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Do You Trust Your Contractor?

Do You Trust Your Contractor?

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A major consumer issue today in Southeast Texas revolves around home contractor scams. Almost everyone in this reading area knows of someone that has been scammed by a contractor. Could be a neighbor, a relative, or even themselves.

Contractors have walked away from jobs without finishing them, have walked away without any work at all after receiving a large deposit from the homeowner, and have performed shoddy work and refuse to fix it. The list goes on and on.

Contractor scams cost the homeowner money because of damage caused to the home, because they can lead to more work to repair bad work, and just as important for those of us flooded by Hurricane Harvey – because it keeps you out of your home longer.

If you have a project that needs doing, first, you have to find a contractor to do your work. How do you do that? Friends and family head the list of sources. The next source would be local advertisements, such as in the Orange Leader, or even road signs.

Don’t just find one contractor; I am not alone in stressing that you should get quotes from at least three different contractors.

Contractor says Trust MeOnce you have selected at least three contractors, how can you be assured that they are reputable and produce quality work? If you don’t personally know the contractor and are familiar with his work, how can you gain a higher level of trust to make a judgement?

My recommendation is to rely on a third party, a third party that you trust, preferably a local third party that you trust.

The best references come from people you know that have used the contractor. Another, but less trustworthy, are references the contractor gives you from his customers that you don’t know.

The amount of trust that you need to have in order to select a contractor relates directly to risk, dollar risk. The risk to you on a $25,000 job is a lot more than it would be for a $250 job.

In today’s world, we look to the internet to find reviews. According to a “2017 Local Consumer Review Survey”, the Better Business Bureau sits right behind Google in the top 4 review sites for local searches online (15% for BBB, 16% for Google).[i]

Unlike Google, the BBB has a local presence here in SETX, with an office in downtown Beaumont covering the Golden Triangle.

The BBB encourages businesses, both large and small, to support 8 basic “Standards of Trust”: (1) build trust (2) advertise honestly, (3) tell the truth, (4) be transparent, (5) honor promises, (6) be responsive, and (7) safeguard privacy, and (8) embody integrity.

In addition to online consumer reviews, the BBB encourages the public to file consumer complaints with them about businesses and they will act as an ombudsman to try and resolve the problem. Whatever the outcome, the complaint and the response from the business are recorded for the public in their online database.

Local businesses that subscribe to the 8 basic Standards of Trust and support the efforts of the BBB are referred to as “accredited businesses” and are allowed to use the BBB logo to signify this higher level of trust.

If I were looking for a contractor and had to choose from several unknowns, I would look to local advertisements to get a list. Then I would go to the BBB website for a review; I might go to Google or Facebook too. That could cut the possibles down to a short list. If any contractors on the short list were “accredited businesses” they would get extra points in my book.

Unfortunately, there is no easy way to guarantee that your choice is the best one. You can only cut down on the risk by doing some homework.  When the job is done – whether it’s fantastically good work or otherwise, please go back to the BBB website (and whatever others you used) and provide a review so that others who come after you can benefit from your efforts.

Good luck.

And, for the contractors, go make sure the BBB has you listed and get some reviews on BBB.org, Google, Facebook, and Yelp.

[i] BrightLocal.com is a Search Marketing firm that helps local businesses grow their online presence. With a staff of about 85 people, they are headquartered in the UK, with branch offices in Ukraine and the Philippines. They have published a “Local Consumer Review Survey” every year since 2010. (https://www.brightlocal.com/learn/local-consumer-review-survey-2016/)

David Derosier consults with small business on planning and marketing issues, and provides web design and hosting services through OhainWEB.com, an accredited business with the Better Business Bureau that is rated A+ by BBB. He can be reached at JDAVID@Strategy-Planning.info.

It’s a Matter of Trust

It’s a Matter of Trust

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It’s A Matter of TrustJ David Derosier

One of the most important characteristics for all our personal and business interactions is TRUST.

As individuals we interact with other individuals on a daily basis. Likewise, we interact with organizations – businesses, church, governmental bodies, schools, police, and other public officials. Today we also do a lot of interaction over the Internet.

In its most simple form, people and organizations inspire trust when (1) they make choices based on justifiable standards, (2) they take others into account in their decisions, and (3) they do what they say they will do.

Trust starts with ourselves. How do we stack up against these three simple criteria? Then we look at others, and judge them in relation to our own trustworthiness.

Experience, over time, teaches us confidence in whom and what we know, allowing us to comfortably deal with our interactions. This confidence from experience is called trust. However, more and more we are interacting with the whom-and-what that we don’t know. Establishing trust gives us the confidence to deal with the new as we gain more experience and knowledge.

Sometimes trust is inherited. If you meet the son of your most trusted childhood friend, you are inclined to trust him, too. When you meet a church pastor or the Superintendent of Schools for the first time, you may be inclined to trust him or her because of their office. Experience teaches us whether our initial sense is justified and experience will sometimes change that sense of trust over time.

Trust is one element of what is called Ethics, a set of moral principles that guide the way an individual or an organization behaves. Acting in an ethical way involves distinguishing between “right” and “wrong” and then making the “right” choice

Are there other kinds of trust? Absolutely. In finance and estate planning, a trust is a fiduciary arrangement that allows a third party, or trustee, to hold assets on behalf of a beneficiary or beneficiaries.

I spent decades in the business of international information security (Information and Communications Technology – ICT). Trust in that world is similar to what we will deal with except that it is in relation to National Security and absolute conformance with standards.

So why am I spending so much time talking about trust? I’m setting the foundation upon which my upcoming columns will be based. In the past I have written about the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Praising people and organizations that have selflessly served others, some that have made mistakes in my eyes, and a few that were just plain ugly in their dealings. This will continue with articles that discuss various aspects of our community with a slant towards trust.

We will be addressing trust in the business world and elsewhere in the community, especially when it goes wrong – like contractor scams that have happened to flood victims. Things to do when trust goes bad; how to address organizational failures when you have depended on them, ways to increase trust; and who’s out there that helps to build trust?

I will also look to you, the reader, for assistance. I will be asking you to email me with trust issues you have encountered that relate to my articles. Perhaps we can shed some light on them, or even resolve the issues.

J David Derosier consults with small business on planning and marketing issues, and provides web design and hosting services through www.OhainWEB.com He can be reached at JDAVID@Strategy-Planning.info.