Whether it’s plumbing or roofing, major construction or a minor handyman work, you want the very best contractor for your home.
But where to start? Need Contractor of course!
There are countless contractors willing to take your hard-earned money, but who is actually going to do the job right? We’ve put together these 10 tips for hiring the best contractor so you can hire with confidence!
How To Find The Right Contractor?
Listen to Word of Mouth
Don’t underestimate this simple but effective advertising tactic! Ask your friends, relatives or co-workers for referrals if they’ve had similar work done recently. You know they’ll be honest with you and give you specifics that you won’t get anywhere else.
Word of mouth recommendations are a great place to start when you are looking for a reliable contractor.
Look for Licensing
Contractors are required by law to have licensing that is specific to their industry. Whether it’s a self-employed single person operation or a multi-contractor firm, the company should have the same documentation.
You are well within your rights as a customer to ask to see these things. If a contractor seems unwilling to share them – or annoyed that you ask – you may want to keep looking.
Ask to See Insurance
Another important document for your contractor to have is insurance. Insurance protects you, your home, and the contractor in case of injury, faulty work and a wide range of other problems that can occur during the job.
Insurance and other documentation is usually displayed somewhere in a contractor’s home office, but if they don’t have an office or work out of their home, the contractor should be willing to bring these documents with them or email them to you.
If the contractor is worth their salt, you won’t have to demand anything…they’ll gladly offer warranties on their work.
If a part is bad (no fault of the contractor) or if the finished product isn’t completed to your specifications, you should have a guarantee that the contractor will come back and make it right. Most will tell you this right up front, but if they don’t, get clarification on their warranty policy before agreeing to any contracts.
Hire Local Contractors
Supporting small businesses is definitely a trend, but there are advantages for the customer when hiring a local contractor.
First, you’ll get faster service since they have less travel time and can possibly schedule your work to be done on the same day as another customer. Cutting down on their travel time is beneficial for you, the contractor, and other customers as well.
Second, you can save time and money on shipping and delivery of materials. A lot of local contractors keep materials on hand, or they can get the products they need very quickly, so don’t assume that working with a local contractor is going to be more of a hassle than choosing a big name company.
Go ahead and assume that the lowest prices don’t usually accompany the best services. When you pay higher rates, you’re paying for the contractor’s time, experience, skill and equipment: all things that you lack – otherwise you’d be doing the work yourself!
Therefore, be wary of someone who offers to do the same job dirt cheap. This doesn’t mean you have to pay top dollar, though. Reputable companies will be competitive with one another. You may be able to find a contractor who offers better rates on your specific project, or they may be offering a special rate for new customers.
Appreciate a Free Estimate
Every contractor won’t offer a free estimate, and that’s ok. It doesn’t necessarily mean they are going to overcharge you for the job. You’re paying for their time, so be understanding if a contractor charges you for an inspection or estimate.
Some contractors don’t advertise free estimates, but they will apply your initial inspection fees to your service.
And based on the cost and complexity of the work to be done, it may not be feasible for the contractor to offer you a free estimate. For example, they may be able to make a repair on the spot, with no need of a second visit. Just because a contractor doesn’t offer free estimates, this isn’t a reason not to hire them.
Expect Prompt Communication
Anyone who wants your business will respond to your emails and return your phone calls in a timely fashion. Playing phone tag is one thing, but not responding to you because don’t have a good system of communication are clear signs that they aren’t going to value you as a customer.
If they don’t give you their best while trying to earn your business, don’t expect that they will be more responsive once you’ve hired them!
Read Online Reviews
Once you have narrowed down your choices, search online review sites to get an idea of how the contractor treats customers, both in service and skill. Online reviews are usually written well after the service, so the customer has had time to reflect on their service and how the contractor handled themselves. Generally, reviews are a really good way to choose a contractor.
Online reviews can be a place to rant, so be careful to look at a wide enough sample that you get a true picture of their business. You can also check the Better Business Bureau’s website to see how the company rates.
Pay Attention to Who Pays Attention to You
This quality is pretty basic, but so important. Your contractor should listen to you before, during and after the services are complete to ensure that you understand what is required for the project to be successful, how much it will cost, and what realistic expectations you should have.
At the end of the day, this is your home and your money, so make sure that the contractor you choose is willing to listen to what you want and does their best to honor your requests!
When you find a contractor that checks all these boxes, you’ve found the one that will treat you right!