Frequently Asked Questions
How do I accept the contractor's estimate and/or give the go-ahead for work to begin?
If you have received a hardcopy estimate, sign the white copy and return it to the Club. If you received an email estimate, forward the estimate to the Club with an email note of acceptance; or print the estimate, sign it, insert it in an envelope and mail it to the Club. After the Club receives your signed estimate, the contractor will be alerted, then you will be contacted to schedule the work.
What's the best time to year to hire a contractor?
The workload for most contractors fluctuates with the time of year. Call on contractors during their slow season, and you'll be rewarded with more responsive service. For example, summertime is the best time for insulating and other energy-conservation projects. And late winter or early spring is the best time to get bids for any outdoor painting projects. If you have a question about the best time of year to hire a particular contractor, Club staff will be happy to provide some insight.
How much lead-time do most contractors need?
For larger projects — such as painting, roofing and remodeling — you'll want to call the Club for a contractor referral weeks, if not months, before you think your project will be ready to begin. The current demand for quality contractors in the Seattle area is so great that contractor backlogs are commonplace.
How long should I wait for a contractor to contact me?
For service work, you should hear within hours, if not sooner, depending on the type of work. For larger bid projects, it might take a day or two. If you have not heard from a contactor within a reasonable amount of time, please contact the Club and staff will follow up with the contractor.
What if I have an emergency repair?
For help with an emergency repair, call the Club as you would normally. The office is open 8:30 am - 5:30 pm, Monday through Friday, not including holidays. During all other times, the phones are answered by persons who are capable of helping you in an emergency situation. Do not send an email request.
Of course, in any emergency situation where someone's been hurt, smoke or fire can be seen, or power is out to your entire neighborhood, you should first contact your local police or fire department, your power utility or another more appropriate entity.
How many contractors will bid on my project?
For smaller jobs and emergency repairs — where prompt service is the top priority — the Club will dispatch one contractor to handle the project.
For major projects — such as painting, remodeling, installing a new roof or flooring — the Club can send multiple contractors to bid on the work. The number of contractors bidding on a job depends on the work to be performed and the member's preference.
How do I know I'll be satisfied with the work?
Thanks to the Club's prudent billing process (you pay the Club, the Club pays the contractor), you have plenty of time to ensure the work was done to your satisfaction before any final payment needs to be made.
After your job is completed, the contractor will send their invoice to the Club, not to you. Someone from the Club will review the bill, then call you to make sure you're satisfied with the work and the service provided. Only then will the Club forward the bill to you for final payment.
It's a time-tested process that allows the Club to guarantee your satisfaction.
What should I do if there's a problem with my project?
The reality is, problems do occur occasionally. Sometimes it's the contractor's mistake. Other times, it's the result of something that someone else did or didn't do. And many times, problems pop up because of some unforeseen issue — a long-forgotten oil tank buried in the backyard, poor workmanship by a past contractor, a weather delay, a defective product, etc.
The key to getting any project problem quickly resolved is to contact the Club as soon as possible. The Club has more than 60 years of experience mitigating disputes.
If I already have a working relationship, can I just call the contractor directly?
Occasionally, a member will embark on a second project with a HOC-authorized contractor without notifying the Club. By doing so, however, there's no way for the Club to monitor the contractor's work or ensure your satisfaction. For your protection, call the Club, not the contractor, to initiate a job.
What if the contractor goes out of business?
The Club honors any HOC-authorized contractor's guarantee on work performed through the Club — even in cases when the contractor has gone out of business.
Why can't I find my contractor's phone number in the local directory?
To control overhead costs, many of the Club's authorized contractors locate their offices in outlying suburbs, which means they won't be listed in your local directory. Other contractors rely almost exclusively on their cell phones, and those numbers can't be listed in the directory. However, the Club is always happy to provide you with any phone numbers or other contact information.
What if the contractor asks for a deposit on the job?
There is never any need to pay a contractor directly. If a deposit, material draw or process payment is necessary, the contractor will submit an invoice directly to the Home Owners Club. The member pays the Club, and the Club pays the contractor.
Why do I send my payment to the Club instead of to the contractor?
HOC-authorized contractors have an obligation to bill all work done for members through the Club. This is the only way contractors and members can receive the benefits the Club provides. When jobs are billed through the Club, the member's satisfaction is guaranteed, and there's a record of the work should there be a problem in the future. The contractor is guaranteed payment and remains eligible to receive future job leads from the Club.
Why can't I pay with a credit card, PayPal or other electronic payment services?
Businesses that accept credit card and PayPal payments must add the accompanying processing fees to the prices of their services. If the Home Owners Club were to accept credit card payments, an additional 2 to 4 percent would need to be added to each contractor's invoice to cover the processing costs. Avoiding credit cards and keeping prices low has always seemed like the better option.
What if I have questions about my project, my contractor or my contractor's bid?
Call the Club. Knowledgeable staff are standing by to answer your questions 8:30 am - 5:30 pm, Monday through Friday. The longtime staff who answer you calls are industry experts, able to answer questions, address concerns and arrange for contractors.
In addition, the Club's Field Inspector is available to assess your project, offer ideas and advice, inspect work and more — all at no additional charge. Just call to schedule an appointment.
How is the Home Owners Club different from other contractor referral services?
Contractor referral services have been around for many years in a variety of different forms. The most popular type has been the "pay-for-listing" model. Contractors pay a fee to the service in return for the promise of referrals. Any contractor willing to pay can participate.
The Home Owners Club is different. There are no up-front fees that contractors pay, nor any fees for referrals. This allows the Club to evaluate contractors on the quality of their service and the competitiveness of their pricing, without any obligation to provide job leads.
The Home Owners Club also follows jobs through to their completion, providing assistance to the member before, during and after.
How are the Club's contractors screened and authorized?
To do work for the Club's members, a contractor must have already been in business for at least three years and have a solid track-record of performance.
The screening process consists of checking that all of the required insurance coverage are in order, ensuring the contractor license is current and the firm is financially stable, and researching whether there are any claims against the firm's bond.
When companies successfully pass the screening process, the Club begins recommending them for appropriate projects.
Does the Club accept advertising or payment from the contractors or vendors it recommends?
No. The Home Owners Club is an independent, objective, member-focused referral service and, therefore, does not ask for any referral fees or accept any advertising.
Why do such talented contractors choose to work with the Club?
The Club provides time-tested solutions to the problems most contractors face, such as securing work, helping clients plan their projects, collecting on outstanding bills and more.
Ours is a mutually beneficial relationship that's still delivering real results more than five decades after the Club's founding.
How is the Club compensated for the services it provides members and contractors?
Unlike other referral services, the Club does not charge contractors any up-front fees, or any fees for referrals. The Club's only financial agreement with contractors is that all work successfully completed for members be billed through the Club. The Club then pays the contractor a discounted amount (as if it were charged on a credit card), while collecting the full invoiced amount from the member. In banking terms, this is called "factoring the invoice."
In addition, your annual membership fee helps to cover some of the administrative costs the Club incurs.
Do the Club's contractors charge members higher rates?
No. Each HOC-authorized contractor has signed an agreement with the Club that states they will "perform all work referred by the Club at current, competitive prices ...." This means that Club members will be charged the contractor's regular rates.
Plus, the Club regularly monitors the going rates for a wide variety of projects to ensure that the rates charged by HOC-authorized contractors are competitive, fair and reasonable.
Does the Club sell its membership list to marketing companies?
No. None of the information you provide when applying for membership is ever sold or given to any outside party. You can take comfort in knowing that any personally identifiable information will be securely stored and kept strictly confidential.
The contact information you provide the Club is only used for communication between the Home Owners Club and its contractors.