The National Institute of Restoration
So you guarantee your work?
Warranties and guarantees are golden words to consumers. But when you are making written pledges about the quality of your work, the value of your service, or the performance of your product, you should include these points recommended by the Federal Trade Commission:
Disclosure: A warranty can be full, limited or partial, and you must let the consumer know which it is in a statement that is separate from the rest of the warranty.
Coverage: Explain what the warranty covers; otherwise, you'll be held responsible for any type of malfunction whether or not it is something you can control. Clearly state time limitation and restrictions.
Remedy: Let the customer know specifically what you will do if the product or service fails to conform to the standards of the warranty.
Service: Be sure you include the address and telephone number for the customer to contact in case problems arise.
State law: Localities vary, but be sure you include this FTC generic language: "This warranty gives you specific legal rights, and you also may have other rights which vary from state to state."
► considering geographic locations in deciding whether to renew or cancel policies
► refusal to renew homes in neighborhoods where there had been a theft claim in the preceding year
Protection from pollution liability is vital for restoration contractors
General contractors have not taken seriously their pollution exposures according to Mark Elgin, a construction underwriter for ECS Underwriting, Inc. General contractors normally do not purchase pollution coverage for their day-to-day activities. Since commercial liability coverage specifically excludes pollution exposures, failure to acquire the additional coverage can have devastating consequences.
Elgin cited these instances where contractors suffered the consequences of being without pollution coverage even though their exposure was incidental:
► An excavator unknowingly removed soil contaminated with dioxin and stockpiled it on adjacent property. The EPA forced him to acquire the property and construct a containment system costing a total of $250,000.
► A mechanical contractor who incorrectly installed a HVAC system in a new office building that produced toxic mold and mildew faced claims in excess of $100,000.
► A contractor etching the exterior of a commercial building using muriatic acid allowed fumes to enter the structure. Chrome fixtures were ruined resulting in $75,000 damage.
► A major thunderstorm caused the tack coat of an asphalt parking lot to wash off into a nearby stream. Cleanup costs, which the contractor had to pay, exceeded $200,000.
► A flooring contractor reconditioning a tile floor had to pay $25,000 in defense costs and bodily injury claims because of toxic vapor inhalation by a third party who breathed in fumes from sealants.
► A bridge construction contractor was liable for a $300,000 property damage claim for lead paint chips and dust generated by a subcontractor performing abrasive sandblasting of a bridge in a residential area.
Show off your work in pictures
Good photography has a dramatic impact on potential clients in illustrating your services. Before and after photos are particularly effective, so you should always have a camera close by to record your work. Good photos don't just happen. They require some skills. Remember these tips from professionals as you look for the best way to showcase the services of your business:
► Decide what you want to show and focus on that. Avoid the tendency to show a little of everything, and leave out what is actually visual clutter.
►Be creative with angles. Looking down from overhead or up from below offers an unexpected but eye-catching vantage point.
►Don't be neutral. Have your pictures express a point of view so that they will be visually interesting.