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  • Tips for Accepting Door to Door Contract Work

Image Courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image Courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Many contractors drum up new business by using door to door sales. In many ways it makes a lot of sense: every home they knock on is potentially new business to offer home renovations, clean-ups, snow removal, landscaping, and so on. The profile of these businesses tend to be medium-to-large businesses that operate their own door-to-door marketing division. Ontario Energy Group Consumer Watch would like to share some tips to getting the best value out of a contractor who approaches you at the door.

Recognize that the Representative Isn’t the Contractor

Door to door sales is a profession in itself, and it’s a 9 to 5 job just like any other. Many contractors, and the reps that work for them, can end up confusing or misrepresenting (albeit accidentally) whom you’re dealing with at the door.

For specialized jobs such as roofing or home-insulating, the representative can certainly quote you a price and a general estimation of services that you may need. Recognize, however, that what a door to door sales rep is telling you about labor costs is merely a representative proposition. The door to door salesperson may know the business, but they aren’t the one doing the work. So everything should be understood with this reality in mind.

Make Sure You Don’t Pay Up Front

Up front paying for services in the future is a poor investment, especially when the service turns out to be not entirely what you hope for. This is particularly common for snow removal and lawn care services, when the service rendered takes place over a season or a year. Paying for an entire winter of snow removal at the door then having a dry winter can leave homeowners feeling jilted or, worse, robbed of value.

In fact, in Quebec, down payments at the door are actually unlawful unless the seller leaves the person buying with something of value equal to the down payment. There’s a number of reasons to not make a down payment at the door, and good businesses will generally not accept them. If you are required to make a down payment for service, limit the amount to around 10% to 15% if possible.

Review Your Contract, Warranties, and Stay Flexible

Using the example of snow removal before, make sure your contract is able to address changes in service or scope as needs develop down the road. Even a fixed monthly payment for snow removal should have some provisions for light snow or dry months. For home renovation contracts, review how the business will treat damages that may occur when providing the service.

Contractors do the work, but door to door salespeople do the business. Make sure the scope of the business is well understood by you when you sign. Don’t put forth month for a service you haven’t gotten yet, and always make sure you know exactly what you’re getting when you sign.

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