Here in the Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington area, we live in a very wet place. Our homes are pummeled with rain throughout the year and, unfortunately, some of that water sticks around. Water accumulation in the crawl space underneath our homes is a major concern that can wreak extensive damage to the structural components of your house. As a drainage contractor in the Portland Metro area, I see homes all the time that have serious issues with standing water and design drainage systems to rectify these issues. In talking with my customers, I have found that people that have substantial drainage issues under their home tend to not do much research in picking their drainage contractor. In fact, we have come behind several drainage contractors that have done such poor work in installing their drainage system, that we have had to go in and completely start over to fix it. So, what should you do if you are searching for a drainage contractor?
#1- Get more than one proposal
Drainage systems are not a “one-size-fits-all” solution. Each contractor may have a different suggestion on how to address the problem. I would suggest calling in a few different contractors to get their opinions and estimates. You may find that they have wildly different approaches and you may also find that their prices are wildly different.
#2- Check online reviews
In my opinion, the best way a customer can find out about a company is through online reviews. Even if a company does not have a perfect record with reviews, it is interesting to see if they engage their customers when negative reviews happen. Nobody is perfect, but it tells a lot about a company that cares enough to respond to those negative comments left by customers. In addition to checking reviews, it also a good idea to check in with the Better Business Bureau and Angies List to see how your prospective drainage company ranks.
#3- Don’t pay for a proposal
If you have a drainage company that wants to charge you for them to come out and give an estimate, you may want to walk the other way. Many contractors in the Portland area employ this tactic when they are booked out for substantial amount of time. Basically, they know that they are unlikely to get the job with them being booked out for a month or more, so they try and make their money on the inspection.
#4- Get a detailed proposal
In my experience of bidding against other contractors in the area, I have found that many of the proposals submitted are very basic, lacking any kind of detail at all. When you have a proposal for a sump pump, french drain, moisture barrier, etc. you should have it clearly stated what kind of materials are being used. If it does not state what kind of pump, what kind of basin,what thickness plastic, etc. that you are getting, it is really easy for a contractor to cut corners and buy cheaper supplies. I cannot tell you how many times we have gone behind another drainage company and found a cheap pump sitting in a 5 gallon bucket.
#5- Make sure your contractor is licensed, bonded and insured
This might seem obvious to do, but I would suspect that less than 10% of customers actually verify these things. I know of a larger drainage company in Portland that is not even licensed with the CCB. I know of others that do not even have close to the insurance requirements. Most of the time these things will not matter if the job is completed without problems, but when there are problems, they become huge issues when proper licensing and insurance is not in place.
Taking all of these things into account, I would like to invite you to give my company, “New Leaf Crawl Space Solutions” a call. We offer competitive, detailed bids for free and would love to win your business.