I’ll never forget what my wife, Debbie, said over 18 years ago, as Bird Family Insulation was growing. She made this very frank statement:
I don’t want to see the wife of one of our employees, and think, “I am profiting at the expense of her husband’s health”.
So, at Bird Family Insulation, we’ve always worked to treat our employees with honor and respect and value their health.
During the first three years of doing business, our two oldest children (Abbey & Beau), together with myself, made-up our installation crew.
They would install cellulose attic insulation, and on the way home, I’d stop and quote jobs. If we had no appointments for quotes, the three of us would “fan-out” and knock doors.It made for a long day!
Very quickly, I was faced with a foundational parenting decision. “My children are watching me interact with our clients. How I treat these clients, if I ‘cut corners’, if I ‘say anything to get the sale’, they’ll learn the wrong values…
It was just so obvious to me in that moment – our family values will transcend our business.
Though many years and 1000’s of clients have passed, those two foundational principles are still at the core of Bird Family Insulation.
Being in half-a-dozen homes a day, climbing in attics and crawlspaces (typically where homeowners seldom visit) – we see so much shoddy work from dishonest contractors, and it’s heartbreaking when we share the news with a homeowner.
Here are my tips for protecting yourself from a negative experience with a contractor:
1.Confirm that they are licensed and insured. Ask for a copy of their ACORD sheet.
2. Ask to see recent certifications or associations that reflect relevant training with professional relationships for the crew.
3. How modern & maintained is their equipment? Ask for pictures, check Facebook.
4. Insist on getting a written plan that addresses your concerns, and outlines step-by-step protocol that your crew will follow. From prep-to-clean up.
5. Because you are buying spray foam insulation, ask for the chemical brand, and do your research. Is it a Chinese import? Call the area rep. Ask questions.
6. Check the drum labels on the morning of your installation. Does the information match your expectations?
7. Will the crew be English speaking? If not, what measures are in place so that you can interact with the crew as the work is performed? Who is accountable for the crew’s performance? Note this: If the crew is a sub-contractor, he DOES NOT work for you. He works for whomever is paying him. Is that person your salesperson, or the company owner? You need to know, so you aren’t left with excuses.
- – If you find the job is left incomplete, will the spray crew add more foam insulation, or return promptly, and at no charge?
- – Some spray crews actually measure the precise # of gallons of chemical they are spraying. If – for any reason – your job takes more chemical, they charge you by the gallon for the additional material. For less stress, get this “issue” settled in advance!
8. Reviews are important. Look for recent reviews that are relevant to your project. Look for posts that mention accidents, property damage, or negative issues that were resolved.
9. How long have they been in business? (Same phone number & address).
10. If you are buying spray foam insulation, there is a strict protocol that must be followed (for each), when the following are present. (Not exhaustive list). Wait to see if the salesperson identifies the issues. If they aren’t mentioned… Keep searching for your contractor, you don’t want the headaches later.
- – Are gas appliances located in the spray area?
- – Do you have a powered roof vent?
- – Does your garage, carport, or porch share the roofline with your house?
- – Is there a furnace, fireplace, or water heater flue passing through your attic?
11. When you go to sell your home, because you installed spray foam insulation, your buyer’s home inspector may ask for documentation. Discuss in advance with your contractor.
- – Chemical brand.
- – Does it have an Ignition Barrier?
- – Does it have a Thermal Barrier?
These tips aren’t exhaustive. You may have a few tips of your own, specific to your project. Seldom does the student rise above the teacher. In other words, if your salesperson and the office staff are careless or indifferent, don’t expect the crew to behave much differently.
All companies have an internal company culture, and core values. This culture will be healthy or unhealthy, and their values will either be pro-client or not. Choose carefully.
If you’d like to receive a complimentary quotation from one of our Comfort Pro experts here at Bird Family Insulation, call us at 404-538-9168.
Stay tuned for my follow-up blog, Because we live in the Southeast U.S., there are TWO CONCERNS you must be aware of, BEFORE hiring your Spray Foam Contractor!