By Bill Smith, BBB Reporter
In a typical week,more than 30 new businesses apply for accreditation with Better Business Bureau of Eastern Missouri and Southern Illinois. That’s 150 businesses a month who want to become a part of our ever-expanding family of
BBB Accredited Businesses, now 7,000-plus strong.
It is an eclectic mix of old and new, big and small, urban and rural businesses who promise to meet BBB’s high standards of ethics in exchange for a blue and white seal that has come to symbolize trust to generations of consumers.
In just a few days in June, BBB accredited a chimney sweep from Festus, a dentist from Jerseyville, an aviation business from Quincy, a pest control company from Ballwin and a barbecue restaurant in Sullivan.
While the businesses seem strikingly diverse, all of them share at least one common goal: to build their futures on a solid foundation of honest, ethical interaction with their customers.
Derrick Hengst, owner of newly accredited Hengst Mechanical of Cape Girardeau, said the decision to seek out BBB accreditation was based on his own, personal business philosophy. “What I hope to get out of belonging to the BBB is what I’ve tried from
the start – to grow my business while also giving my customers quality work at a fair price.”
Melodie Cast, co-owner of newly accredited B & B Drywall and Construction of Cobden, Ill., said BBB accreditation is a way to communicate a commitment to fairness to her customers and the public. In many ways, she said, “our customers’ homes are their
“They work hard to pay for maintenance and repairs,” she said. “Why should anyone be allowed to take advantage (of them)?
“By becoming accredited, it shows our customers and future customers we can be trusted.”
When it comes to searching out good businesses, Telly Hefner of Hefner’s Tree Service of St. Louis says that consumers are becoming increasingly sophisticated. More and more, he said, they realize that research at the front-end of a project can mean significant savings at the back end.
“People who are serious about getting work done, they check you out,” said Hefner, who was approved for BBB accreditation this
summer. “People want to know who they are hiring.”
Hefner said even before he was accredited, he saw value in BBB efforts to help resolve issues with customers. Over the winter, his firm was asked to remove a dead tree while the ground was covered with ice and snow. When the ground cover melted, the consumer wanted the remaining debris removed.
Once BBB contacted Hefner about the issue, he was happy to oblige.
“It was a small thing,” he said. “But to her, it was important.”
Gary Calvert, owner of Otto’s Exterminators in Columbia, Mo., said his family’s firm has been in business for 50 years, but it only applied for accreditation after new customers kept asking whether he was affiliated with BBB.
“It seemed to be a concern of new customers,” Calvert said. “That was my main motivation.”
BBB’s Request a Quote service was a bonus. Calvert said he was unaware of the service until he got a lead on a job from BBB and nearly lost it because he didn’t respond to an email. “I got that squared away” now, he said.
Laura Buffington, co-owner of just-accredited Buff Exteriors in north St. Louis County, said it is critical that a legitimate roofing company find a way to separate itself from storm chasers that sweep through an area following a storm. BBB Accreditation is a
great way to demonstrate that difference. She called the Midwest “a huge target for fraudulent companies to really take advantage of unknowing homeowners.”
She said BBB is a great tool for consumers to help guide them through the sometimes confusing process of selecting a contractor.
BBB Accreditation, she said, offers “an extra opportunity to show our customers they are making the right choice.”
This article was originally published in the Summer 2015 issue of BBB’s Torchlight magazine.
To apply for BBB Accreditation, click here.