Happy April 1st AKA April Fool’s Day — You know when someone told me about this program; I thought they were trying to play an early April Fool’s Day joke on me. They then faxed me the letter & I could not help but laugh. TREX and ServiceMagic join forces, oh boy, what a match made in heaven. Both companies are great at marketing, but have some terrible reputations. TREX is still battling back from numerous fiasco’s with its products (one example), while ServiceMagic is still working on actually gaining credibility (Just one web site devoted to their issues from both contractors & homeowners).
To: All TrexPro Contractor’s
Subject: Credentialing and Partnership with ServiceMagic
The TrexPro program is currently undergoing an exciting transformation into a business building “Platform”. As you will see in the coming weeks, this platform will provide you, the building professional, unprecedented value as a business building tool.
The transformation begins with verification of the TrexPro’s contractor license (where applicable) and proof of current general liability policy in the amount of $1 million or greater.
What to Expect
As we set the new standard for contractor programs, proof of credentials is the first step in maintaining your TrexPro status. We’ve partnered with ServiceMagic to gather and maintain proof of credentials for all TrexPro contractors – current and future. Credentialing will be performed at no expense to the TrexPro.
ServiceMagic will be contacting you directly in the next couple of weeks to gather a few pieces of information as laid out below…
In all fairness to TREX, they do have a new line called Transcend that might be a worthwhile product. However, with all their previous problems, many contractors will not use them until they have proven that their issues are behind them. At SLS Construction, we will be sticking with Correct Deck, AZEK, GAF, & TimberTech for all our synthetic and composite decking needs for the foreseeable future. As for the brands Trex offers at the box stores – well those are meant to DIYers and not at all comparable to either the new Trex line, Correct Deck or others.
As for ServiceMagic, well let us put the facts on the table. First, many contractors do not understand the concept, and think that just because they get a lead, they should get the sale or at least one in three. The simple fact is that not everyone is really looking at an immediate sale. Beyond that, it all goes downhill from there.
First, let’s dispense with the “free estimate” myth. Sure, you might get three “contractors” to come out and give you a “free” estimate, but you will be paying for that lead fee and any other costs that the contractor ends up paying. In many cases, you will be looking at that fee times three to four assuming the contractor actually closes 25% of their calls. Depending on the size of the jobs – these leads are sold to each contractor at $7 to $90 a piece, which does not include the drive time, mileage or other work associated with the “free” estimate.
Second, the prescreening is a joke. I pulled a spot check for contractors that build additions in Alabama & 4 of the ones I looked at do not show a license # or they use this phrase “Not required for work offered, when matched by ServiceMagic”. I guess we will have to take them at their word that the project will not go over $10,000 that is State Law. I cannot recall a single addition I have seen in about 7 years that could be built properly for that price. I guess that is why in the fine print under Terms & Conditions you agree to that they recommend that you check on the licenses yourself. My favorite section though:
Although we take certain steps to examine the credentials of our listed service professionals, we make no guarantees or representations regarding the skills or representations of such service professional or the quality of the job that he or she may perform for you if you elect to retain their services. ServiceMagic does not endorse or recommend the services of any particular service professional.
Some of the other issues that have frustrated many contractors and homeowners are the practice of reselling the leads to other companies, selling the leads to more than the stated amount of contractors, resubmitting the lead through the system a month or so after the lead was entered , among other things. While the company agents state that all these issues have been addressed, the info still seems to show that they have a ways to go.
While I applaud Trex for working on improving their products and systems, I really have to question why they really joined up with the company that they did. There are so many other companies out there with better systems in place that would show that they are actually looking at improving and not just chasing the money.