One of the things I have been startled about lately is how the hardwood floor refinishing market in Sacramento has been subject to really large variances in price. At our company we try to deliver a service with considerable value that includes very personable customer service in addition to a quality product. We make a very disciplined effort to hide no element of what is included, which are the questions that consumers should ask in order to make an apples to apples comparison:
1) How many finish coats will be applied? This determines longevity to a great degree assuming that the coverage rate is equal between the coats.
2)What type of finish will be used? Home Depot polyurethane versus GlitsaMax 2 component waterborne urethane isn’t really a contest, the latter will start to outperform after 2-3 years easily. Just look at my floors, which are the test subject of 2year old and 4year old boys dragging toys and dropping everything. They look brand new one and a half years later.
3)How is the floor being filled? Is the floor being trowel filled across the whole area to alleviate gaps or simply spot filled in the large areas? This has a considerable impact on labor in the process.
4)How clean is the contractor? I think most people who want a refinish might care about a clean house. Does the contractor vacuum the house and vents after sanding and before coating the floor? Do they use dust collection? These are questions to ask when you want to know how MUCH service you are paying for.
5) Is the contractor licensed and CURRENTLY bonded? Do they pay their taxes? These may seem like simple questions but I assure you they are essential because if the contractor does not have a current bond, then any damage they are liable for upon entering your home comes from your pocket in most cases if there is no bond. Paying taxes is essential for supporting our parks, schools, etc… so it goes without saying that it is important for a community.
6) Do they contribute to any organizations or have ANY credentials beyond a license?
Our memberships and certifications alone cost us close to $2000 per year alone not counting any time for involvement with committees or helping educate other members. This may seem like a minor element, but I say that it is the fundamental building block for a quality contractor for two reasons. The esteem of being known for quality work goes with being in an organization and secondly the access to the latest information ensures better quality in your business.
I hope that these questions stay current amongst the consumers of Sacramento so that during the trying times we can all maintain or hopefully elevate the state of this industry rather than take the path of least resistance by lowering quality and price simultaneously.