This is something new I heard from Patrick Altier, the owner of Solar Trek, Inc. and Caribbean Electric, Inc. upon my being hired as the new Marketing Manager. I thought this was and still is an amazing analogy to consider when you gather quotes from solar companies in the future.
He told me that solar is becoming more and more cost-effective for consumers (thus profitable) that smaller solar companies are popping up all over the place to make a quick buck. The problem is that there is no experience, expertise, customer service, or even process to their "madness...." Instead, he calls them Chuck-in-a-Truck will form overnight and try to provide solar to customers... They will fail.
They will either (or all):
1) Under quote a job because they ran the customers credit and know how much the customer can afford and then assure the customer "this is all you will need to be "off-grid..." Instead of 40 panels to run sufficiently, they will sell the customer 25 because they know that is how much the customer can afford by pulling credit. This is wrong on so many levels. The customer is lied to and cheated.
2) A company will come out and never finish the job. They will be understaffed or skilled. They may even damage your roof unknowingly.
3) Your system will never work as you were "promised." When you contact the company for warranty, they will be out of business or unable to provide you a warranty service call.
Patrick indicated how service calls have increased in the last years because of these Chuck-in-a-Trucks. He has seen damage, jobs walked off, and under-quoted performance. Solar Trek, Inc. will go in and fix this every time for the customer.
Do not get "Chucked..." Do your homework. This is a huge investment that if done properly will reward you in the future.
Here are some great questions to ask:
1) How long has the company been in business?
Our Answer: 1981; Family owned and operated. Check all our reviews: Google, Yelp, Facebook, and BBB.
2) How do you pick your products that you sell?
Our Answer: Patrick was once a banker. So, he looks into the financial stability of a company's product before even choosing to use that product. For example, LG is one of our panels and they have been around a long time. Although they aren't the cheapest, they will be able to stand behind their warranty. We make sure of that.
3) Do you use contractors/ sub-contractors?
Our Answer: We do not. We also own Caribbean Electric, Inc. and our electricians are W-2 employees covered with liability insurance and workers compensation.
4) Who do I call for a service call?
Our Answer: Our office 352-351-1333 and specifically, Diane S.
We pride ourselves in 100% satisfaction from start to finish. Sure, since 1981, we've made mistakes, but we go out there and resolve the problem 100% for the customer to ensure satisfaction at the very end of the day. This has kept us successful since 1981 and growing more and more every day. We are so thankful for our customers that we now call Family.