30 Years... On A Mission

James Karl Weigold

Good Business....and Good For Business
Free Enterprise - Free Market America

Consumers who make purchases in their homes from sales representatives need information about what they buy and about the companies from which they make purchases. They should have as much information as possible about the experience of the company. They should be informed about product components and workmanship. They should be able to count on quality service during and after the purchase. And they should get verbal promises in writing. Right now, in-home consumers do not have all of this information. With Contractor Facts, they would. Contractor Facts refers to the disclosure of information to consumers by companies that sell products and services in the home. The concept was created by Jim Weigold, who owns We Care, a home remodeling company that serves customers in the Philadelphia area and has been in the business for more than 38 years. He has witnessed firsthand how vulnerable consumers are to unscrupulous contractors, those who get into business without adequate experience or financial resources, who promise anything to close a sale, who charge the maximum and deliver the minimum, and who disappear after the bill is paid. Jim decided that something had to be done. Early on, he realized that by giving consumers more information they would be in a better position to differentiate among companies and decide whether or not to make a purchase. So he created Contractor Facts for companies that voluntarily document in writing information about themselves and their products and services. Consumers can then use this information to compare providers of replacement windows, roofing, painting, carpeting, or any goods and services sold through in-home visits. They know how long the business has been in existence, its assets, its insurance limits, and whether workers are employees or subcontractors. Most important, they can see what percentage of a business' work comes from repeat or referred clients - a clear indication of customer satisfaction. And everything is verified with the owner's signature and photo ID. Contractor Facts participants also support content labeling on manufactured products, similar to the legally required labels found on mattresses, pillows, etc. With content labeling, consumers can easily see what gauge of steel is in their new door and if its handles are plated or solid brass. They know whether windows contain all new materials, the type of glass, and what kinds of seals are used. Without labeling, they can't be sure. With the right information, consumers can make comparisons that go far beyond cost estimates. They will understand how experienced a firm is, who will perform the services or install the goods, and how satisfied others have been with a company's work. And, if a firm does not disclose, that tells consumers something as well. Disclosure benefits those on both sides of the sale. It serves as a valuable screening device for consumers and gives them a more informed basis for comparing estimates. Contractor Facts reassures people that they are doing business with a company that has nothing to hide, that puts its promises in writing and guarantees them with the owner's signature. For companies, disclosure provides credibility with consumers and separates their firm from competitors who don't disclose.

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