The first question to ask is “Which Contractor” will actually be doing the installation.
There are companies that sub-contract the preparation and/or the installation to one or more companies. The “What” would be what is the product to be installed and the manufacturer. Is the manufacturer a major manufacturer with a diverse product offering capable of long term success of the installation. The “When” is in regards to convenience and possibly necessity. Does your project require special installation timing such as after-hours, weekends or holiday shutdown. If it does planning ahead along with a contractor that has the installation time available along with the contractors ability to complete your project within your time frame.
Customer References are a starting point as a guide to the quality of an installation company as is the Better Business Bureau. A second reference may be a trade reference. Perhaps a manufacturer or industry representative, such as your local Sherwin Williams or paint supplier, can give background on an installation company. As part of the reference should also be a credit check. This is the most often overlooked screening factor and especially in difficult economic times can be a valuable tool. A company contracted for a major installation should have good financial resources not just to complete the project but also to warranty the installation.
After you know whom the contractor is the first generalization can be made as to the quality of an installer is size. This is a relative term and matters most with larger project and ones with short installation windows.
This overall measurement is however, quite often deceiving. There are a large number of companies whose coating installation business is a very small percentage of their total business. Perhaps the main focus is in another type of business and do coating installations on the side when the opportunity arises or are they firmly focus on concrete coatings and their installation with dedicated installers. A well trained and experienced installer is worth two laborers. With an increasingly competitive market the number of contractors that do installations are that are dedicated to concrete coatings are limited.
Perhaps a better determining factor as to a company’s installation size and ability can be easily determined by ownership of own its own preparation equipment? Will they be subcontracting prep or renting equipment. Worse yet are they recommending a type of prep or installation they are capable of installing rather than the best installation for you project. Do they offer several types of preparation or are they a one size fits all? This is an excellent indication of a company’s size and abilities. When accepting recommendations for preparation methods a company with only one or two types of equipment and methods is more likely to steer you to those method even in the cases where they are not necessarily the best preparation method but recommend the method they offer. In the end it all comes down to how much coating does a company actually do and do they have dedicated installation crews and equipment.
It is also valuable to understand whom will be responsible for the installation. The difference between a good installation and a poor one is most often determined by the onsite supervisor or foreman. The second most important individual is the one who will be ultimately responsible should there be a conflict that requires resolution. If your unhappy with a portion of the installation or have a warranty problem who will be responsible for resolution. Will they go the extra mile or charge extra for the smallest alteration or add on? Are you dealing with a national company that while may have vast resources and experience in the event of a conflict are they going to value your business and go the extra mile for you.
Understand the contractor's ability to provide service both immediately after the installation and in the years to come. Most installations are generally not inexpensive, but the cost of failure is greater. Don’t be tempted to accept a lower cost system/installation after you have done your homework with respect to what is really needed.
While you are getting several estimates, remember, you're buying more than a concrete coating. You are paying for the installer's expertise and workmanship, of course, but you are also buying floor coating components that are not going to be visible. You are buying the surface preparation, the adhesion, the individual installers and the company. Industrial coating contractors don't have to pass a specific test, the way plumbers and electricians do. You can learn epoxy coating from the guy down the street. Anyone with a truck, paint brush and business card can claim to be a concrete coater. Look for someone with a good track record.
For industrial and commercial flooring projects we work in Michigan cities such as Muskegon, Norton Shores, Newaygo, Traverse City, Big Rapids, Cadillac, Reed City, Mount Pleasant, Flint, Howell, Lansing, Jackson, Battle Creek, Kalamazoo, Hastings Plainwell, Otsego, South Haven, Benton Harbor, St Joseph, Holland, Grand Haven, and Grand Rapids. For residential garage projects we generally only bid on work within 30 miles of Grand Rapids, MI.