the HVAC, Pest Control, Garage Door Repair, Electrical, Painting, Insurance industry.