Home Owners: Hiring a Contractor

Have you ever needed work done on your home and needed a professional to get it done? If so, you know it’s a daunting task to say the least.  Not only are you stressed over the possible cost, but the thought of someone you don’t know completing work on your home is somewhat overwhelming.  Recently, I needed my home painted.  These are the steps I took to try and ease the burden and find the right person to do the job.

Research!  Ask your family, friends, co-workers and neighbors who may have done similar work on their home.  A personal reference goes a long way. Check possible companies out on the Better Business Bureau, reviews online, and websites dedicated to reviewing contractors (some of these may have a membership fee).

Use Google. Scour the company website for examples of their work, customer reviews, locations, etc.

Call the company and talk with them.  Ask about insurance: are they bonded, do they have worker’s compensation.  What type of warranty does their work come with?

Get estimates from multiple companies. Not only will this give you an idea on cost, but it will also give you an opportunity to put a face with a name.

Trust your instincts. When the company comes out to give an estimate, and you get a bad vibe instantly, trust what your sixth sense is telling you!  If you aren’t comfortable with the individual sent as a representative of the company, there may be good reason.

Clarify. Make sure everyone is on the same page.  Be upfront and honest with your expectations when meeting with the company, and ask questions.  Lots of questions…

Reach out.  If the estimator states they will give you a written estimate within so many days, and you don’t receive it, contact them.  There may be a reason for the delay, there may not.  You won’t know unless you follow-up on the information.

Communication is key. Once you make the final decision on the company, make sure to keep in touch. Ask what to expect from the experience, how billing is completed, how many workers can you expect to be at the location, and how long the project should take.

Choosing a stranger to complete work on your most expensive asset is a scary thing, especially if you have never gone through the experience before.  Being prepared and armed with a little knowledge going into the project can help ease the anxiety.  After all, getting what you paid for can go more than one way.  Make your experience worth it!

If you have any other suggestions to offer, please pass them along.  I’d love to hear some of your successful and not so successful stories.

Savings tip: FTWCCU provides Real Estate Loans to meet all your home improvement needs. Let us know if we can help.