It’s March in Oklahoma. Springtime & storm season.
Time to think about finally getting that storm shelter you’ve been wanting.
There are so many storm shelter companies out there.
But which one do you call?
Who can you trust?
With all the scams happening in our state (especially after a storm), it’s smart to do your research.
We’ve compiled a list of the most important things you should know and look for when choosing a storm shelter company.
**This post is focused on storm shelter companies and their installers;
however, this information can be helpful when choosing any type of contractor or sub-contractor**
Is the Company Fully Insured?
Fully insured companies have several different insurance policies to protect both you and them.
General Liability offers financial protection against any damage done on your property. Accidents are possible when operating heavy equipment and moving 15,000-30,000 lb. storm shelters, so a general liability policy is a must for anyone you hire to work on your property.
Equipment & vehicles should be covered under a Commercial Auto Insurance Policy and/or Inland Marine Insurance Policy (an insurance policy for equipment and materials that are hauled to different locations. For example, our backhoe.) This protects against damage caused by these vehicles. If equipment and company vehicles are uninsured, this leaves the property owner responsible for damages or injuries that happen on the property.
Employees doing work on your property must be covered under Workers Compensation. This policy covers injuries to the workers that occur on the job site. Working in and around heavy equipment is a dangerous job, so it’s important to make sure employees are covered too!
YOU, the homeowner or business owner, take on a huge risk when hiring uninsured or partially insured contractors. This can be both dangerous and pricey. Don’t take a risk by hiring a company that isn’t fully insured!
Read Reviews & Do Your Homework
Do a Google search.
Check for reviews on Facebook, Google, Better Business Bureau, Yelp, & Angie’s List. Facebook gives businesses an option to hide the review section. If you can’t find Facebook reviews, there’s probably a reason they are hidden. The written reviews are the ones that count, don’t pay attention to those 5 stars with no review attached.
Look the company up on Better Business Bureau. Check local court records to see if they’ve had legal issues.
Details are Important
Do their products follow FEMA guidelines? Were they tested and certified at the Texas Tech Wind Institute? Shelters tested at the Wind Institute make sure the shelter can survive a direct hit from a tornado.
Are they the installers or do they sub-contract the jobs? This is NOT a deal breaker, it’s just a good idea to know the background of the company doing the actual labor and to have the same opportunity to research them as well. Subcontracting can sometimes be a good thing.
Are they experienced? Even if the business is new, the operator may still have several years of experience. Ask!
Call the company and ask questions. Let’s be honest. If a company rubs you the wrong way, you won’t be satisfied with the work no matter how well it’s done. Make sure you are comfortable with the company you choose. Go with your gut.
How Much Will it Cost You?
Try not to let price be your deciding factor. Qualifications are much more important than price. When it comes to storm shelters (and contractors in general), cheaper isn’t always better. Super cheap prices = cut corners, low quality products, and/or poor workmanship = All RED FLAGS. Most storm shelter companies are pretty competitively priced.
If you’re asked to pay a large chunk of money or in full up front, run away. A small deposit is fine, especially during storm season. Final payment should be accepted upon completion of the job, never before. This is a HUGE red flag!!!
Do they add any taxes or fees to their prices? Make sure you know what to expect up front! These can add up, especially when you buy a storm shelter from a large retailer. Is installation included in the price? Know the final price before agreeing to hire the company!
Sprague’s Backhoe is fully insured and specializes in storm shelter installations in the Oklahoma City area. We have over 15 years experience in the industry and are highly skilled at what we do. We’ve built our company based on integrity, quality & reliability and our reviews say it all.
We offer the highest quality and heaviest storm shelters on the market. They EXCEED FEMA guidelines and have all been tested and certified at the Texas Tech University National Wind Institute.
We are looking forward to earning your trust and your business.