How to Avoid Hiring an Unlicensed and Poorly Rated Garage Door Contractor

avoid hiring unlicensed contractor

When it comes to professional maintenance for residential garage doors in Portland, OR, it’s crucial to find a skilled, reputable contractor who’s followed state licensing laws and who’s backed with proper insurance. Whether you need to have your garage door repaired or replaced, service can be satisfying or needlessly costly, and it all depends on how you go about selecting a contractor.


How to Avoid Using an Unlicensed and Scammy Garage Door Company

One of the easiest ways to avoid using an unlicensed contractor is to ask the contractor up front to furnish his or her license. Also, call the contractor’s parent company to discuss the specific terms of the insurance. Will their policies cover unintended damages to your property that might result from faulty work on your garage door? If the worker gets injured, will the insurance cover any hospitalization bills and missed work time? As with any community in the Pacific Northwest, residential garage doors in places like Vancouver, WA should only be repaired by companies/contractors that have such coverage.


Costs and Problems of Using an Unlicensed, Poorly Rated Garage Door Company

Whenever unlicensed contractors are hired for maintenance on residential garage doors in Lake Oswego, West Linn, Forest Grove, Portland and other surrounding communities in Oregan homeowners run the risk of getting subpar service at inflated rates. For example, a shady contractor might quote one price but gradually tack on additional costs after claiming to encounter “unforeseen problems” with the project at hand. On the other hand, a reputable company that has been in business for years can be trusted on the rates and terms they quote.

Poor Workmanship and Safety Concerns

As a rule of thumb, contractors with skill and talent respect the rules of their trade and act in compliance with local and state laws. Therefore, repairs or replacements of residential garage doors in West Linn and Portland, OR should only be handled by contractors who comply with local licensing laws. A contractor without a license is less likely to have the proper credentials or experience for the job. Consequently, with an unlicensed contractor, you run the risk of sinking money into poor service that could easily lead to further costly problems in the not-too-distant future.

No Accountability

no guarantee on unlicensed work

Unlicensed/uninsured contractors generally don’t offer guarantees on their work, because there’s nothing to legally tie them to issues surrounding your garage door if maintenance goes awry. Since these types of contractors don’t work for companies, they can easily skip town after taking a down payment on a job. Just as easily, a free-wheeling, uninsured contractor could jack the price on maintenance with dubious claims that further needs have arisen with the project. Basically, if a residential garage door dealer in Portland, OR is neither licensed with the state nor employed with a company, it’s time to look elsewhere.

Homeowner Liability

When an accident occurs where the contractor ends up damaging your property, the costs could multiply in ways you’d never even imagine. Often times, homeowners assume their liability insurance will cover the expenses. Trouble is, most liability policies don’t cover damages caused by in-house employees. Therefore, if you see an ad by a residential garage door dealer in Vancouver, WA who isn’t properly insured, keep looking elsewhere.


Warning Signs to Look out For

Whenever you speak to a residential garage door dealer in West Linn, OR, or anywhere in the Portland area never fall for any pitch that asks for large sums of upfront cash. If a contractor asks you for full payment up front, walk away. If they’re unlicensed, they could easily take the money and run. Likewise, if a contractor offers a one-time deal that’s only valid for the next 24 hours, don’t take the bait. It’s worth it to shop around for quality garage door maintenance.

Lastly, if a contractor makes an outrageous claim about the urgency of a given problem with your garage door, they’re most likely exaggerating in an effort to get you to cough up big bucks then and there. Run, don’t walk, to a different company/contractor.


What to Do If You Recently Used an Unlicensed/Uninsured Contractor

If you’ve recently paid good money for unsatisfactory garage door maintenance work, calculate the repair costs in addition to the money lost during the faulty repairs. With your smartphone, collect photo and video documentation of the problems with your garage door. Take this information to your insurance office and file a property damage claim. Also, describe your experience with the contractor in question on Angie’s List.

Of course, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and this should be taken into account before you hire a residential garage door dealer in Lake Oswego, OR. In order to have before-and-after comparative evidence of your garage door in case a contractor messes up, document the door in advance of any repair work.


How to Choose a Proven, Trusted Company

The most proven and trustworthy contractors tend to be those who are employed by a company. In any case, the following factors should be taken into account before you place your trust in a garage door installation service in the Pacific Northwest.

What Traits and Characteristics to Look For

For quality garage door maintenance that will last, it’s best to choose a legitimately licensed company/contractor with an impressive background of experience in the industry, as well as a proven track record of customer satisfaction. Information on the company/contractor should be easily obtainable, and the people responsible for the work on your garage should be reachable at all times. To elaborate, the following factors should be taken into account before you hire a garage door repair contractor in the Pacific Northwest.

  1. Track Record

The reliability of a garage door maintenance company in the Pacific Northwest can largely be measured by the amount of information that is readily available on said company. Is the company/contractor well known in the area, or did they suddenly appear out of nowhere, advertising new residential garage doors in Portland, OR at super-cheap prices? When you enter their name in Google, do encouraging links pop up, or is the information scant or unflattering?

  1. Years in the Industry

5 years garage door experience

As you shop around for garage door maintenance in Portland, OR, it’s best to go with a contractor who has at least five years of experience under his or her belt. With half a decade or more in the business, the contractor will have had substantial experience at handling garage door repairs and replacements on a variety of door types and sizes. Moreover, five years should arm the contractor with a sizable portfolio and list of happy previous customers. As things stand, state licensure for contractors requires a minimum of four years in the business.

  1. Portfolio of Work

Any reputable garage door maintenance contractor in West Linn, or anywhere in OR should have a portfolio of his or her prior work. The contractor should be willing and able to provide this information on request, along with photos of the work and testimonies from the happy homeowners served. If the contractor doesn’t have this information on hand in either paper or digital form — such as in a photo album or on a pad or website — request this information from the contractor’s company of employment. If no portfolio can be shown, that’s a red flag.

  1. Information About Their Company Origin and History

Any garage door maintenance company in Lake Oswego, OR that’s worth its salt will gladly supply information to all potential customers about its origin and history as a business. The information on hand should include the number of years the company has been in business and the number — or credible estimate — of homeowners served over the years.

Additionally, the company should have testimonies on hand from satisfied customers. By the same token, the company should have satisfying explanations for any past lawsuits or controversies that might be on record. This information should be available at the company’s office or on their website.

  1. Real, Honest Reviews

Before you decide on a contractor for garage door maintenance be sure to look up reviews on that contractor. The testimonies from prior customers that he or she provides can help give you some idea about whether you’re dealing with a skilled and reputable contractor, but you should also do your own research on the subject. Look up the contractor’s name on Angie’s List to see if that person has been the subject of reviews from prior customers. Are the reviews positive or negative? If the reviews trend negative, you should probably go with a different contractor.

  1. Proof of License and Insurance

The most important thing to verify about any contractor is his or her license. While you can ask to see a physical copy of the license, that won’t completely guarantee the license is currently valid or that it’s even the right kind of license. After all, a contractor could have a business license, but that won’t provide the kind of protection you’d need as a homeowner if you hire this person and issues arise.

What you need to determine is whether or not this person has a state contractor’s license. To verify such information, look up the contractor’s name on the government website of your city or state to see whether he or she does have the right license.

  1. Contact Information and a Professional Website

professional contractor professional website

Any legitimate garage door repair contractor should have a professional website complete with a personal profile and up-to-date contact information. The information on the profile should list this contractor’s licensing status and number of years in the business. The site should also list testimonials from satisfied customers and photos of past garage door maintenance on a variety of different houses.

The website could either be self-run or part of a company website. In any case, the site should be a dot com, not an account with a blogging service such as WordPress. Furthermore, the email address should also be professional and not some free Gmail account. After all, a contractor with a cheap or unprofessional web presence is likelier to cut corners in general.

  1. Easily Accessible 

Anyone you’d consider hiring as a garage door maintenance contractor in the Pacific Northwest should be easy to get hold of by phone or by email. You wouldn’t want to deal with someone who’s flaky, elusive or hard to reach while the repair work is pending or in progress. If a question emerges in the midst of your dealings with the contractor, you should be able to receive a response to your inquiry within an hour, if not sooner.

Even if you contact the contractor while he or she is helping another customer, you should still be able to get an acknowledgment of the request via text, along with a promise to answer at the soonest possible time. Just remember, a contractor who’s difficult or impossible to reach could easily disappear at any time.

  1. Clear on Services Provided

A contractor should be perfectly clear on the service being offered. The terms of the service should be written and signed on legally binding documents to ensure both parties — you and the contractor — have a complete, mutual understanding of the transaction taking place.

  1. Active Social Media Sites

In this day and age, any legitimate garage repair company or legitimately licensed contractor should have an active social media presence on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Based on the social engagement of the company or contractor, you should be able to get more of a feeling for the quality of service in store. Are the social media accounts constantly updated, or was the last posting from more than two months ago? Are the comments left by others mostly positive or negative?


Benefits of Hiring a Licensed and Insured Contractor

When you have garage door maintenance and repairs performed by a licensed and insured contractor from a reputable company, you’re likeliest to receive high-quality service and an overall positive experience with the whole transaction.

Quality of Service

investment good contractor worth it

You pretty much get what you pay for when it comes to garage door repair services in the Pacific Northwest. Even though you can sometimes find cheap service rates from unlicensed contractors, the service this buys will often involve corner cutting. When it comes to something as large, heavy and integral to the safety and insulation of your home as the garage door, however, you can’t afford to risk cheap service. Simply put, licensed companies/contractors charge slightly higher rates because the quality of service is worth the investment.

Contractor Insurance Should Something Go Wrong

Any company/contractor that repairs residential garage doors in Lake Oswego, OR should have the two forms of insurance that are standard for all contractors that operate in the U.S.: liability and compensation insurance. A worker’s liability policy will cover damages caused by in-house employees, while worker’s comp will cover expenses that result if the worker gets injured.

Quick Response and Ability to Fix Any Problems

A reputable garage door repair company in Portland, OR should be willing to take each project to its conclusion, even if it means going the extra mile. At the end of each day, good contractors are committed not just to deadlines, but to a job well done.

When it comes to home improvements, garage door maintenance is one of the most serious of all investments. For nearly three decades, TF Draper Company has been the leading provider of garage door installation services in the Portland, Vancouver, Lake Oswego and West Linn areas. To learn more about the maintenance and installation work we offer, click on over to our service pages.