Homeowner Beware

A man writes a check for a down payment on what he believes will soon be his new deck, only to continue looking out the patio door at some dirt and the holes that had been dug for footings that never got poured. Another family has contracted with a "company" to paint the exterior of their home, but 3 weeks later the job is only half finished and the painters seem to work on no certain schedule. And then there is the widow lady that is convinced by someone that if she doesn't do the work to her home soon the damage to her house will be irreparable. These stories are all too familiar to those of us who live in the metropolitan area, and are played out every day on the pages of our newspapers and on programs such as Call For Action and Seven On Your Side.

Why is our area being converged upon and plagued with home improvement scams brought on us by people whose only concern is a dollar, and by those who have no concept of what honesty and integrity is? Why is it that the Northern Virginia area, in particular, seems to be a haven for this kind of activity? What can legitimate contractors do to set themselves apart from these types of operations, and what can the homeowner do to protect themselves?

The Northern Virginia and Washington, DC areas are particularly susceptible for 3 reasons:

  1. While there are laws on the books regarding the licensing of all who operate a business in Virginia, very little enforcement takes place, primarily because of the large number of those operating in our area.
  2. The chances are that a person will never be caught operating without a license in Northern Virginia.
  3. For those who do get a business license, in most home improvement fields there is absolutely no testing required to show training or competence in the field in which that business is going to operate.
  4. Some homeowners who are taken advantage of usually feel embarrassed by what has happened and may never report the contractor to the appropriate authorities. So with no repercussions at all and no fear of being caught at what they are doing, a person can just move to the next neighborhood and continue taking advantage of homeowners. Legitimate contractors are often at a disadvantage from the time their phone rings from a homeowner who is seeking to have some work done. A legitimate contractor realizes that he is bidding many times against people who can do work sometimes substantially cheaper than he can, because of the way some of the "competition" are running their operation. He also knows that for those homeowners who have been burned in the past, or know of someone who has, that he may be viewed with suspicion and distrust, and to those that have been fortunate enough to have not been treated wrongly before, he may seem overpriced compared to what someone else has bid. Therefore, the only defense the legitimate contractor has is his reputation for honesty, and the quality of the work which many times he will not even get a chance to demonstrate. Many times a legitimate contractor who wants to succeed must spend more time and money to compete with someone who is not playing by the same rules, and in the end though it appears on the surface that the legitimate contractor makes more profit because his bid may be a few dollars higher, he is actually more often than not making a much smaller profit.
  5. Another problem facing the legitimate contractor is that in some areas of Fairfax County in particular, the opportunist has created a different scenario. I remember giving an estimate to a wealthy and affluent family in an area that was surrounded by million dollar homes in all directions. After presenting the bid, we were told that the price was too low and therefore the job was being awarded to someone else. Only after reviewing 2 more estimates that we advised them to get, did they realize they were a victim of what could be called "zip code bidding." Zip code bidding is bidding a job based on the area and apparent wealth of the community, rather than a fair price, others would call it "price gouging." In one part of the county you may be too high and in another you may be too low.

What can homeowners do to protect themselves and at the same time not be unreasonable with their contractor?

  1. All homeowners must take it on themselves to compare equal bids and not be enticed by the lowest bid. Many times there is a reason a company will put in a low bid. Perhaps the low bid does not have to take into account overhead that many other companies do (taxes, insurance, licensing, etc.), or it could be the labor he uses to complete his jobs is not paid according to the wage scale of those he is bidding against. There could be any number of reasons a company comes in as the low bidder, and this is not an effort to discredit the low bid. Just as some homeowners may be lured by the low bid, others may equate quality with price and be lured by the high bid. There are many companies who may come in as the low bidder who are absolutely credible and trustworthy and will do a superb job, but it is up to the homeowner to determine why there may be a difference between bids to insure that they will not be a victim. Always compare apples with apples and oranges with oranges. More often than not, if there seems to be a big discrepancy in estimates, the difference can usually be found in the comparison of what is being offered, and the equality of those offering their bid on the work. If there is a difference that seems substantial the homeowner must find out why in order to prevent possible problems once the project is underway. If there appears to be no major difference in services being offered, other than price, then the homeowner may want to get a third or even fourth bid to help them better compare.
  2. Next, a person close to signing a contract with a home improvement contractor should always make sure that they are properly licensed and insured and that their workers are covered by workers compensation insurance. (This fact will often explain a large difference in estimates received).
  3. Inquire about the crew that will be coming to the home. Are they permanent employees? or does the company pick up day labor on an as needed basis?
  4. Ask for references of projects the company has done, and if it is possible look at some work they may have done in the area. After all of this is done and after all bids have been compared, consider one more fact. Do you feel comfortable with the person you are dealing with? Can you trust them with what may be your largest investment? While there is no guarantee that some of the things mentioned above will be complete assurance against problems, we believe that it is an excellent start.
Testimonials

Our Happy Customers

Williams Professional Painting

We were extremely pleased with the quality of the work done in our condo and with the professionalism of the team that worked on our project.

Thank you


E.D.

Williams Professional Painting

Hi Milton:

We were very happy with the work done by the crew. They were very careful and thorough. I appreciated that they made sure all the windows opened and locked after they finished. Bryan and Daniel (and Edwin earlier) were great! I've already recommended your company to two families - and will continue to do that if anyone's looking for this type of service. I also appreciated the way the office kept us informed as we went through all the delays due to rain.

Thank you very much for such good service!

Regards,


D.C

The end result of their efforts look marvelous.

This note is intended to confirm our orally expressed appreciation of the fine work that Sr. Maldonado and his partner performed at out our house. The end result of their efforts look marvelous. The exterior, however, masks the results of their astute examination and careful restoration of those portions of the house that had suffered over time. It is important


D.N.

Exterior Painting - Fairfax Virginia - These two workers were very professional, highly skilled and hard working.

This past week on July 23 and 24 Les Eichhorn and Paublo Benavides primed and painted our double wide carport. These two workers were very professional, highly skilled and hard working.

It was obvious from the beginning their intent was to do an excellent job and satisfy the customer in every way. They meticulously covered property to prevent damage from paint spray and gave us an exceptional paint job. When they finished, the only evidence they left behind was a beautiful carport!

We would recommend Williams Professional Painting to all persons who need anything painted.

Sincerely yours,



Mark Summers

Facebook Review

We use Williams several times a year to keep up with our home. Inside or outside they do a great job. This week was a tough job of wallpaper removal and then prime and paint the master bathroom. Dagoberto and Edwin did a great job and were a pleasure to have around all week.


J.K.

A Painting Project

Dear Rick:

Dago and Eric just left. They did a wonderful job. I really love the way the bedroom looks and as for the guest bathroom, they were able to repair the plaster from the roof leak before painting the room and it looks great. I will definitely fill out a review for you and for them.

I also appreciate the help that Lisa gave us.

Please do not hesitate to give my name if people request a reference.

Best,



V.R

They arrived at the promised time

I am writing to let you know how very pleased I was by the work done by Ricardo Salas and Rodrigo on June 14, 2015. They arrived at the promised time and both worked very hard to do a superb job despite the heat and humidity. The carpentry repairs were at the 3rd floor level, as well as much of the painting and, in my eyes, the results are excellent.

Thank you for providing such courteous, experienced and skilled tradesmen. I will definitely recommend Williams to friends and call on you again when needed.

Sincerely,
Sharon Burke


S.B

A great review on a finished project in Washington, DC

Dave – I would just like to express my appreciation in writing for the wonderful job Williams did in the recent painting (8/19 –8/28/15) of my home. The painters worked tirelessly from early morning to late afternoon. I was fortunate in having Dagoberta D2 as the team leader. Not only was he an excellent painter but he kept me informed of the progress of the work and what I could expect each day. The work was challenging. It included removing wallpaper from two closets, one partitioned into upper and lower halves. Working in these small spaces would test one’s physical and mental toughness. Suffice it to say that both closets look like works of art now with smoothly painted walls and woodwork. The team of painters also included Erick, D1, Rodrigo, and Enrique. They were all extremely hardworking and pleasant.

While the painting of the interior has made the house look new, the exterior painting has made it look like a show house. Neither would have been possible without the help of Williams’ Designer Lisa Reyes. Lisa steered me in the right direction with color choices. I could easily still be bogged down by decisions if she had not given her stamp of approval to selections we considered early on.

Finally the work might not have gotten off the ground without the help of Jose Guzman. In the period preceding the work, Jose came to my home twice as I struggled to finalize my requests. On the day that the painting began, Jose arrived to orient Dagoberta D2 on the scope of the project, remembering even the smallest details. Throughout Jose kept in touch with me and with the team.

As a homeowner I could not have asked for a better experience with a company. I hope that I have an opportunity to work with Williams again.

Respectfully,


M.B

Williams Professional Painting

Rick:

Thanks for your follow-up note – and thanks for the job. Les did a truly excellent job of managing this project, including his own efforts wielding the paintbrush. As a team, Les, Ricardo and Eric were professional, conscientious and diligent painters. All of the work was done with care and attention to detail. The team showed up and finished the job on time as projected. They cleaned up the job site perfectly.

We will not hesitate to recommend your firm to friends. Moreover, this winter we are likely to contract for some inside painting work, and will contact you about that when we are ready.

Best regards,


M & C

Interior Residential Painting McLean,VA.

Dave -

Just a note to let you know that Juan Maldonado did a very nice job for us last week. He was easy to have around and communicated well. It was a job made up of many little jobs and that’s sometimes hard to organize, but he did it! He had creative ideas when there were challenges and he always completed the project.

Thanks for getting it all done before the college party here this past Monday.

Happy Father’s Day!

A.B


A.B

Thanks for the good work - you are truly "professional"!

Franklin and his crew (Carlos, Jorge, JB, and Daniel) did an outstanding job painting the exterior trim on our house.With it raining almost every day this month, they managed to get the work finished by staying until after 7pm on clear days and working all day one Saturday.The work quality was excellent, they respected the interior of our house and always wore foot protection, and they kept us informed about when they were coming and when they couldn't due to the weather.They were very professional and committed to getting the work done and done right.Our thanks to the entire crew!We definitely will recommend Williams for any painting job and will use them again on our next (hopefully interior) painting project.

Thanks for the good work - you are truly "professional"!


P. & C. M

Exterior Painting And Carpentry. Alexandria, VA.

I had a third-story gutter that was drip-leaking over my deck. I would like to commend Juan Maldonado and his helper for inspecting, ascertaining the problem, and rectifying it. He reviewed the problem, recommended the fix, and after the go-ahead, proceeded to implement it.

It will take another hard rainfall to determine if the repair eliminated the issue completely, but the measures taken by Mr. Maldonado and his crew were well-thought out from his experience, and executed very professionally.

Thanks,

M.M


M.M

A Happy Client.

I wanted to let you know how happy we were with the exterior paint job that was done at our house the week of March 14, 2016. Unfortunately I cannot recall the foreman's name - I think it was Santo. He and the other painter did a wonderful job. They were very courteous and professional and we are very pleased with the work they did. I would definitely hire them again.

Thank you!


M.S

Williams Professional Painting

Dear Rick, Arturo and his team did a fantastic job.I could not be more pleased. .Thank you for repeatedly providing me with excellent service and results.


A.C

I will be sure to recommend Williams Professional Painting to my friends and neighbors.

Dagoberto, Fidel, and “D2” performed extensive work on the exterior of my house from May 25 through May 27. They power washed the exterior, replaced wood trim with PVC, and painted the exterior. They also repaired drywall in my den, and painted that wall.

They did an outstanding job! I will be sure to recommend Williams Professional Painting to my friends and neighbors, and as the need arises in the future I intend to use Williams.

Thanks!


B.P.

Williams Professional Painting

This is just a quick note to let you all know how happy we are with the paint job that Richard Salas did on April 4, 2016. He showed up on time and was very polite and professional. He made sure I was happy with his work and did a great job cleaning up before he left for the day.

Thank you!


M.S

Work done recently on our deck

I want to thank you for the work done recently on our ipe deck. Ricardo Salas and Pablo power washed the deck, removing several years of tree drippings and grime, and then applied the new stain.They did a good job working around the white painted railings and pergola posts.The result is beautiful and the deck looks brand new. The workmanship was excellent and they clearly knew the proper way to apply the stain.

Thank you.


G.R

Interior Painting Alexandria, Virginia

Hi Alvis. I just wanted to thank you for your help. Carlos S. came to my house yesterday to do the work we talked about earlier. I loved him. He was such a nice person and very professional throughout the entire process. I really appreciated the way he explained everything to me and did all the work so carefully. I felt very fortunate that Carlos was assigned to my project. I will request him for my next project too. And I have many more things on the list. Thanks, Alvis.



K.C.

What You Should Know About Us

Completely Invested

Our neighbors have been trusting us for over 40 years, and we want our appreciation to show!

Experience and Education

Take advantage of our experience and training. Have questions? Ask away! Need help? We’re here.

Honesty Is Key

No fuzzy prices or timelines. Just clear, detailed communication.

The Best Team

Our painters are invested in their trade and love working on our team. See for yourself!

Respectful Job Sites

Whether we’re painting your home or your high-rise, you can expect clean, orderly work habits.

Gallery

Any Size/Type Project

Flexible Scheduling

Expert Project Management

Safety Trained & Fully Insured

Get an Estimate