Top 10 Questions
What to Ask Your Concrete Service Professional
There are several factors to consider when choosing a concrete repair company. Similar to other service-oriented businesses, not all concrete repair companies are created equal. It is likely you have or will eventually encounter one or more unprofessional contractors in other industries. However, by asking the right questions of the companies you are interviewing to repair your concrete, you can avoid these common consumer pitfalls. Here are the Top 10 Questions to ask your concrete repair professional, including our responses as a company:
1. Is your company properly licensed and insured in the jurisdiction where the work will be performed?
If the company you are considering isn’t licensed, move on immediately. Being licensed in our industry means you understand fundamental construction standards and techniques. Without a license, your contractor is working undercover with ZERO accountability.
Liftech is fully licensed (Residential Contractor, Class C) in Denver County and insured with a $2 million umbrella policy and workman’s comp. We have all the necessary certifications in place to perform our work professionally and responsibly.
2. Do you subcontract any of your services and how are your employees trained?
In order to be properly qualified to install liquid polyurethane systems and perform foundation repairs it takes several years of training and certification. This is a very technical process and should not be performed without proper training and experience. There is no such thing as a simple repair. General labors and subcontractors need not apply to perform highly technical repairs like ours.
Liftech consists only of W-2 employees, many of whom are salaried and all are offered medical and retirement benefits. To maintain the best product and service for our customers, it is important to retain our employees for the long-term! All employees also receive full background checks prior to employment.
Liftech sales staff are fully trained on the methodologies of concrete installation and repair, proper and accurate bidding, and all have a background in construction and/or earth-based sciences. They are the “doctors” in the field prescribing accurate and correct concrete repairs for our customers.
All Liftech field technicians receive full hands-on training with our owners and master technicians for a minimum of 6 months and are under apprenticeship for at least 1 year before they are allowed to perform repairs without direct supervision. All field crews are overseen by a Lead Technician at every job site with a minimum of 2 years of service.
3. Are you using a geotechnical system for my concrete lifting project?
Unfortunately, some companies performing our type of work are not using the proper systems. There are nearly a 1000 different types of expanding foams and every one serves a different function. Other concrete lifting companies across the Front Range are using closed-cell polyurethanes that will raise your concrete, but are not designed for geotechnical applications and are therefore susceptible to failure. NOT ALL FOAMS ARE CREATED EQUAL!
Liftech uses a system utilizing North Carolina Foam, Inc, the first and only company to develop a chemically stable polymer specifically formulated for geotechnical applications and used for over 20 years now. Liftech is one of only a few companies in the state of Colorado who is certified and authorized to use these systems.
Make sure to ask who manufactures the foam and if it is not an NCFI product you may want to reconsider. For more information on NCFI go to http://www.ncfi.com/geotechnical.
4. How many concrete repairs did you perform in the last year? Over the life of your company?
Sometimes it’s about the numbers. If a company and their employees aren’t getting up to bat enough, the odds of your repair going awry increase significantly. Additionally, these “Mom and Pop” operations easily fly under the radar screen with little to no information about their company online or elsewhere – you often don’t know “who” you are doing business with.
Liftech has several full-time crews performing multiple repairs on a daily basis across the Denver Metro area, Boulder, Colorado Springs and beyond. We have successfully repaired over 6,000 homes, businesses and roads and in 2016 we performed over 1200 repairs. We have an open door policy with our customers and welcome all feedback from them! ☺
5. What equipment will you be utilizing for my repairs and how long will my repair take?
Polyurethane and foundation repair equipment is highly specialized, expensive and tedious to maintain. Equipment breakdowns in the field are a reality for inexperienced technicians and business owners, much to the detriment of the customer of course. Hours or days of delays ultimately cause unnecessary heartache and stress for these impacted customers. However, barring any setbacks, most concrete lifting jobs will take less than a day utilizing a polyurethane process. Most foundation repairs generally take a week or less to complete.
Liftech technicians are fully trained on all aspects of our equipment, from start to finish. We maintain stringent daily equipment logs and procedures not only to keep our equipment running, but running correctly for the repair to be 100% successful. We have backup equipment as fail-safes when something breaks and all of our equipment is industry-best. We will have your repair completed within the agreed upon timeframe.
6. Is the product safe for the environment?
Liftech uses NCFI’s 24-010 and 24-486, the two systems most commonly used in concrete raising, have been extensively tested by independent laboratories to meet EPA Standard Environmental tests. The results show that all NCFI polymer-resin materials are environmentally benign and have no detrimental effect to ground soils as a result of either decomposition or and degradation of the polymer. NCFI’s polymer contributes to the LEED point system as material components used in NCFI’s 010/486 polymer use rapidly renewable materials. In addition, its use does not lead to the pollution of surrounding groundwater supplies and several of the systems carry NSF 61 certification.
7. What is your warranty and how many warranty claims do you typically receive in a year?
Obviously if a company isn’t offering a warranty, move on. But remember, a warranty is only as good as the company backing that warranty. While industry warranty’s range from 1-5 years generally speaking, always check the fine print! And keep in mind, if the company you are considering isn’t going to be around in 2-5 years, your warranty is useless.
Liftech’s industry leading warranty is spelled out in the estimate your sales person provides you. We will gladly answer any questions you have about our warranty. Warranty work represents less than 10% of the repairs we perform annually; extremely low for any service-based business.
8. How do you accept payment?
Any major business should accept cash, check or credit cards. But how much do they want as a deposit to schedule your repair? Did you know that many businesses float equipment leases, rent payments and overall business expenses by accepting upfront deposits on work that hasn’t even been performed? Some of these deposits are as high as 50% or greater in the service industries. One bad month or two, the company you worked with goes under, and you are out of luck on your repair and your deposit. Not to mention they have you “hostage” until the repair is completed on their own schedule, not yours … which can drag on, and on, and on…
Liftech accepts all forms of payments and you don’t pay us until we have completed your repair and are satisfied with the work. Simple as that. We also offer financing options on larger projects for those who qualify – just ask your salesperson! Foundation repair projects do require an upfront deposit prior to the commencement of work.
9. How do you handle customer complaints and unsuccessful repairs?
Even for the best concrete repair companies out there, not all jobs go as planned. Reversing concrete failures in a matter of hours that occurred over many years, if not decades, can be a tricky process when the concrete doesn’t behave nicely. Cracking a slab or one that simply won’t lift can be unfortunate realities when it comes to attempting repairs on settled concrete. But when your contractor hits a snag, will they just pack up and leave? How will they resolve any problems with you, the customer?
In most cases, if Liftech can’t complete the repair as planned, we won’t charge the customer. In many cases, we figure out a solution that still allows us to complete the work to the satisfaction of the customer. In the rare case that a customer isn’t satisfied with the end result, we will work with the customer on a resolution that is agreeable to all parties. We take great pride in having 100% satisfied customers who will provide life-long referrals for our business, so any complaints are handled quickly and effectively by our employees and owners.
10. Can you provide references? (this is a trick question…)
The savvy consumer will ask to check references, but we are going to advise against this – YES, IT’S TRUE! Do you think the company you are considering is going to provide a bad reference? Quite the opposite; they will provide customers who only have one view of their services – EVERYTHING IS SUPER! (Who knows, maybe Uncle Bob is in the mix and you don’t even know it). There are several free online contractor advocacy websites that provide free, unbiased reviews from customers who have used these companies for the same services you are considering. These websites include Yelp!, Angie’s List, HomeAdvisor, Google, the BBB and more. All offer, unfiltered and unsolicited reviews (good or bad) from the consumers themselves with the business proprietor having no control over what is posted about them. In some cases the repair process is not an inexpensive proposition and you want to make sure that you choose a properly licensed and certified contractor and the best service company based on the information that’s available to you.
Liftech maintains A+ and “5 Star” ratings across the board. We are proud to have the highest ratings of any concrete lifting and foundation repair company in Colorado.