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

Thank you for providing us with two highly professional workers.

Dave:

My husband and I would like to tell you how pleased we are with the work that was done by your employers, Juan Maldonado and his co- worker. They were at our house on Wednesday September 23 and Thursday September 24. While here they did carpentry work as well as painting. The end product is truly top of the line. We found Juan and his co- worker to be hard working, pleasant and above all else extremely competent. It will be our pleasure to recommend them to our neighbors, many who saw the Williams truck in front of our house and were curious to know what we were having done, and our many other friends.

Thank you for providing us with two highly professional workers. The result of their work gets an A+.


L.M

Williams Professional Painting

Good Morning,

Recently my house was painted, I am very please with Mr. Dagaberto Rodriguez work. He behaved very professional and courteous.I will not hesitate to recommend him for a job.

Thank You,


M.T

The reason we always turn to Williams Professional Painting first

Bryan spent two days painting and doing repairs in our family room . The door jamb was heavily water damaged and he had to remove the old plaster and rusted metal supports and replace them. He replaced water damaged woodwork and repainted everything. The work was perfect. The jamb looked like new and all the work was neat and clean. In addition, Bryan was friendly and extremely professional. His work easily met the high standards I have come to expect from Willliams. He and the men like him are the reason we always turn to Williams Professional Painting first.


R.S

The house looks beautiful!

Bob and I are very pleased with the outcome of our painting project. The house looks beautiful. Many of our neighbors have seen your work and have been very impressed. Hopefully some more work will come your way.

We want to give a big thanks to your crew. Lisa was so helpful in the color selections. She also answered many questions on other ideas and always led us int he right direction. Walter and his guys were amazing. They are true professionals and take pride in the work they do. We really appreciated all the time they spent on prepping our walls. They corrected so many of the builder's mistakes. The crown molding that was added really finishes off each room. Give a special thinks to Walter, Carlos, Edwin, Gustavo, and Daniel. Tell the guys that our dog Maisie misses them and Walter can visit her anytime.

We are planning on contacting you again in the Fall to finish off our painting project. That will be the two upstairs guest bedrooms and bath and the garage.


B. and P.

A Professional Painting Project

Last week, Williams painted the main floor of my townhome. The crew (Walter and Jose) arrived on time, worked continually all day, and cleaned up their work area before leaving. They did a great job! We would use them again


J.H

A review for a foreman Juan Maldonado

This is in reference to Juan Maldonado's work at my home from 08/24 to 08/26. Juan was very polite, neat, and on - time, and he and his assistant Daniel did a very good job patching, caulking, and painting. I would use him again.

Sincerely,


B.F

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

Exterior Painting - Manassas, Virginia

Hello Lisa,

Carlos did an excellent job. Robert (?) too. The colors, in real life look real nice. The sassy green is very cool...it helps to add a little extra "look" to this area....reminds me of being in Miami!

I'm glad Carlos did the painting by hand instead of spraying (except for porch rafters). His judgement is appreciated.

Now I have my own work to do to finish the porch old cedar planks. I like how that part will look when all done.

I see several cans of paint left over - Thanks. Some red and some green..deck sealer too. I can just take the color codes for the porch floor (Bungalow) and the white (Alabaster) to the paint store for more right? I will use more in some places as I finish my remaining projects.

Thanks again too for your assistance - it made the process more fun.

Regards,



J.F

A Review for Franklin

We are very happy with the work as we have been in the past.I would like to commend Franklin who supervised the job. He is very much up to the standards that we have come to expect from Williams.


K.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

Outstanding work by Juan Maldonado,

Great job by Williams Professional Painting on some recent repair to our front portico (carpentry, roofing, and painting). Outstanding work by Juan Maldonado, who was the foreman and craftsman who completed the work.


T.M.

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

A review for Ricardo Salas and Edison for their work

Good evening:

I'm writing to provide a review for Ricardo Salas and Edison for their work at Cameron Mills Rd.

We had a great experience with both Williams Professional Painting and Ricardo and Edison. First off, the estimate process was so much easier and straight forward than I expected. It was easy to schedule a time on the weekend to get an estimate and Dave showed up ready to answer any of my questions and was more than willing to provide information. He also responded to my emails etc. promptly, making it painless to schedule and move forward with the project. This is a very different experience than with other contractors we have attempted to work with. We also had the pleasure of using the company's free design services at their office location. It made picking a color far more enjoyable than going to a crowded Home Depot and the advice was very valuable.

Second, Ricardo and Edison's work was fantastic. They showed up right on time, covered all the walkways, protected the furniture, and worked efficiently. Ricardo ended up doing 2 out of the 3 days of work by himself, and we had the same experience. He showed up right on time, making it easy for me to ask any questions I had before I had to head off to work, and was very respectful of our home. The paint job is beautiful and my house was left clean and undamaged. I would be happy to work with Ricardo again in the future and would certainly recommend Williams Professional Painting to others.

Thank you


E.G

Williams Prof Painting did a great job.

Williams Prof Painting did a great job on our huge 2-story windows and walls in our family room. When Rick came to do an estimate, he assured me they do this kind of work all the time, and they take great pride in their work. Carlos and Jorge were our painters and were always courteous and professional. Everyone communicated well and we could't be more please. Will use them again. Great job from a well-run company.


E.B

A Review for a Flawless Job!

These guys are simply the best. They did work all over the house, recaulking a tub, dealing with water damage, rebuilding a ceiling over two attached rooms - i.e. not a terribly simple or quick job. They took their time, worried about the details, and ended up doing a flawless Job. Cristian, the Foreman, was lovely, touching base at the beginning and end of each day, staying on top of everything. I would use these guys again and again.

Thank you.


M.C.

Thank you very much for such good service!

We were very happy with the work done by Williams Professional Painting and the crew who worked at our house. 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! They kept us well-informed about their progress and discussed options at various decision points. 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, and the fact that Milton came by to check on progress and consult on an issue that arose.

Thank you very much for such good service!

Best regards,


D. & T. W.

Bien Hecho D2!

"Absolutely fantastic job…and the house is sparkling clean!...Everything looks perfect." Will be leaving a review on Angies' List, as well.


Mr. S

A Review for Franklin and Edwin

Franklin and Edwin just completed a job on our house, and I wanted to let you know how superb their performance was.

Every day they were on time, they worked hard, and they were meticulous in cleaning up. Franklin always went to us with any questions he had; he never just assumed he knew what we would want.

They were a credit to Williams Professional Painting — providing the high-quality service that we have come to expect from Williams.

Please let them know how pleased we were with their work.

Thank you.


A.P

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