How to get the most out of your home show visit
Meeting Quality Local Contractors
Home shows are cropping up all over the Hudson Valley this time of year. They are a great opportunity to meet many local contractors in small amount of time. But all the vendors, noise and special offers can be distracting. So how do you get the most out of a home show? Try to think of it like speed dating. You want to meet a large number of possible candidates in a short amount of time. Use these tips to help get you started:
- Do some research ahead of time
- Visit the Contractors you most want to meet
- Evaluate the products they are offering
- Ask questions
- Provide your contact information if you would to like schedule an estimate
First we recommend you do your research ahead of time. Most home shows post a list of all the vendors that will be present. The Hudson Valley Home show at Gold’s Gym this weekend has a website that lists all the vendors presenting as well as the special seminars that they are offering. For example if you were interested in purchasing a gutter guard for your home you would look at all the gutter companies that are going to be there. The next step is to check out the company’s websites to see if they install gutter guards. Also you will want to see if the company has any published reviews. Reviews are very powerful tools for decision making. You should look into the company’s reviews as well as the reviews for the product you are considering. Websites such as Angie’s List, Google, Guild Quality and Houzz can help you determine which contractors are the most qualified. One of the best exhibits you will see there is of course The Brothers that just do Gutters! If you are interested in gutters or gutter guards we would love for you to come visit us at the Gold’s Gym Home show this weekend.
Once you arrive at the home show the real fun begins. Most companies will have a display set up that showcases some of their work and the products they are offering, and there are a lot of choices. Are you interested in Leaf Free, Leaf Relief, Gutter Helmet, or Leaf Solution? They all sounded good when you did your web searches. Their displays can reveal a lot about the company and the product. This is your chance to look at the product close up. Do you like the design, does it look well made, will it keep the leaves out of your gutters, and is it the right fit for you?
When you are at the vendors booth don’t be afraid to ask them questions. It is like a first date and you both want to find out what you are looking for in a relationship. They are there to meet you and give you information on how they can help you, and you are there to find the perfect match for your project. Ask about the features and the benefits of the product. If you need to know which gutter guard is better for pine needles feel free to ask. You will want to talk to several vendors who are offering similar services. Don’t feel obligated to stick with the first company you spoke to, I am certain you didn’t marry the first person you ever dated (unless you are my Mother). You had to find the perfect fit for you and hiring a contractor is a similar process. Maybe at this point you are trying to decide between Leaf Solution and Gutter Helmet ask them what the difference is. It is also okay to ask for a ball park of what a project might cost. We know every job is different but a good contractor who has been in business for a while will know what an average project will cost.
Should you tell a contractor what your budget is? That is very personal information and you may feel uncomfortable revealing this when you just met someone. If you feel comfortable with the contractor you might want to share your budget with them. Speed daters generally know within 30 seconds if they are interested in a person, you should get a similar vibe from a contractor. A reliable and honest contractor will not use that information as leverage but rather use it to start a conversation. They may ask questions like what you were expecting for your budget, what your top priorities are, or if you have any special concerns. If a lifetime-no-clog warranty is important to you then Leaf Solution might be the right product for you.
If you give a company your contact information at a home show you should expect them to call you and follow up. They will want a “second date” to discuss your project in more detail and possibly schedule an estimate with you. If you are considering installing a gutter guard in the future feel free to take a business card and any literature they might have available and decline on sharing your information at this time. Most contractors would prefer to meet with you when you are ready to have the project done.
We don’t recommend stopping at the booths where the person is too busy reading, playing a video game, or texting to speak with you. If they begin their relationship with you this way you can most likely expect more of the same treatment in the future. As a rule of thumb if they don’t acknowledge you when you approach their booth they are not really interested in earning your business.
A few general etiquette rules:
It is ok to say hello. We love meeting new people and just because we say hello doesn’t mean we are expecting you to buy something.
The candy is free! You may take a piece even if you don’t have any questions about gutters. You don’t even have to pretend, just help yourself!
Now you have a lot of information at your disposal. You have met with the contractors and seen their products. What is your gut telling you? Which contractor seemed the most professional, and interested in your project? What was their warranty like, how will they respond if you had a problem that needed to be taken care of? Do their reviews on sites like Angie’s List, Guild Quality, Google, and Houzz confirm your overall impression of the company? Is Leaf Solution the right choice for your house and your needs? Now you can confidently schedule your estimates with your top choices.
We wish you the best of luck with your spring projects, and look forward to meeting you at a home show in your area!