Choosing the right contractor can mean the difference between having a horribly, expensive experience you’ll never forget and an experience you can’t wait to share with friends and family.
Here are some steps to take to make sure you choose the right contractor for you:
- Do Some Research. Doing a little homework on the work to be performed will set you up for success in choosing the right contractor for your job. You don’t need to become a technical expert, but a little research will help you ask the right questions and be able to assess the contractor’s answers and experience.
- Get Referrals. Get 3 – 4 contractor referrals from people you know and trust. Referrals from the people you know and have had hands on experience from the contractor goes a lot further than references from people you don’t know. You are more likely to get both positive and negative feedback from people you know.
- Trust But Verify. After identifying a few prospects, make sure each prospect is located locally and has a physical address. Then, call the Better Business Bureau to verify the company information.
- Take Time to Interview. Interview contractors. Make sure you take time to meet with each contractor and go through your list of questions.
Questions to consider when interviewing contractors (please note, you may have more specific questions to include after doing your initial research):
- How long has the company been in business?
- What type of employee screening process does the company have in place? Do they perform background checks? Do they require drug screening? (You should know who is going to be in your home)
- Does the company have a license to do work in your area?
- Do they have dedicated customer and technical support employees? (you want to make sure you can talk to a live person when you need to)
- How many employees does the company have?
- Does the company have a web site? Does it look professional?
- Does the company provide their field personnel continuous education/training?
- What kind of warranty is offered with the service and/or parts you need? Do they offer a written guarantee?
- If permits are needed for the job, does the company manage this process?
Remember, having a little patience can make you a smart consumer. Here are a few last tips on making sure your experience is one you want to share with family and friends:
- Take your time. Make sure to get a few different bids and NEVER take the first bid or a door-to-door solicitation.
- Get all estimates in writing. Get documentation from anyone giving an estimate.
- Never pay in cash or make a full payment before work is performed. Paying after the work is completed ensures your contractor is accountable to the work and service they provide.
- You do get what you pay for. If you get a bid that is significantly lower than the others, it’s probably too good to be true. It’s good to remember that sometimes, you get what you pay for.