Companies spend a lot to purchase fire protection systems, but if these are not properly installed and maintained, their investment can easily go down the drain. The question is, how do you go about choosing the right contractor for the project when there are so many choices out there?
No matter the age of your prospective company, all fire protection contractors have their own backgrounds that should be explored. Try to be as thorough as possible as you check. Look for OHSA or EPA citations, or outstanding judgments or claims over the last five years. Such information can help you decide more wisely whether you should go or not go with a specific company.
Interviewing a Fire Protection Company
To help you decide when choosing a fire protection company, make sure you know the following:
> Number of qualified engineers and other workers with OHSA 10-hour certification
> Number of NICET-certified technicians and specific fields of specialty
> Whether they usually come in or under budget
> Length of experience in the industry
> How often workers are given ongoing trainings/seminars
> Whether they are bonded and insured
> Whether they will assign a dedicated manager to your job
Aside from a company’s technical background, you’d also like to look into their “people background” – their reputation. Ask prospects for a list of references or companies they have done business with. Read online reviews as well, but to ensure credibility, don’t veer away from popular consumer websites such as Angie’s List or Yelp. Look for details. What specific issues or complaints were there, if any? Just keep in mind that all companies will have both good and bad reviews. Focus on the general vibe that you get.
Familiarity with the Team
A fire protection system installation is a big project that can take months or even years to finish. That means you will be dealing with the company and the entire team for quite some time. Therefore, you have to be familiar with everybody, including knowing the right people to talk to when certain problems crop up. You should know the personnel who can help you with a variety of scenarios, like your equipment being accidentally damaged or an employee who doesn’t seem to be doing their job well.
Finally, another reason you should know the people who will be working on your project is that you want to gauge if your personalities will be a good mach. Again, you will be spending quite some time with these people, and you don’t want that feeling of being stuck when you realize midway through the project that they are very unprofessional or arrogant. It should be a business relationship that you are positive will flourish.