The remodeling industry doesn't always have the best reputation. To change public perception, many companies choose to enter competitions like those sponsored by the Better Business Bureau. “Wise consumers do their homework,” says Bryce Jacob of Dave Fox Remodeling, Columbus, Ohio, a 1998 BBB Integrity Award winner and a 2006 finalist. “Being an Integrity Award winner or a finalist gives weight. People trust the Better Business Bureau.”
Juan and Carmen Urbieta believe it. Owners of Urbieta Construction, Dayton, Ohio, they won the local BBB's Integrity Award in 2005 and then entered and won the International Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics. “When we first started out, [Juan] couldn't read or write in English; he was dependent on others to help him out. We had to have integrity so that people trusted us,” Carmen says. Urbieta Construction is known for its community service, including buying, gutting, and rehabbing buildings to revitalize an entire neighborhood. Carmen says the awards have helped set them apart from other remodelers and keep their company in the public eye.
According to the Council of Better Business Bureaus' Web site, www.bbb.org, the Torch Award helps “to illuminate the importance of corporate conscience and responsibility to upholding a fair and honest marketplace.” Each year, thousands of U.S. and Canadian businesses compete against others of the same size for the award. The Integrity Award is offered by individual, local BBBs. To be considered, organizations must meet their financial obligations and be honest, sincere, and respectful in their dealings with the public.
But it's not about being perfect. Says Jacob, “In our BBB paperwork, we were able to tell a lot of stories about how we overcame issues with clients, who appreciated that we took accountability and made things right. That's what we want to be recognized for.” That's the kind of knowledge that can help shift public perception.