By MyPros Staff
There is a curious puddle of water oozing out from under the refrigerator and the ice cream is melting. What do you do? For most people the first course of action is to say a few choice words and try to find the best appliance repair company.
While that is a fairly appropriate choice of moves, how do you pick from the dozens of repair companies and know you have made a wise choice? How will you know who is honest, reliable, economical, or capable? Worry no more – we’ve put together a guideline for you. Following these tips will make the search to find the best appliance repair companies easier – and more successful.
Before you call any appliance repair company…
1. Don’t Rush
As imperative as it is to get your stop the leak in your fridge, firm up your ice cream, and save your bacon, making a hasty decision on the proper repair company could end up costing you a lot more than the value of the contents of your fridge. It is much better to do your due diligence and end up with some limp lettuce and liquid ice cream than it is to choose the wrong guy and have your house catch fire due to faulty repair work.
2. Ask Around
Before you call a single company, call your neighbors. Call your friends, neighbors, family members, and anyone else in the area who might be able to give you the lowdown on local companies they have used in the past. Nothing is better than word of mouth. When people have had bad service in the past they are usually not shy about telling others about it. Equally so, high praises means a company is very likely to have provided exemplary service in the past and is a good bet for your current woes. Ask them the following questions for any company they suggest:
- Were they happy with the work quality and the repair?
- Were they reasonable or overpriced?
- Were they professional in action and appearance?
- Would they use them again? Why or why not?
3. Call Your Local Realtor
No, you don’t have to sell your house just because your refrigerator broke down. Most realtor firms have repair companies on a retainer and know the best ones in the area.
4. Research Online
Whether you got a bunch of names from the previous tips, or whether your hunt came up completely empty, you need to do your own research too. No one person knows every good company, so this will round out your list (and your personal satisfaction). There are great sites online with local appliance repair companies that are rated and reviewed by other consumers like yourself. These are invaluable resources – use them to their max. Independent recommendations are always 100x more telling than any company’s (marketing) claims.
Now from your you should have a group of the best appliance repair companies, by recommendation. Follow the next steps to figure out which one to use.
On the phone with the best of that group of appliance repair companies
5. Don’t Settle on the First One You Talk to
Again, this is no time to be hasty. Do not pick the first company you call even if they sound okay. You can always call them back. A reputable appliance repair company will understand that you need to shop around to be sure you are getting a good deal and quality company.
6. Does the Owner Do Repairs?
Find out if the owner of the business actually does repair work as well. Locating growing and successful smaller repair companies takes a little more effort, but it will often translate into superior repair work.
7. Avoid ‘Special Offers’
Don’t get caught up in repair businesses that claim they will not charge you service fees unless there is an actual service completed. If a professional technician comes to your house to look at your appliances with a professional eye, he deserves to be paid for his time and expertise. You are paying him for knowledge you don’t have.
Most appliance repair companies (and any repair company, for that matter) charge for service visits because it is time they could be making money elsewhere. That’s fair.
This marketing offer makes you think you are getting a no-risk situation, when actually you are putting yourself in the position of possibly paying more money.
After a person has come all the way to your house, helped you by looking at your appliance with a professional’s eye, and given you advice from experience, do you want them to be in the position of having either done all that for free or just working on something you don’t understand to ensure they’re paid for their time? Ninety-nine percent of all appliance repair companies are good honest hard-working people that don’t need gimmicks. Good appliance repair companies know there is value in their coming to diagnose your appliance problem, and that’s why there’s a service call fee. Stick with those companies and pay the man.
8. Don’t Decide on Price Alone
Don’t just go with the cheapest company. You never know what you are getting yourself into or why they chose/need to be the lowest price. That certainly doesn’t mean you have to pay the highest price in order to get quality work, either. Ask good questions. You are trying to find the best overall combination of knowledge, experience, and price.
Questions to Ask on the phone with the appliance repair companies
9. How Long Have You Been in Business?
The length of time a company has been in business can be a good indicator of the quality of their work.
10. Do You Take Credit Cards?
Whether you plan on paying with credit cards or not, knowing if a company is able to accept them is an indication of their success. Companies must undergo a thorough background check before being allowed to accept credit cards as payment. A small company without a track record will have a difficult time getting credit card companies to allow them to accept charges.
If you were not planning on paying with credit, reconsider that decision. Paying by credit card offers you the security of being able to complain if you received bad service or the repairs were not made properly. In most cases you can be reimbursed the entire cost of the service call. If you are satisfied you can always pay off your charge in the current billing cycle and not incur any interest, just as if you paid by cash or check.
11. What Training D Your Service Personnel Have?
Do not be shy. A company with well trained, accredited technicians will be happy to tell you all about the training and certification their employees have.
12. Ask a Specific Repair Question
If you do not know a specific problem to ask about, think up an appropriate ‘dummy question’. For example, ask each company the total charge to change a direct drive Whirlpool dishwasher’s water pump, including any and all call out fees, parts and labor, service charges and trip charges. Use the same scenario with each company called. Each company should be able to give you a good estimate, and you can use the prices to compare each company.
13. Do You Guarantee or Warranty Your Work?
Do they, in writing, guarantee or warranty all work performed as well as all parts installed? How long does this guarantee and/or warranty last?
14. Are You Bonded and Insured?
Bonded means they have secured funds (state controlled) that are available if a consumer makes a claim against them.
Insured refers to liability insurance. It could cover, for instance, injury to a person or the property. In the case of an injury, if the company is not insured the homeowner could be held liable. Ask if something in the home is damaged during a repair, are they specifically insured for this occurrence?
15. Can You Give Me References?
Ask if there are any businesses or people that can be references for their work. A good company will have a list of references ready or will put one together for you.
People with personal experience with the company can give you first-hand knowledge. Businesses and business people such as appliance rental companies, real estate agents, warranty companies and rental agents have all experienced such an array of appliance repair technicians that they have a knack for judging good or bad repairmen.
16. The BEST Overall Advice…?
The overall best advice is to not leave finding a good repair company for all of your appliance needs until something breaks down. When you are upset and have a refrigerator full of spoiling food, you are not apt to be in the right frame of mind to be patient and check all the facts. Use the tips above to call long before any appliances go on the fritz and have that number handy when the ice cream is melting.