Buying a roll-off system? Use caution when checking out product reviews

Man doing a Google search for product reviews

If you’re anything like us (and research says you are), then you check out customer reviews before purchasing anything—from blenders to flatscreen TVs to pickup trucks.

In the dumpster rental game? Then, that certainly applies to roll-off trucks and trailers, too.

And, it makes sense.

Every roll-off manufacturer in the industry says they produce exceptional quality systems. We certainly do. But, hearing customers’ own experiences with a particular company can really help inform whether their claims are legit or marketing fluff.

Or can they?

That’s the question we started asking ourselves when we looked at our competitors’ Google reviews.

Sure, we believe our equipment is the best in the industry—the Cadillac of roll-offs. We also recognize that some of our competitors put out solid equipment and operate ethically.

However, there are also some with reputations for inferior products and customer service that claim hundreds of 4 and 5-star reviews.

We know. We hear from their customers when they run into persistent issues and feel let down by their vendors.

So, how is a small business owner supposed to identify a manufacturer they can trust?

We’d like to share a few pieces of advice:

  • Check out more than one review site. Don’t stop at Google—peek at Facebook and Yelp, too. Businesses that have a glowing average rating on one site may have biting reviews on another. While you’re at it, be sure to search YouTube for roll-off system reviews, as well. If someone’s invested enough to create a video, they likely have pretty strong feelings about the system. Meanwhile, you’ll see the roll-off in action, giving you the chance to assess if it stands up to marketing claims.
  • Give negative reviews a thoughtful read. Does the reviewer sound like a crank with unrealistic expectations? Does the review lack the detail you’d expect from a legitimate complaint—perhaps something that’s the work of a competitor or disgruntled employee? Or, is the negative review well-documented and fair—and did the manufacturer do anything to resolve it?
  • Give 5-star reviews a careful eye. Do you see any detail that suggests the reviewer has had a personal experience with the business? Watch for vague and identical or nearly identical reviews, especially posted in close succession. While some businesses will incentivize their customers to leave reviews—the truly unethical will pay for fraudulent reviews simply to bring up their average rating. (There are whole Facebook groups set up for this purpose.)
  • Filter the reviews by product type. Some manufacturers may have nailed a solid quality bumper-pull trailer, for example, but haven’t sorted out a reliable roll-off hoist. If a slew of excellent reviews related to their quality products obfuscate what they don’t do well—that could create a false sense of security.
  • Take a look at the manufacturer on Better Business Bureau. Have complaints been filed against them? Were they resolved?
  • Heed the advice of people you trust. Reach out to those you know in the industry and ask for recommendations, if you can. Their feedback will be far more trustworthy than that of an online stranger.

Most businesses today recognize the importance of guarding their online reputations. You certainly do.

While an ethical business will take in negative feedback and work to resolve issues, however, those whose ethics are a little fuzzy will work to bury known problems—and you could end up paying the price.


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