Due diligence-is an investigation of a business or person prior to signing a contract, or an act with a certain standard of care. It can be a legal obligation, but the term will more commonly apply to voluntary investigations.
I cannot stress enough the importance of Due Diligence in this day in age. We have become so savvy with technology and online manipulation that it seems ANYONE can be good at something if they have money. Let me explain. When you research a company, the first area you will probably search will be “online reviews” correct? Well did you know that companies can pay 3rd party individuals and organizations to write positive 5 star reviews on large forums like Google, Home Advisor, etc.? Don’t believe me…take a deep look into many of our competitors online especially over a months time period. You will notice the negative reviews disappear and out of NOWHERE there is dozens to well over 40 positive reviews within a 1 month time period. How in the world is that possible??? Well, they are paying for the negative reviews to be removed and the same company to replace those negative reviews with positive ones. This happens more than you may realize.
There is actually a very dishonest company right here in Colorado Springs that has been sued many times and they are on the front page of Google. One individual who reached out to us for help actually said they had written 2 negative reviews online, both were never published or immediately removed. When asking why, the review company replied “the company reached out prior to you writing the review and warned us that this was a dishonest disgruntled homeowner that didn’t have a valid complaint!” Wow!!!
So this is the way it works, if the company thinks that the homeowner MAY write the review negatively, they can have it removed prior to it ever being posted to the public just as long as they get there first. Furthermore, there are companies online that actually make a living removing and replacing negative reviews with positive reviews. If you look on Google for basement finishing company Colorado Springs I want you to take note of a couple things. If you look closer into some of the main companies that come up you will notice they have several different accounts on companies like Houzz or Yelp that are spelled slightly different. This is to cover up any prior accounts they had containing a lot of negative reviews that would cost too much to remove. To argue even further, type in some of those companies names in the google search bar and you will pull up “…horrible company” or “….why can’t I write a negative review” in the search bar. Well you can’t write that review because they are paying thousands per month so that they look perfect which many people who didn’t do their Due Diligence buy into it only to be fooled and regret that decision later.
The biggest rule of thumb is get an ACTIVE referral list from the company. What do we mean by this? This referral list has the names of individuals that they are currently working for and homeowners they just finished up within the same genre you are looking to hire them for. Obviously you wouldn’t care to talk to a referral about a deck when your looking to remodel your kitchen, so get qualified referrals. This allows you to get the dirt on them from people they are currently working for and there isn’t anything they can hide at that point. This is something we provide for every homeowner who is interested in using us. They can even cross reference the names on the referral list with our reviews that we showcase online and on our website to see that these are real people in Colorado Springs and weren’t purchased reviews.
Also, sign up for companies like Angies List. Companies like Angies List do an excellent job in filtering out the horrible companies by awarding the good companies with awards that only the true good and honest companies can achieve. We have won their highest awards every year we have been with them. Even one step further, look up their names on the Colorado Department of Labor and see if they have good standing with the state. You may be surprised what you can find here on some of our competitors. Lastly, it is always a good idea to see or have a copy of the companies insurance as well to make sure that your greatest investment, your home, is well covered in the event something were to go wrong.
The other areas where Due Diligence is essential is the contract itself. KNOW WHAT IS BEING BID! All to often we will hear from a client that they want us to match another competitors bid. When we ask to see the bid and if the bid is for the same scope and apples for apples, they homeowner always say yes…same scope and apples for apples. EVERY single time we look at a competitors bid, we notice a mountain of shady half truths about what is being bid and no real clear understanding of what the bid even comes with. There has to be a clear understanding of what is being bid with either a clear list of the items to be provided or an allowance for all of the items to be provided. Also, don’t hesitate asking about the crew they hire. The truth of the matter is, in most cases the salesman might talk a great game but he isn’t the installer. Know the quality of the installers and the team as well before you get into the position of regretting the decision you made. We say all to often that its easy to get a cheaper bid. Just hire cheaper quality laborers and contractors that don’t take pride in their work (easy to do these days) or just use cheaper lower quality materials.
Lastly, get a guaranteed price! A good contractor will know what needs to be done, what codes need to be enforced and how to accomplish the task without getting in over his head and going back to you for more money. If there isn’t a guarantee or a VERY good explanation that can be confirmed as to why there isn’t a guarantee, DO NOT SIGN WITH THEM. It won’t take you very long to read some incredibly horrible stories online about dishonest contractors. There aren’t very many honest, reliable and trustworthy contractors left unfortunately so it may take some real searching to find the honest ones but once you do…you have a builder for life and the peace of mind that goes with it.
Thanks for reading,