You’re in the market for foundation repairs. Oh yay, how fun! (said no one ever) You’re already worried about choosing a reputable company and want to avoid falling for sales gimmicks. You need to know all the industry sales tricks to look out for so that you can hire a professional foundation repair contractor who has your best interests in mind.
After 35+ years in business, Anchor Foundation Repair wants you to know as much about foundation repair and the foundation repair industry as we do and we’ve got no secrets to hide from the Brazos Valley community.
We’ve seen all the sales tactics out there. Hey, to be perfectly honest, we have used some of them too. But we can offer advice on the no-value gimmicks and faulty pitches that we’ve seen foundation repair contractors use to win your business. That way you can more clearly see who’s shootin’ straight with you and who just wants to take your money.
This article will reveal the top sales gimmicks you should look out for when hiring a foundation repair contractor (or any contractor for that matter). We discuss why these tactics are used and what these contractors are hoping to achieve. We will give you lots to think about before deciding which foundation repair company is right for your needs.
Top 7 Foundation Repair Sales Tactics and Gimmicks
Ultimately, foundation repair is a sales-based (and often commission-based) repair industry. Homeowners go into the foundation repair process thinking that they are looking for a standard repair service and that every company will do about the same thing to their home.
But what you end up faced with are buying decisions and a sales experience you didn’t expect to encounter for what you are thinking in your mind as a simple repair service.
Maybe think of it this way, let’s say your car needs a new fan belt. There’s usually only one type of fan belt that fits your car. You take it to any mechanic shop and they will remove the old standard fan belt and put on a new one that is the exact same as the one that was removed. Repair done. Your biggest choice was which mechanic you like the best to take it to.
With foundation repair, it’s more like going out and buying a whole new car instead of just getting a very basic and standard auto repair. When you’re buying a car, there are make and model choices, reliability factors, gas mileage, warranty policies, ease of and cost for future repairs, and much more. With all the choices out there, each company has to find a way to make sure you know how their product stacks up to the competition and sell it to you.
Yes, you need to buy foundation repair, and foundation repair companies want to sell you their product. Selling things often takes some convincing, so companies use sales tactics, gimmicks, and various ways to help get themselves through your door and sway you in their direction.
A sales-based industry is not inherently a *bad* thing. Every company has to use some sort of method to get in front of you and let you know what they have to offer, even us here at Anchor Foundation Repair.
What we’re trying to do with this article is get you to think a little bit more about a company’s method and motivation. Understanding the path that gets you to their product can give you insight into whether a company has your best interests in mind or their own.
Here are the 7 most common sales tactics and gimmicks you might run across during your hunt to hire a foundation repair company:
- Mailers and Printed Handouts
- Time-Sensitive Discounts
- Free Inspections
- Speaking in Absolutes
- Fear Inducing Language
- Radio, TV, and Other Media
Just to repeat, these sales methods are not inherently bad or evil. Let’s look below the surface a little and think through why you may or may not want to *take the bait* a foundation repair company might be offering.
1. Mailers and Printed Handouts
It has become easier and cheaper for businesses to print and send out bulk mailers. Printed items are delivered to your home, placed in your hand, or left on your front door and it’s pretty normal.
Often, a foundation repair company or contractor will use mailers for these reasons:
- To initiate or increase word-of-mouth and awareness,
- To establish or grow into new territory,
- To make an offer or promote a seasonal discount,
- To bring attention to a new service or product that has been added, or
- Because the contractor was sold the idea of using mailers by a marketing firm (We fall for sales tactics sometimes too!)
The main reason a company distributes these items is because they are purposefully trying to increase business – also sounds pretty normal. But let’s think about this . . . do they not have enough business already? Why or why not? Why do they need more?
A company is hoping you will notice their beautiful graphics, clever wording, or just make enough repeat impressions to get you to reach out to them in some way where more *convincing* can take place.
There’s nothing terribly wrong here so far. It’s pretty standard stuff. The main one I want to highlight is the new territory angle. An established business that is trying to make a jump to new cities and towns is not unusual, it’s just something to be aware of.
Where is the main company based? How far is that away from where you live? Will this impact the type of service you get? What happens if you have an issue and need warranty work later? Are you okay with this situation?
If so, great. If not, it’s time to think about what you really need in a foundation repair company.
A coupon offer can get you a certain percentage or a certain fixed amount off of your foundation repairs. But is that coupon really saving you money or just getting you to call that company?
There are more important factors that should influence your foundation repair choices in our opinion. Yes, price is important, but when shopping for foundation repairs you also need to consider:
- The method of foundation repair,
- The warranty policy,
- The trustworthiness of the company,
- The workmanship, and
- The service quality.
Usually, foundation repair companies make coupon offers just to get through your door to apply more sales tactics. If you’re okay with that angle, by all means proceed.
Just be wary of any coupon that requires you to have it before they will come out for an inspection. I’ll call this a “timing-sensitive” offer that works in favor of the contractor. That *savings* you are hoping for can easily be built into your pricing estimate somewhere else if they know about it in advance.
You’ll never really know if it resulted in an actual discount or if they just padded costs in another way to make up for the discount elsewhere.
Think also about your answers to these questions:
- Is saving a small amount of money on an important whole-home repair all it takes to get you to use a particular company?
- Is a low price and getting the very least expensive foundation repair your only requirement in choosing a contractor?
- Why would you want the absolute cheapest foundation repair?
- Do you normally want the cheapest of everything?
- When is spending a bit more worth it for you?
3. Time-Sensitive Discounts
A company offering a short turnaround or a “right now only” discount wants to seal the deal quickly by creating a FOMO situation. That’s the *fear of missing out* for those not up on the latest in cultural acronyms . . .
Any type of discount that has an expiration date is an “act now” sales tactic. You can also interpret this hook as an “act now before you have too much time to think about it” tactic. You are being offered a discount for “signing today” instead of being given the needed time to contemplate a large expense like foundation repair.
A contractor making this kind of offer likely doesn’t want you to get any second opinions on your foundation problems. They want to avoid you talking to anyone else. They don’t really want you to think about what’s going to be best for you. These kinds of offers create pressure situations for customers and generally don’t feel right. #avoid
4. Free Inspections
A *free* foundation inspection is likely the most popular sales tactic used by foundation repair companies. This tactic is similar to a coupon in that it gives a contractor a foot in the door of your home. Once inside, they can then use whatever persuasive techniques they have been taught to get you to buy their services.
When you get your home looked at by a foundation repair contractor, you probably want to know at least two important things:
- Do you truly have a foundation problem that needs fixing?
- If so, how much will it cost to repair?
Many folks feel like they shouldn’t have to pay to get those two questions answered and that’s understandable in some ways. Many contractors of all kinds use this *free estimate or inspection* tactic and it seems to be expected for some reason.
Would you expect the same thing from a doctor, a lawyer, or even a mechanic? No, you would likely pay them for their expert opinion on what you need or what’s wrong with your body or your car.
Just think a little bit more about the first question you’re hoping to get answered with an inspection: Do you really have a foundation problem?
Do you think there’s a chance some contractors could tell you that you *for sure* have a foundation problem when you don’t in order to make a sale? Would you rather have an unbiased opinion with no strings attached?
I’m not saying that every company or every foundation repair guy is out there telling people their home needs repair when it doesn’t. I’m just saying that it opens you up to the possibility of a contractor not providing a 100% impartial opinion on the condition of your home.
5. Speaking in Absolutes
Be on the lookout for any sales pitch that includes a lot of *absolute* language. When a contractor says words like:
- Everyone or No one, etc.
When a contractor, or really anyone, positions themselves in this way it just comes across as posturing and condescending. It’s like a *you don’t know anything and I know everything* and *our way is best and everyone else sucks* kind of attitude. Speaking in absolutes doesn’t feel very sincere from a homeowner’s perspective.
I found this quote from some guy on Google just now doing a quick search result about “speaking in absolutes” that illustrates this point beautifully:
“… when I hear people speaking in absolutes, what I really hear is, “Look how much smarter I think I am than anyone you’ve ever talked to in the past.” (Speaking in Absolutes: Nuance Has Fallen by Mark A.Schrader)
*Major Truth Here* – No foundation repair solution is perfect in all cases for all people. Look for contractors who recognize that different companies and methods have some merit and might work better than others for some people in certain situations.
Contractors with an attitude of openness and the ability to think through the advantages and disadvantages or pros and cons of their own foundation repair products might be hard to find. But compare that to a company that just acts like they know best and their solution has no downsides ever.
Which one sounds like someone you would rather have working on your home?
6. Fear Inducing Language
Speaking of language use, words that create fear and alarm are often seen used in foundation repair sales. Words and phrases like the following create a catastrophic feeling for homeowners:
- Really bad,
- You need to do this right now, and
- Don’t let your house fall over, etc.
Anytime you’re told that your situation is dire, horrible, or extreme, you begin acting out of fear. A foundation repair contractor can take advantage of that feeling and get you to commit to things you don’t need, upsell and get you to buy more, or get you to act more quickly than you normally would. You should take these scare tactics with a grain of salt.
Be aware of how a contractor makes you feel about your home foundation situation. Are they making you feel worse or are they making you feel better about your foundation issue? Are they making you feel powerless over this situation or empowered and confident that it can get handled?
P.S. For a typical Central Texas home, it’s generally safe to wait on foundation repairs, i.e. your house is not going to fall over. Foundation issues caused by expansive clay soil take many years to form and your home won’t suddenly break.
7. Radio, TV, and Other Media
Radio and television commercials are quite expensive and so are billboards and paid web marketing. You might wonder how much money is being spent on advertising and corporate sponsorships if you see a company being advertised everywhere.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with these forms of advertising as many companies use these sales tactics. The company might be trying to break into new markets as we discussed in item #1 which is totally normal. The main things you should be looking for are the same issues listed above in items 2 – 6.
In their advertising, are they using discounts and coupon offers as a hook to get you to call them? Are the offers time-sensitive or timing-sensitive? Are they offering something for free that might be better if it was paid and unbiased? Are they speaking in absolutes or using scary words to freak you out more about your foundation problems?
Listen for the language, and pay attention to how it makes you feel.
What Sales Tactic Does Anchor Foundation Repair Use?
Now you’re probably wondering what sort of sales approach we use here at Anchor Foundation Repair. Well, we actually don’t use any of the tactics above currently. At times, we have used mailers, maybe some past sprinklings of absolute language, and even used to do free inspections, but not anymore.
Instead of littering your mailbox, TV time, or social media feed with paid advertising that you are likely to throw away or rather not see, we use education and empowering information. We want to be where you need us, answering every question you might have about foundation repair with candid transparency (instead of where you don’t need us and don’t want to see us).
When people have big foundation repair questions, they often turn to the internet to research. So our sales efforts are aimed at being a trusted source of unbiased and impartial info in our industry. When you find the answers you are looking for online, you also find our website and might decide to reach out to us for an inspection. That’s it. That’s our sales tactic.
Our Learning Center is available to you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to find the answers you’re looking for.
We would rather make our knowledge and expertise available to you at a time when it’s actually wanted than be an annoyance at other times in your life.
Inspections and Sales Structure
We offer free phone estimates where you can get a ballpark repair price. We do paid foundation inspections when we feel confident that you truly have a foundation issue we can help solve. P.S. If you end up using us, then any money paid for an inspection goes toward the cost of your repair project.
Homeowners pay for approximately 2 hours of our dedicated time and attention at an In-Home Assessment ($225 to $275 depending on foundation type and home location). This is the most effective way for you to get an unbiased opinion on the true condition of your foundation, and for us to get compensated for our time and expertise.
Our foundation inspectors/estimators act as *foundation educators* rather than salespeople. They earn flat-rate commissions not based on the repair price. There is no motivation to upsell or pad pricing – kinda like Carmax does for their car salespeople.
Finding the Right Foundation Repair Company for You
Now you know some of the sales tactics you might run across while looking to hire a foundation repair company for your home. You’ll be more prepared to spot fear-inducing language and tricky offers. We have also prepared a list of 15 questions to ask prospective foundation repair contractors you are thinking of hiring.
At Anchor Foundation Repair, we don’t fix things that don’t need fixin’, and we don’t try to sell you stuff you don’t need. After 35+ years in business, that’s what’s best for our Brazos Valley community and for exceptional homeowners like you. We’re here to help guide you through the foundation repair process, but you’re the one in charge.
Now we recognize that you still might not be convinced that a paid foundation inspection is worth it, so we’ve got another article to help explain it a little further. Check out, “Why Does Anchor Foundation Repair Charge for Inspections?” when you’re ready.