FAKES, FRAUDS & PHONIES
If money is involved, you can be sure that there will always be Fakes, Frauds and Phonies getting in on the action.
Do you see anything you recognize in the image?
All of these images have something in common; they are all "knock offs" of the original.
Why do you suppose that anyone would do such a thing?
There is no catagory of merchandise, product, service, or food that is not included in this fraudulent way of making money.
This is an IMMENSELY HUGE, BIG business rip-off.
It is the purposeful deception used to secure unfair or unlawful gain.
It is the advertisement or sale of an IMITATION, a LIKENESS, or a COPY of something that is NOT what the seller claims it to be, and may often sell for less than what the REAL THING would cost.
It is with intent to WIN YOUR TRUST by using a RECOGNIZABLE brand or by using your trusting FAMILIARITY of something that is either POPULAR or IN DEMAND.
What does this have to do with the trade of painting you ask?
THE FAKE PAINTER AND HIS FAKE COMPANY
Say it ain't so...
It's real easy to make a professional looking business card, create an absolutely FREE website, and join a web networking and/or business website(s).
Professionals do it all the time,
...and so do the scam artists.
The fake painter / company is a person who is trying to pass as a REAL painter, or pass as a LEGITIMATE painting company or pressure washing company; to get / make money - without having a business license..
They pose as legit, but upon a little bit of research, they don't even exist, and fortunately for you; they are easy to spot!
Ask for a License number
All painters, painting contractors, power washing companies & painting companies who contract for money; MUST have a business license, this is the LAW in every State.
Having a business license means that the business owner's name and his business is recorded at the State level.
It means that if they don't do a good job, or they take your money and don't show up, or you need to file a complaint against them; YOU CAN, and there's a certain amount of protection for the consumer.
But if they don't have a license, you have no protection, and you can't complain - because they don't exist!
...and they are breaking the Law!
Check their Reviews where ever you can find them
Some "reviews" are real, while many are completely fake.
Check the name of the person giving the review, look at reviews on their Facebook page. Read more about "Fake Reviews".
Look at their business Facebook profile
You can see when the page was created / how long they've been in business / creating posts, you can see how many people "like" them, you can read their reviews, there should be photographs of their projects.
Look at their website photographs of "their" work
Many fake painting companies search the web and steal awesome pictures from legitimate companies who actually take photgraphs of their projects.
These fakes and fraudsters post someone else's work on THEIR OWN website, tricking you to believe that THEY did that.
This is a highly unethical practice, and it happens all too much - and it's a RED FLAG that they are more than willing to trick and deceive you, this shows you that they are a LIAR!
Look at their company Facebook page and see if you can find that awesome picture they have posted on their website - along with the entire project, a true painter is always proud to post his/her ENTIRE projects on their business Facebook page.
We find these people stealing OUR images all the time; by right clicking the image and having Google search for similar images - and whoa; there's OUR work posted on SOMEONE ELSE'S website!
Google their phone number, Google their name and/or company name
If someone is posting a business phone number, that number will lead to a business.
If someone is claiming to be the owner of a business, Google their name, it should point right towards their business.
If someone is claiming that they are a business; check the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation.
Simply type in their business license number, or their name, or their company name.
If they don't exist, they are not who they claim to be.
THE PAINTING FRANCHISE
The Painting Franchise
Realizing that the painting market is a 10 billion dollar a year industry, advertisers and investors came up with the "Painting Franchise" sometime in the mid 1980's; so they could get their share of that big money pile, if not simply corner the market.
Beware of the franchise, it's like Forest Gump says;
"you never know what you'll get".
The Painting Franchise
In the beginning (around 1986), the painting franchise strategy of offering the consumer a cheaper priced paint job by subcontracting the work out to cheap unqualified (and most often - undocumented) labor, caused many real painters and painting contractors to go out of business; because the real professionals just couldn't compete with their low ball pricing.
A "Franchisee" buys into a Painting franchise.
The franchisee pays the franchise a large sum of money to use the name of the company, and they pay monthly or yearly fees (or both) to be adverised, and to continue using the company name and logo.
A franchisee doesn't need to be a painter, and most often, the franchisee owner knows very little of the painting trade. Many of them have never even held a brush in their hand, and it is rare that you would actually find one on the job applying paints.
A franchisee's job is to dress nice and meet potential clients.
A franchisee does the networking, they negotiate contracts and land sales; they are advertisers and marketers.
To keep project costs and overhead costs low, a franchisee does not have employees who work for them, they more than often subcontract all their work out; usually to college kids or illegal day laborers - licensed or not, insured or not.
Back when the painting franchise was first introduced, they were counting on you to accept their unbelievable low priced bid (and people did - and they grew), often with contract in hand for you to sign while you were all excited about having a "crew" of "professionals" coming out to do the work at such a bargain price.
Painting franchises are very common now,
...and you can hear their advertisements on the radio, or they will mail you a letter introducing themselves and their company.
They use words that are sweet to your ears;
"My services", "I have worked in your community for years", "career professional painters", "your painter for life", etc..
- and they offer all the same services that a real painter does.
• None of them are a choice that any "educated consumer" would make.
• None of them are "certified" pro.
• None of them are "multi star".
• None of them employ professional painters. A professional painter could never work at such low rates.
They are franchises
They advertise a service, land the work, make a commission of 40% to 50% from the job, and the rest they pay the subcontractor.
Oh what a tricky bunch they are; often having their sub-contractors wear T-Shirts with THEIR company logo - or maybe a magnetic company sign on the vehicle - to make it appear as though it's THEIR "crew" (many "painting contractors" caught on to this, and they are doing the same thing).
...and the people these franchisees find to do the work; could care less if it's done the right way; because they are so underpaid.
The "subs" get paid for a completed project, they are not paid hourly, they get no benefits - they don't work for the company - so the price to do the work is already determined.
...meaning; if they need more paint or materials, or if they need to put in extra time to do the job the right way; they aren't going to pay out of pocket to do the job correctly.
Painting franchises are eagerly taking full advantage of the un-educated consumer, the hungry illegal day laborers, and they are in an industry they don't belong in - just to make a dollar. Everything is about money.
Considering hiring a painting franchise?
Ask them "who exactly will be doing the work - legal employees who are qualified - or subs?"
THE GENERAL CONTRACTOR
"Yeah, we do that..."
“A jack of all trades is a master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one.”
Billy Bob does electricity, carpentry, and roofing, he also advertises painting and deck sealing.
He's a real "Johnny do-it-all", but he probably isn't very good at any of them. Who knows.
When you want a good steak, you don't go to a fast food restaurant. A good steak can be found at a good steakhouse.
If you need an painter, you hire a painter, you don't hire an electrician who can paint.
Many contractors specialize in just one thing. Specializing in just one area of expertise means they are most likely very good at what they do.
Many other contractors offer a variaty of things that they claim to excel at; and they may - or may not - be good at what they do.
Having a "one stop shop" sounds convienent.
If it's a huge company, their claim might be true, otherwise; they could be just trying to make additional money in a field of work that they really have no business promoting, and quite often; they sub-contract what they really don't do, or mess it up trying.
*Sub contracting is not always a bad thing, but the client or homeowner needs to know this upfront, so just ask them before signing that agreement.
PageRank (PR) is an algorithm used by Google Search to rank web pages in their search engine results.
When you go searching the internet for a service, Google's search algorithms quickly run through a huge list of things that determine if you will be listed on the first page of search results, just one of those determinations is how one ranks in "Google Reviews" - because Google wants to show you who the best is.
If a contractor has 5 stars and losts of great reviews, not only do they have a good chance at being found on the very first page of search results, and at the top of the list, but who wouldn't want to hire a contractor with all those wonderful great reviews?
Unfortunately, there is a loophole, and some "contractors" have found it - and are using it to their advantage.
Here is the loophole:
Step 1.) Create a fake name and email address, create a Google account with your new fake name and email address, log on and look for a company (how about your own company) and write a review.
To make it look even more legitimate, while you're logged in to your fake account, go ahead and do some other reviews of other businesses. Now log out.
Step 2.) Do step one again. Repeat.
Step 3.) Reserve some time - once a week or once a month - to log into all your fake Google accounts, and continue reviewing business - so your little scam looks convincing.
How to spot them:
(You can't really) but here's what I've got for you:
No image of the person who wrote the review (as if that really matters, soon they will be posting images of people - but not their own image).
You should be able to click the reviewer's name and go to their Google page.
You should be able to click their name and see who and how many - other reviews they did, and when they did them.
Check out this article: http://www.ngsmarketing.com/ways-to-recognize-fake-google-reviews/
The FACT is:
You can be the very best at what you do, but a real public review is not that common. Many people appreciate you and the service you provide. They would definately call you back, refer you to their friends and Family, but would rather not have their name posted on the internet. When was the last time YOU posted an internet review for a company?
Our Company Facebook Page
We have project albums (not just one picture) of almost everything we do. Interior painting projects don't photograph well, so we don't post many.
We have reviews from the people we did the work for.
...it's as real as it gets.
THE "BEST PAINTER" IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA
You too can be #1
...All you gotta do is pay the big bucks, and you too can be rated "The Best" in our yearly catalog of all the "best contractors".
What? You're really not that good?
You do sloppy work and skip out on jobs before their done?
It doesn't matter!
Pay us the money and we'll fix you right up as the "Best" there is, and everyone will get our catalog and believe it.
Who is the "Best" Painter / Painting Contractor in Northern Virginia?
The year is 2018, and the new catalogs of the "top rated / best contractors" has just arrived in my mail.
Once again, we received the yearly "Best" contractors in our area for the year of 2018 - junk mail catalogs.
...and once again, WE aren't even listed!
Let me tell you why: It's because we didn't pay the money to get top position.
Who is the "Best" painting contractor in YOUR neighborhood?
Marketing companies tell you that "they've done all the work for you!"
They would have you believe that they do "polls", they've interviewed thousands of homeowners, they've done their research!
...but this is a complete lie, and people fall for it. It's actually a HUGE money making scam.
These marketing agencies charge contractors big money to be listed in their book of the "best"; the more money a contractor pays; the higher rank they get in their book or the top listing.
Personally, we would never even call anyone listed in these fake mailers - it shows us that the contractors paid money to be listed as "the best", and is a deceitful liar.
Why would I give business to someone who has already demonstrated that they are openly willing to deceive?
"...but they're a "member" of that business that monitor's businesses and grades them from "A" to "F"!
They have a grade "A" rating - they must be good!"
In today's world, you can PAY to be rated "number one", "trustworthy", "most awesome" in magazines, catalogs, online, etc - even on websites that claim they do non biased reviews.
There is a company that's been around for decades - you know what I'm talking about.
This company has a reputation with everyone; to be non biased, they are the "authority". they rate businesses from "A" to "F", and keep records of complaints and resolutions. People often won't even hire a contractor unless they are a member of this group.
...people won't even consider hiring us - because we are not "accredited".
This "non biased" company that once eyeballed companies and held such strict standards and "accreditiation", (that you grew up trusting) as the single source for "who is legit and trustworthy",
...is now just making money from the highest bidder.
Contractors who have a had a "bad" grade with them; can easily pay money and get an "A" rating (This applies to all those other contractor referal businesses advertised on T.V. as well).
...but MONEY is more important than ethics, and they chose MONEY over ethics.
There is an online story regarding how In 2010, ABC news show, 20/20 conducted an investigation into their shady doings. Look it up.
O.K., nevermind, here it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0w6Oick8x48
This might answer your question on why we are not members - and will never be. They are all about making money - not honest ratings or reviews.
Just because someone rates a contractor as "the best", or has them listed in their magazine as top rated, grades them with an "A", or gives them a gold star
...doesn't always mean it's true.
You should research the person or company you are hiring, and don't believe the hoopla!
"UNBIASED(?)" RATINGS & REVIEWS - PAY TO PLAY
Still not #1 yet?
Join us for a yearly fee, we'll send you referals. You WILL pay for those referals even if you don't land the job. I hope you have lots of money to spend.
We'd like to have you upgrade your membership to GOLD status.
Don't worry, we'll place YOUR listing above all others and make you look SO good! You may or may not stay busy, but as long as we get our money, who cares, lol.
Each of these charge contractors money to be to be listed on their websites, to be referred. The more money a contractor pays, the closer to the top of the list they get, and the higher referral rating. You pay to play, pay more to be a winner, pay the most and you become a God.
YOUR FACEBOOK COMMUNITY PAGE
Hey gang, I'm looking to hire a contractor to build me shed in the back yard, anyone want to recommend someone?
Have you joined your local Facebook community page yet?
Have you ever asked your Fb community who they would recommend for a project you need to get done?
Joining your community page gives you the opportunity to keep in touch with others in your area, keep up to date on what's going on locally, and you can see which contractors are trusted and get recommended by members of that community. "Word of mouth is always the best referral!"
Unfortunately, your community Facebook page may be run by a local contractor, and quite often, that person very much doesn't want you to know that.
If the administrator of your Facebook community page is nameless / unknown / anonymous, or they are only recognized as (community) "administrator", you just might have joined a contractor-built Facebook community page.
You may have unknowingly joined a contractor's very own personal advertisement group; where his customers come to him (join his group); where the contractor's friends, family and employees refer him when someone asks for a referal for someone who does something, and that contractor holds a monopoly. He will never run out of work, and he will gain prestige amoung his followers and be known as an awesome honest contractor. But he deletes other contractors and services of people he doesn't like - or those who compete with him, or those who are on to his scam.