Attention Homeowners,

In light of the recent surge in housing demand, the market has witnessed an influx of numerous companies. This phenomenon extends beyond the realm of siding and encompasses various sectors within the home improvement industry. Our primary objective is to offer guidance in selecting a reputable and trustworthy company. We recognize the significance of certain pivotal factors in this decision-making process.

  1. Years of Business Operation: The duration for which a business has been in operation serves as a vital indicator of its reliability and stability. (click here to check contractor licensing) or you see how long they have been in business by looking them up on (Better Business Bureau). Always ask the company when they come on site about how long they have been in business and cross reference their response with the links provided. Some companies will use a combined years experienced method (Joe has 3 years, John has 2 and Phil has 4 – therefore we have 9 years of experience). Others will hire someone with a decade plus of experience and try to take credit for the crew/person they hire – telling customers they have more experience then they really do.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Misrepresentation: Both methods involve misrepresenting the actual level of experience possessed by the company or its team members. Whether it’s inflating years of experience through a combined total or taking credit for the experience of hired individuals, the end result is the same: deceiving customers about the true expertise of the company.False Advertising: Presenting inaccurate information about the company’s experience can be considered false advertising. Customers rely on the claimed experience when making decisions about which company to hire for their needs. When a company exaggerates its experience, it undermines the trust of its customers and potentially leads to dissatisfaction or legal repercussions.

    Lack of Transparency: Transparency is crucial in business relationships. By not accurately representing the true level of experience, businesses fail to provide customers with the information they need to make informed decisions. This lack of transparency erodes trust and integrity in the business.

    Unfair Competition: Misrepresenting experience levels creates unfair competition within the industry. Companies that genuinely have years of experience may lose business to those who falsely claim more experience than they possess. This distorts the market and puts honest businesses at a disadvantage.

    In conclusion, these practices not only violate ethical standards but also harm both customers and the business itself in the long run. It’s essential for businesses to be truthful and transparent about their qualifications and experience to maintain trust and integrity in their relationships with customers.

  2. The Illusion of size: Many smaller companies or lead generation entities go to great lengths to appear like large, established businesses. They often lack a real office or physical location, relying instead on multiple Google business pages to generate calls from various cities. These listings might use virtual addresses, such as post office boxes or storage units. They create impressive websites and saturate the internet to attract clients, and may even have branded work trucks to foster trust and give an impression of size. Typically, these businesses are run by single owners without any staff. These owners may conceal their role, posing as estimators, project managers, or salespeople, when in fact they are the sole operator. This is often due to their young age or lack of experience. Don’t be deceived by these tactics. If something goes wrong, these companies often vanish with your money or fail to fix their mistakes, leaving you with zero accountability.
  3. New Companies Badmouthing Veteran Companies: It’s a common trend these days to see new companies in construction trying some questionable tactics. Let’s face it, the way business is done has changed. Traditional stores are being replaced by online shops and lead generation companies. You’ve got big names like Angi and HomeAdvisor, as well as smaller players who think they know better than companies with decades of experience. A lot of these newbies are trying to copy the big guys business strategies, but they can’t copy their years of know-how and good reputation. So, they resort to spreading stories to make others look bad. They might say things like “I used to work for them, and they treat their employees terribly,” or “This old company is out to get us because we’re growing.” If you come across a company that’s trying so hard to tarnish another’s image, it’s a sign they might not be pros. Question the ethics of any company pulling these kinds of stunts. We’ve even seen some new companies trying to turn customers against established ones by spreading lies or badmouthing them online. For those of us in the industry, it’s crucial to stay alert. Don’t just accept what you hear; think critically about it. Companies that play dirty like this are not the kind you want to deal with. Keeping high ethical standards and being able to separate fact from fiction helps us maintain trust in the industry. After all, in a changing business landscape, having a good reputation and being honest are still the most valuable assets.
  4. Being licensed does NOT mean legitimacy or experience: Having a license doesn’t necessarily equate to expertise or reliability. In Washington state, acquiring a contractor’s license simply involves paying a fee, obtaining a bond, and securing insurance, totaling around $65 for licensing, $300 annually for a bond, and $100 monthly for general liability insurance. Unlike states like California or Hawaii, Washington doesn’t mandate prior experience. In California, for instance, a stringent process demands four years of experience, rigorous exams, credit and background checks before granting a license. In contrast, Washington doesn’t require testing or prior experience, leading to exploitation of this regulatory gap
  5. Web presence does not mean legitimacy: Simply having a presence on the web doesn’t automatically mean a business is legitimate. In the digital realm, appearances can be deceiving. Achieving a high ranking on search engines like Google or Bing is no longer a purely organic process; many companies are now hiring marketing firms to manipulate their positions. Don’t be swayed solely by the presence of customer reviews, advertisements, or claims of being in business for 5-10 years. It’s essential to exercise caution and not assume that these factors guarantee the company’s honesty and integrity. Always do your research on a company you are about to hire.
  6. Multiple Domains/Landing Pages: If a company pops up multiple times on the same google search results these companies are almost always scammers/lead generation entities. For Example; if you search “Ferndale Siding company” or “Bellingham siding company” on google and you see company ABC.com and XYZ.com on the top 5 results but when you click on ABC.com and XYZ.com you get to the same company, this is a scam company and in marketing you call these doorways. Scammers will try to create these doorways to multiple pages across the web to attempt to squeeze out the real companies from popping on the first page. These landing pages will always have a form to fill out – these landing pages are called lead generation landing pages.
  7. Receiving Unsolicited Calls: If you find yourself receiving unsolicited calls from companies you haven’t contacted directly, chances are your information was obtained through a lead generation form, and then sold to other entities. It’s advisable to only engage with established and reputable companies boasting 10-30 years of experience.
  8. Warranty is Key: A warranty is the key to feeling confident in your choice of contractor. Companies that offer very limited warranties, often just 1-2 years, typically do not want to be held accountable for their work. Some companies might be deceptive, offering long warranties of 10 years or more, despite only being in business for 1-2 years. Always ask how long a company has been in business when discussing a warranty. The warranty is the best indicator of a company’s commitment to their work and their customers.
  9. Geographical Presence and Physical Office: The geographic location of the company’s office plays a pivotal role. A physical presence lends credibility, offering homeowners a tangible point of contact. It’s important to verify the existence of a physical office. Many businesses do not have an office or run their business out of a residential address or a post office. This usually has a PO box or a unit # in their address (click here for google maps to look a business location) Some companies are a little more sneaky and will acquire an address just to be able to show up on google. We call these types of companies lead generation companies. Many of these locations are not real locations and are just random warehouses/storage facilities. Doing a drive by and inspecting the listing location is an easy way to insure this business actually exists there.
  10. Online Credibility and Transparency (using Better Business Bureau): The authenticity and honesty of a company’s online presence, encompassing aspects such as reviews, experience, and referrals, are indicative of its commitment to transparency and customer satisfaction. BBB is a great place to see a company’s reputation. And it even reveals who the owner is which may allow you to see their age and history. If a company does not have an A+ on BBB and is not accredited that means, either they have only been in business for a few years or less, or the company has had outstanding complaints that were recently resolved or closed out.
  11. Fabricating Accomplishments or affiliations: It may seem improbable, but there are instances where companies or entities falsely take credit for the work of others. For example, they might subcontract work and then present it as their own achievement. They could also attempt to leverage the reputation of a prominent local company by falsely claiming affiliation or disparaging that brand to gain business. Some may even fabricate stories to undermine competitors. When encountering such claims of association or insider knowledge, it’s prudent to question the integrity of the source and remind them of the unprofessional nature of such behavior.
  12. Referrals/Reviews: Unfortunately, we live in a world where people can be very dishonest. So its very important to not just trust reviews but ask for addresses, emails and phone numbers as references to see the company has actually done work. We recommend a minimum of 5-10 verified addressed to insure your project is protected. Some have even gone as far as to fabricating their reviews by asking family members, friends or marketing agencies to create fake reviews for them. Deciphering the difference between a real and fake review can be tricky but we suggest checking other sources such as guild quality, networx, yelp, Houzz, Angi, BBB, etc. A real customer will never leave reviews on 3-4 different websites. This is the first redflag that these reviews are not real. One indicator of a fake review is a suspicious username, often identifiable at a glance. It’s essential to be cautious, particularly with new companies, as a significant portion of their reviews—around 80-90%—may be from family or friends aiming to bolster their reputation. Some competitors resort to leaving negative reviews on larger local companies Google pages to spread falsehoods or tarnish their reputation. If you notice a sudden influx of reviews in a short period, it’s prudent to assume it could be a competitor attempting to damage the local brand’s reputation. Genuine reviews will be spread out and never be posted 5-10 at a time.
  13. Company & owner’s Reputation and Trustworthiness: The reputation and credibility of the company’s owner are paramount. Establishing trust is crucial in ensuring a positive working relationship. We would recommend checking if the company is part of the Hardie Elite Program to ensure that they have been vetted and can provide good quality work. If a contractor is not Hardie Elite they do not carry the necessary experience to do the work.
  14. Fabrication of Credibility: This practice is particularly intriguing and unfortunately quite prevalent in today’s digital age. Many companies seek to enhance their credibility by creating numerous online profiles across various platforms such as Houzz, Networx, Thumbtack, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and more. They often resort to duplicating their competitor’s content and business strategies, including the software they utilize (such as the Hover 3D Visualization Tool) and the tools for estimating and invoicing. They will even host links all over their websites to reputable companies and have logos of many different vendors that they hold no partnership or relationship with to earn trust and credibility. They will often times steal colors, logos and styles of similar companies and rip off their brand and image to try to piggyback off of their success.Moreover, they may acquire credentials, such as BBB ratings, certifications, or preferred statuses, in an attempt to emulate the success of local reputable companies. Additionally, some companies claim to offer financing options, yet they often collaborate with obscure third-party vendors who do not actually provide in-house financing but instead seek referrals from local businesses to bolster their own operations.
  15. Real in-house financing VS 3rd party referrals: It’s important to note that legitimate in-house financing typically requires stringent qualifications, including several years of established business operations, solid financial stability, and significant revenue generation (in the millions). Mere claims of offering financing do not necessarily indicate the availability of genuine home improvement financing. Legitimate financing options such as GreenSky, Foundation, and Upgrade typically have robust requirements and direct relationships with reputable contractors, ensuring transparency and reliability in financing arrangements. There are dozens of online 3rd party “financing companies” that work similar to lending tree. You put in a request and they sell your data to multiple companies. The approval rate with 3rd party financing companies is less than 10%
  16. Sales tactics & Approach: In contemporary business practices, many enterprises – both real companies and lead generation entities – employ assertive sales techniques. They train their sales representatives to secure a sale in a single interaction, often employing high-pressure tactics. These strategies may involve enticing prospects with special offers such as contractor rates or significant discounts. Initial price quotes are typically inflated, with subsequent reductions, sometimes up to 50-60%, reminiscent of tactics employed in the automotive sales industry. Additionally, representatives may resort to consulting a fictitious supervisor to justify offering purportedly discounted rates due to alleged overstock or similar circumstances. These sales professionals tend to be very young and assertive demeanor but often lack substantive industry experience. Consequently, when confronted with genuine project-related challenges, their ability to provide meaningful assistance is often limited.
  17. Employee Structure and Accountability: A crucial aspect to consider is whether the company employs in-house staff or relies on subcontractors. This determination is pivotal in understanding accountability and responsibility in case of any unforeseen issues. You can see this by looking to see if the company has a workers compensation account open. If a company does not have a workers comp account open they are subcontracting their work out 100%. (click here to check contractor workers comp) Some companies may even open a workers compensation account to create the illusion they are legitimate but do not report any employees. The account will show “0” employees reported.
  18. Local Identity vs. Corporate Impersonality: The distinction between a local business and a faceless corporate entity holds significant importance. Opting for a business with a local presence ensures a personal touch and a vested interest in the community. Make sure the company has a face to their business.
  19. Blogs/Ai Generated Content: In the construction industry, a website serves as a pivotal tool for informing and engaging potential customers about a company’s services, expertise, and values. It’s a platform where companies showcase their projects, share valuable insights, and build trust with visitors. However, some websites deviate from this purpose and prioritize driving traffic over genuine engagement.These websites often employ tactics to manipulate search engine algorithms, aiming to artificially boost their rankings. One common tactic is flooding the site with a plethora of articles, often of low quality and little substance. These articles are typically churned out in large volumes and may lack authenticity or relevance to the company’s actual services. Additionally, such websites may feature an abundance of embedded links and AI-generated photos, designed to create an illusion of legitimacy and activity.

    However, upon closer inspection, these telltale signs often reveal the true nature of these websites: they are not genuine construction companies but rather lead generation entities. Their primary objective is not to provide valuable information or services but to capture leads and sell them to actual contractors or service providers. They exploit loopholes in search engine algorithms to attract traffic, often at the expense of user experience and authenticity.

    For customers navigating the digital landscape, it’s essential to discern between genuine construction companies committed to quality and service and these lead generation entities focused solely on driving traffic for profit. An authentic company’s website will reflect its values, showcase its projects and expertise, and prioritize user experience over manipulative tactics.

We are dedicated to assisting you in navigating through these factors, enabling you to make an informed decision when selecting a company for your home-related needs.

*This is for educational purposes only and is not legal advice but just the opinions of experts in the industry*

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Acme, WA
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