A man knocked on my door and asked if he could give an estimate to clean my carpet. He looked the job over and quoted an attractive price. I replied, “Okay, that sounds good. Do you have insurance?" In his feeble attempt to cover my objection he stated, “I had insurance, but it got too expensive. I dropped it to keep my prices down. " I politely smiled and said I'd call him if I needed him.
No insurance? If the price is several hundred dollars cheaper it may sound like an attractive offer. But with carpet cleaning companies, the difference between a professional and unprofessional company usually isn't that much money. Think about this: If he can't afford insurance, can he afford to replace your carpet or tile if they are ruined by his cheap chemicals?
Or worse, will his family sue you if he gets severely hurt or killed while on your property? If he doesn't have business insurance, he surely has no workman's compensation on himself. You can be sued if he gets hurt. If he doesn't have insurance, you are providing the insurance for him with the discount he is giving you. So, the question you should ask yourself is “Would I insure and vouche for this man?"
Many contractors will lie and claim to have insurance when they don't. It is not unreasonable for a homeowner to ask to see a copy of an insurance deck sheet. Check the dates on the sheet to assure they are current. If it is a large job or a situation where you are at high risk, ask the contractor to have his insurance company send or fax you a current insurance certificate. This will assure you the contractor has not let his insurance lapse. Many unethical contractors put a down payment on liability insurance just to get an insurance deck sheet and fail to continue to pay their payments.
Make sure he is NOT a criminal
Anyone can easily get in the cleaning business. Career criminals often take side jobs as carpenters, drywall hangers, painters, and YES, even carpet cleaners. It's one thing to have a criminal working in your yard. It's a different fear when the criminal is working inside your house. Do a basic Internet search on the person who owns the company. As well, make sure the company has done complete background checks and drug testing on all employees entering your home.
I once had a young fellow come to my office to apply for a cleaning technician position. He had plenty of experience working for another popular cleaning company in Pensacola. I spoke with him and informed him that we always do complete background tests and drug screening before we hire.
He had a felony record
He admitted he had a felony record for burglary, for which he served prison time four years ago. I couldn't believe another cleaning company hired this guy with a felony burglary record. Working in an office, construction, or one of a thousand different jobs would be suitable, but NOT working in homes. People can indeed change. But, giving someone who has a felony record of burglary a job that requires him to work inside a home is NOT a good idea.
Don't take it for granted. Know who you are hiring to be in your home. Make sure they are insured so you won't be paying the bill if anything goes wrong.
John Braun is the owner of Premium Carpet Care in Pensacola Florida. To get your FREE How To Select A Professional Cleaner Guide visit:
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