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Flooring Contractor Or Flawed Conman

Aug 18, 2007
When did you last take up references from a flooring contractor, before awarding him a contract? In this era of multi-media, digital cameras and digital editing, disguising the truth has never been easier. The majority of contractors are normal, honest companies, but flooring has its villains too.

We know of many cases where smaller companies have readily gone into liquidation at the drop of a hat, rather than correct a severe problem under a warranty.

A high percentage of problems are connected to poor surface preparation. Invariably these will only show up after a number of months, by which time the contractor is paid off.

The response you receive when trying to get a contractor back to correct a failing floor is the first indication of the quality, or otherwise, of their company

It is acknowledged that smaller contractors, with their low overheads, will generally be cheaper than the medium sized, and bigger contractors. Because of the personal involvement of the proprietors, usually towel hands themselves, most will provide a good personal service.

Whilst all goes well, a client will undoubtedly save money by using the smallest players in the industry, but when the problems arise, the mobile suddenly goes unanswered.

Current software enables a decent looking web-site to be constructed within 24 hours. This could include pictures of the most wonderful floors which the rogue contractor ripped off another website, or digitally enhanced photographs of any floor they happened upon.

I would suggest that you keep in mind that a website is a digital combination of 1's and 0's, and could be put together by an eight year old.

In your search for a contractor, always ask for a couple of references and phone numbers, and FOLLOW THEM UP! Questions liks 'Can you show me a job of similar size which you have done?', 'Can you give me the name and number of a material manufacturer who can vouch for you?','Are you a member of a Trade Federation? If not, why not?'

Don't be fooled by appearances, treat the cheapest price with suspicion, and do your digging before you place orders.

Cheapest is not always best! A major, nationalised company decided to upgrade the floor to a prestigious London property. Its representatives called in three contractors.

Two were big reputable contractors, the third a small/medium company who had never completed a job 1/10th as big as this 9000 square metre in situ terrazzo project.

Consultants assessed the contract period as six months, after discussions with several specialist contractors. Because they were considerably cheaper, the smaller contractor won the contract.

It was common knowledge in the flooring circles that successful bidder was incapable of carrying out this contract. After two years, the contractor went into liquidation, taking two other companies with them.

There was not one square metre of floor which the client deemed acceptable. A specialist consultant drew up a repair spec, and this was put out to six companies. Two were flooring contractors, and four were cleaning companies!!

The credentials of the companies invited to tender were never properly established. Despite the enormity of the problem, the formula for the remedy was also based on the same criteria - take the cheapest price.
About the Author
Shaun Parker has been at the forefront of the Industrial Flooring industry for the last twenty years. For more information visit http://www.premfloor.co.uk
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