HOUSTON: On Tuesday, September 19, the 2017 Best Pick Reports guides began arriving in Houston mailboxes throughout the city and were distributed to Dallas homes earlier this fall. The free guides, identifiable by their characteristic blue-and-white covers, promote A-rated home service companies certified annually by EBSCO Research's in-house research team.
In the wake of Hurricane Harvey's devastation, the company hopes its guides will help equip Houston homeowners with the information they need when hiring a quality home service provider.
EBSCO Research knows that choosing a home service provider can be difficult, especially following a natural disaster, when disreputable companies endeavor to take advantage of an increased demand for home services. In keeping with their mission to help homeowners make informed decisions, the company offers the following advice for hiring a contractor with confidence:
•Use a trusted source. Inclusion in the Best Pick Reports guide is by invitation alone, extended only if a company has met strict qualifying criteria. Every year, their in-house research team interviews thousands of homeowners and records their recent experiences. Each Certified Best Pick must achieve an overall A grade based on homeowner reviews as well as carry the necessary state-required licenses and insurance. Other services advertise similar methods; always double-check their claims.
•Interview potential companies. Contact several companies to discuss the specifics of a project. The contractor should be able to provide project details, an estimated timeline for completion, and a cost breakdown. While price is important to the decision-making process, do not choose a service company on price alone, as a low priced-contractor could mean sacrificing quality and reliability. Additionally, understand that home service companies are extremely busy after a natural disaster; do not settle for a subpar company because of better availability.
•Check for licenses and insurance. Verify that any company that you're considering is properly licensed and insured. Services like plumbing, electrical, and HVAC must be licensed with the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation. Other common services, like roofing and tree work, do not require trade licensing, but these companies must hold a current business license. Finally, make sure any company that comes to your property holds general liability insurance. Companies recommended in Best Pick Reports are all properly licensed and insured.
•Look for red flags. Warning signs of a disreputable contractor include: aggressive sales maneuvers, including scare tactics; unrealistically low estimates; requesting full payment up front; discounts for cash payments; unwillingness to sign a contract; and inability to provide evidence of the proper licensing and insurance. A trustworthy contractor will always allow potential customers the time to conduct research on and receive bids from other home service companies.
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