If you’re looking at a number of outdoor lighting companies, how do you decide the right one for you?
Outdoor lighting contractor selection checklist
We know that choosing a contractor for any household improvement can be quite difficult. It would be easier if all contractors did the same thing, the same way and possibly even with the same price allowing you to make a decision based on who you feel comfortable with. With outdoor lighting, just like other home improvement specialists, you need to dig a little deeper. Here are some things to look for.
1) ARE THEY LICENSED AND INSURED?
Whether a contractor is working on a ladder or on the ground around your property, you want to make sure they are both licensed and insured. If they are working on a ladder, you don’t want any responsibility for the safety of anyone working on your property. If they are working on the ground, there are a number of things that could go wrong including cutting important wires for electricity or irrigation. This risk doesn’t have to be placed on your shoulders.
2) HOW LONG HAVE THEY BEEN A CONTRACTOR FOR THE PARTICULAR SERVICE YOU’RE SEEKING?
Before you begin seeking a contractor, determine how many years’ experience you expect as a reasonable length of experience. How do you select that number? Here is a good general guide. Setting your requirement at double digit numbers is a good idea. If you are looking for a contractor with at least 10 years’ experience, you know their business has weathered a number of storms and can be confidently expected to weather more. For example, the last recession put a lot of companies out of business – especially small companies. If the company you are evaluating has been in business 10 years, 12 years or more; you can trust their longevity which is important. At Outdoor Lighting Perspectives, we have been serving the Northern Ohio market since 2000 installing and servicing outdoor lighting systems throughout the Cleveland area.
3) WILL YOU BE ABLE TO FIND THEM IF SOMETHING GOES WRONG?
Let’s say you’ve had your new outdoor lighting system for 6 months and you absolutely love it. Then, you are hit by a big storm and nothing in your system works. If you place a call to your contractor, are you certain they will still be in business? Are you certain that they stand behind their work? Are you certain that they are committed to working with you through the life of your system even if the issue came from a weather or other event you had no control over? As noted in point #2 above, if they’ve been around 10 or 12 years or more; you can feel confident that they will be around, available and willing to support you when you need service. Unfortunately, contractors that are not with an established or well-known company can seem to disappear off the face of the earth when something goes wrong.
4) HOW ARE THEIR ONLINE REVIEWS?
This is a super important one. Homeowners are glad to provide reviews and testimonials for companies that do a good job. Does that contractor have reviews on several different websites? Are the reviews consistent? Read through a bunch of reviews. Look for themes in the reviews such as professionalism, caring, service or other important qualities you are looking for in an outdoor lighting company. Check them out on the Better Business Bureau. Take a look at their rating and make sure they are at the top of the heap. If you are a member, check Angie’s List. Check other review sites. Outdoor Lighting Perspectives maintains a 5 star rating with over a 130 reviews on this review site.
5) ASK FOR REFERENCES
Any reputable and successful company has a number of customers who would gladly take time to share their experience and be a testament to that company who did such a good job servicing them. Ask for references and take the time to call them. Have just a couple questions ready to get a good sense of what that referenced liked best about that contractor
LAST BUT NOT LEAST… DO YOU LIKE THEM?
Don’t discount your gut. If someone is coming to do work at your home (whether inside or outside), you want to like them. You want to feel good about having them on your property. You want to feel compelled to take their guys cool lemonade if they’re struggling with the heat when installing or servicing on a hot day. You owe it to yourself to like the contractor you would be working with.