November 22nd 2010
Last week, I installed a new garage door for the daughter of a long-time friend. I knew she was a smart girl, but she blew me away with the savvy way she went about finding the most reliable company. I may be one of her father’s best friends, but she wasn’t going to hire my company if she could find another company who could cut her a better deal.
She picked five other garage door companies from their ads in the yellow pages and on the internet. She requested estimates from each, then asked each to bring copies of their insurance documents when they returned to discuss the estimates.
Here are her results:
- Company 1 brought in the lowest estimate and an auto insurance form.
- Company 2 gave a higher estimate and a liability insurance form.
- Company 3 had a moderate estimate — no insurance forms. Company 3 said it would show her the forms after she signed the contract.
- Company 4’s estimate was the highest. The salesman stated the company had auto insurance and liability insurance, yet brought no forms.
- Company 5 presented a moderate estimate. The salesman maintained his company held auto insurance, liability insurance, and worker’s compensation insurance. He said he had left the forms behind, but would email copies as soon as he returned to the office.
Which of these companies followed through when she asked them to produce copies of insurance forms? None! She told me, “I didn’t care if they left a message on my cell phone, emailed, mailed a copy, pushed them under the front door, or sent a carrier pigeon, but they didn’t send documents at all. ”
My guess is they didn’t have them. The State of New Jersey requires garage door companies to be ‘fully insured’, which means:
- Auto insurance on each truck.
- Liability insurance that covers any damage to the home.
- Up-to-date worker’s compensation insurance.
The problem is that the state doesn’t regulate the garage door industry closely. Just about every company has auto insurance, and most carry liability insurance. But worker’s compensation insurance is very expensive, especially for a garage door company, so many companies take a chance and never purchase it at all.
If one of its workers is hurt on the job, the company simply folds and starts doing business again under another name.
How does this affect the home owner?
The worker who is out of work and recovering from his injury has to find a way to pay his medical expenses, so he’s going to sue the home owner. After all, the accident happened on the home owner’s property.
This very intelligent young woman handled the situation perfectly. She asked up front to see the insurance documents.
I’m proud that all Precision Door workers carry proof of all three insurances and showed them to her before she even asked.