How to Find a Great Contractor and What Materials They Recommend

by - Monday, April 15, 2019

A home is a place to feel safe and secure, warm and cozy, loved and happy. People continually improve their homes to capture those feelings. However, what started as a loving home improvement project, can quickly turn into a nightmare. Everyone has heard horror stories about bad contractors, poor quality materials and finding out years later – when the work is out of warranty, of course – that the homeowners were lied to and deceived. This is why it's always important to find a reputable contractor to work on the house and to know what materials the professionals recommend for a long and reliable life of the project. Three Best Rated® teamed up with award-winning garage door contractor The Garage Door Depot, award-winning security system installer Protection Plus Inc. and award-winning roofing contractor All Star Roofing to learn how to find great contractors and what systems/materials they recommend.

Do The Research

Sorry folks, there's no magical way of getting out of having to do research. “[You should] check credentials, disciplinary history and reviews from a variety of sites and sources,” Rob Miller of The Garage Door Depot says. For many home improvement projects, contractors will need special training, licenses or experience to know how to do the repairs correctly and legally. An unlicensed contractor may be able to make the repair cheaply, but the price will be paid in lower-quality materials, incorrect installations or even making the problem worse. This can be especially important when paying for deposits for the work or products. “Be sure your contractor has a license to accept deposits and is bonded. In Alberta [where The Garage Door Depot is located], this is called a Prepaid Contractor License,” warns Miller. “You would be surprised how many contractors do not possess this.” Lastly, reviews are king and a good contractor will have positive reviews all across the board. Looking at a variety of sources means there's less chance of review censorship (which, of course, a great contractor will never do).

Get Multiple Bids (and do even more research)

A bid in the simplest terms is a quote. “Get multiple bids/quotes and get educated,” Miller says. “Be sure when comparing quotations that what is being considered is truly comparable.” That's where the do more research part comes in. The client should make sure that the quality, durability, performance and lifespan are all comparable. The cost over time should be factored as well. By dividing cost over expected life span, the client can get an idea of how much they are paying per year for the life of the project. In the end, it could cost more per year to go with a cheaper option than the more expensive option. Also, a more expensive but better-performing piece of equipment may be worth the extra money. A home is a long-term investment and it's worth spending a little extra money to make sure it lasts. In the end, compare apples to apples, not to oranges.

The Price is Not Everything

As with most things, the price only paints a portion of the picture. Supply and demand can be very tricky to get exactly right, so the price probably doesn't encompass all the benefits and all the costs for the customer. “Consider the contractor and what value they and their products bring to you,” Miller advises. The customer should consider how comfortable they are with the contractor – after all, they are inviting them to their home. If the customer feels uneasy, it may be a sign to find a different contractor. Value also encompasses support services, warranties and other programs the contractor may have.

Have a Contract

A contract is used to protect both the customer and the contractor. “This can ensure the contractor fulfills their duties to you,” Miller says. The contractor should want a contract, especially if they only accept money at the end of the job, as this protects them from non-payment. A contract also is physical evidence that the work was promised and money changed hands, which can be useful in a fraud case. It is always a good idea in any part of life to have a hard paper trail. The client should make sure they receive a copy of the contact. If the contractor refuses, it might be time to cut ties.

DIY is Not a Good Idea

There's a reason why contractors exist. They possess a skill-set most people do not have. “The dangers of DIY garage door repair are numerous and should be taken seriously before you engage in a project,” Miller warns. This is not a sales pitch, but a real and genuine warning. The parts on a garage door are under tremendous pressure and have a lot of potential energy stored. A wrong move while attempting to DIY can and has been fatal.

When picking a contractor, many different factors have to be considered. One contractor isn't perfect for everyone, so each individual's needs and wants will have to be considered. In the end, a client should feel comfortable and confident in their choice. After all, it's their home that hangs in the balance.

As mentioned before, a home is a safe haven – emphasis on safe. Protection Plus Inc. is dedicated to keeping the home and their occupants safe through various security systems. Here are their top three choices for security systems.

1. The Premium Honeywell Lyric Alarm System

The Lyric is truly a revolutionary security system. “The Lyric ... marks a new era in alarm and automation services,” says Mike Wedmann, a senior security consultant at Protection Plus. “The Lyric is ... Apple Homekit-compatible for those that want the latest in home automation using the Apple platform.” For those who don't use Apple, the Lyric stands perfectly fine on its own. “The Lyric has an onboard camera on its touch screen control, providing a video clip of each person that arms and disarms the system,” Wedmann says. “It's [also] compatible with our Alarm-I video verification technology.” The Alarm-I video verification technology is an amazing little piece of tech that will send videos to both the monitoring station and the police when a break-in occurs. “This results in much higher arrest rates, reduces false alarms to almost zero and provides clients with instant video information,” Wedmann says proudly. The Lyric is not done with all its features and tricks. “The Lyric also more than doubles the distance of its wireless devices, making it a great choice for larger homes and businesses where wiring is not possible or desirable,” explains Wedmann. The Lyric uses a variety of devices such as motion and smoke detectors, all which come with the latest IoT technology. With all this technology, there will be a concern about vulnerabilities and software updates to address those. “The entire system ... allows for two-way communication for software updates and push notifications,” Wedmann reassures. The Lyric is truly a marvel of modern security. However, with technology-challenged clients, The Lyric might just be too much to handle.

2. The Honeywell Lynx Touch

For those who want a more user-friendly but reliable security system, The Lynx is for them. “The Honeywell Lynx Touch is a workhorse,” says Wedmann. “It has evolved over the years to be a very reliable and user-friendly alarm system.” The Lynx is also compatible with Protection Plus' Alarm-I video verification technology. “The Lynx brings strong wireless technology at an affordable price,” Wedmann says. It has three levels of monitoring – conventional landline, Wi-Fi and cellular. This allows the home to still be protected despite other issues. With The Lynx, the homeowner isn't sacrificing much in terms of automation. “It can also work with z-wave automation technology and Honeywell's Total Connect virtual app service,” Wedmann reassures. While The Lynx isn't as technologically beefed up as The Lyric, it is still a great system. “It has a simple user interface making it a favorite for those less-tech-savvy clients,” Wedmann says, “It's also backwards-compatible to Honeywell 5800 series wireless devices, making it a favorite choice for updating older systems.” All in all, The Lynx is a great choice for those who want a great system without all the fancy bells and whistles.

3. The DSC NEO Hybrid System

A hybrid security system takes advantage of both a hardwired and wireless system. “This new generation of DSC hardware takes hybrid technology to a new level,” Wedmann says. The NEO is a great fit for businesses and large families. “It has expanded the quantity of devices and user codes, making it a good fit for ... large numbers of users,” Wedmann explains. The NEO is also a great fit for jewelry stores. “Jewelry stores ... require ULC-certified systems and ULC-certified high-level monitoring,” explains Wedmann. “The NEO's latest-generation wireless hardware is now ULC-certified, reducing installation time and costs to the end user.” For those who want a simple and clean installation, this is the system. “Our installers have found the installation to be clean and simple,” says Wedmann. While the NEO is more suited for a business, for those with large families this may be the perfect system.

Of course, all the garage doors and security systems in the world are useless without a roof. All Star Roofing is here with their two favorite choices for roofing systems.

1. CertainTeed®​ Slope and Flat Roof

CertainTeed®​ is one of North America's leading providers of exterior and interior building products. “All Star Roofing uses CertainTeed®​ slope and flat roof systems,” Nigel Poag, the owner of All Star Roofing. “We only use high-quality roofing products.” With their commitment to quality, it seemed natural to Poag to use CertainTeed®​ products. With a variety of styles and colors, there's something for everyone. “All of CertainTeed's​®​ shingle products are covered by a standard SureStart protection for a specific period,” Poag adds. He uses CertainTeed​® because he believes it is the perfect intersection of quality and value.

2. Velux®​ Skylights

A skylight is a perfect way to add more natural light into a room. “When it comes to skylights, it starts and ends with Velux®​,” Poag says. Velux​®​ has a variety of skylights to fit every budget. They also have a 10-year no-leak warranty. Velux®​ boasts, “Velux®​ roof windows and skylights do not leak. Proven in installations and climates throughout the world, our exclusive flashing system will keep you dry and comfortable.” With bold statements like that, a warranty to back it and, most importantly, All Star Roofing's stamp of approval, the customer cannot go wrong with Velux®​ skylights.

Everyone should now be on their way to creating their perfect house. Remember, experts are experts for a reason. By finding a trusted contractor, a perfect home will start to be more than just a dream.

About The Garage Door Depot
The Garage Door Depot opened in August of 2013. A strict adherence to being exceptionally responsive to their customers allowed them to be competitive in a field with larger and older companies. They challenge themselves to be better every day and that allows them to consistently develop great service and products for their customers. They work as a team to provide their clients with top-notch products and exceptional value and workmanship. At The Garage Door Depot, customers can expect a commitment to customer service and quality. The company has been recognized for its excellence and was named one of the top three best garage door repair companies in Calgary, Alberta, for 2019 by Three Best Rated®.

5918 5 Street SouthEast, #9
Calgary, AB T2H 1L4
Phone: 403-366-7911

About Protection Plus
Protection Plus has been serving Canadian home and business owners since 1994. With over 20 years of experience with security systems, the customer can be assured they have picked the right company. They work with all budget ranges and can build a customized package to fit their customers' unique needs. Their goal is to protect Canadian homes and business owners from the dangers of today's society, one security system at a time. They also provide a variety of other security solutions ranging from locksmith services, security gates, re-keying services and much more. Three Best Rated® has recognized them for their excellence and has named them one of the top three best security system companies in Toronto, Ontario, for 2019.

1540 Lodestar Road, Units 10 & 11
Toronto, ON M3J 3C1
Phone: 416-444-4663

About All Star Roofing
Nigel Poag opened All Star Roofing in 2012. His grandfather owned Poag and Son's Construction and Nigel grew up watching and learning from him. By the time he finished his education, he had already developed a great work ethic and customer service skills and naturally leaned towards roofing sales and production as his long-term career. Today, Nigel is actively involved at every job site. All Star Roofing will never use subcontractors. They strive to deliver the best-quality materials and services. At All Star Roofing, a customer can expect polite, proficient and trustworthy roofers. The company has been recognized for its excellence and was named one of the top three roofing contractors in Windsor, Ontario, for 2019 by Three Best Rated®.

3738 Howard Avenue
Windsor, ON N9E 3N7
Phone: 519-991-3083

Written by Eileen Shone, Three Best Rated®
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