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Buyers Beware: Hiring A Contractor

Not all contractors are created equally and the last thing any homeowner wants is to hire a contractor, spend a significant amount of their hard earned money and not be happy with the finished result. Home projects are expensive and even more expensive since Covid-19 hit and so many industries have suffered material shortages and price increases from suppliers as a result. In this article, we will go ways to cover your bases before hiring a contractor in order to protect your home and invest your money in a company that will do quality work that you will be happy with for many years to come.

Finding Contractors

No one cares more about your home than you, so ensure that you research before hiring any contractor. Ask trusted friends who they have used for the service you are seeking. Social Media is a great place to request referrals from other local homeowners, but don't stop there. Even if they were happy with the work they had done, still be sure you research the company. One person may have a great experience with a company while many more have a horrific experience with the same company.

Reviews are so important! Some of the best places to look for reviews for contractors/home service companies are to check the Google Business Page for the company you are inquiring about. Most reviews these days, for companies, are either left on a Google Business Page or on a Facebook Business Page. Any reputable contractor, should have business accounts on both of these platforms. If you can't find either for a contractor, proceed with caution. A lower price for desired work is definitely appealing, but definitely not worth the risk of spending a large sum of money only to be unhappy with the work performed and not have the budget to hire someone else to have the work done correctly. Also, if a contractor doesn't have an online presence, think of how easy it is for them to disappear after work is completed in an undesired fashion.

One final place to research a home service company is the Better Business Bureau website. On the site, you can not only find reviews, but also determine if the business is accredited by the BBB, all general business details, how long they have been in business and see if they have previously had complaints filed against them. In some instances, you can even see if the business have open lawsuits against them. Better Business Bureau website allows homeowners to file complaints against companies, which can be a great resource if work is performed on your home that you're not happy with and the company isn't responding to your attempts at contacting them to resolve the issue.

Get A Few Estimates

After you have received referrals and researched the companies, next step is to get several estimates for the work to be completed. We recommend getting at least 3 estimates. The estimate should include a breakdown of the work that would be performed and the cost for each part. Be sure to ask questions about anything on the estimate that you don't understand.

Be cautious of estimates that are too high or too low. Some companies will quote extremely high because they know that some homeowners will accept it and not do their research. Some quotes will be higher strictly because the company is larger, has more employees and more overhead costs. A lower estimate can be worrisome if the company doesn't have an online presence or known reputation, but sometimes estimates can be lower strictly because the company is a small, locally owned business with less employees and less overhead costs. If a company has an online presence and good reputation, but there estimate is lower and you don't understand why, be sure to inquire about the price difference.

Final Steps

Be sure to confirm with the contractors that they are insured and licensed, if the work being performed requires licensing. Ask the contractor for a copy of their proof of insurance and if you desire, you can contact the insurance company to confirm that the policy is still active. If they don't carry insurance or their policy is no longer active, you will be liable for accidents that occur on your property.

Once you have confirmed that the contractors are licensed (if work requires it) and insured, review your estimates. Hiring local contractors can be beneficial because they are easier to contact if any problems develop with the work in the future. Once you have had all your questions answered by each contractor regarding the estimate, decide which one you would like to work with. Most contractors are going to ask for a contract to be signed prior to purchasing materials to do the work and scheduling to begin the work. It is also normal for contractors to ask for a portion of the contracted price up front. Reputable contractors don't ask for 100% of the contracted price up front before the work is completed. If a contractor does ask for 100% payment before the work is completed, reconsider working with them.

Once work is completed, if you are happy with it and with your experience with the business, be sure to leave them a review! Reviews are helpful for other homeowners looking to have work completed and also very beneficial to the contractor. They are even more beneficial for small, local business owners and necessary to help them thrive and stay in business.

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