What You Should Look For When Hiring A Contractor

Inviting a tradesman into your home to work on a project is not something that should not be taken lightly.  When looking for a contractor, it can turn into a stress-filled endeavor.  It doesn’t have to be.

There is a method you can follow to assure that the project is finished the way you desire.  It takes planning and research on your part.

After all, you are going to spend a large portion of your savings – and time – with whomever you choose.  I’m pretty sure you want the project done right the first time.

First impressions go a long way when you are deciding which contractor to hire.  Trust is a huge issue.  You must also trust your gut feelings.  They are usually accurate.  Photo: sifinishline.com

When Hiring A Pro

Here are some pointers to keep in mind when you are interviewing contractors:

Check their credentials

This is an early step in finding your guy.  Credentials are not limited to a license in a particular trade; you should check that a contractor carries his own liability insurance.  If the company has more than one employee, they should have Worker’s Compensation on record also.

Do not simply trust that the contractors paperwork is in order upon request; you should also be able to call his insurance company and verify that his policy is valid.

A surely good sign is one who brings his credentials and related paperwork to your first meeting.  Most show their credentials because they’re proud of them.

The In-home Visit

When a contractor arrives for your first interview, they should be clean and neatly dressed.  Ask the guy if he will be the one doing the work.  If it is a salesman that shows up representing the company, he or she should be a good listener and knowledgeable about your project.

After asking pointed questions about your project, the contractor should be able to describe the steps he is going to take — in terms you can clearly understand.

The company spokesman should also have a humble demeanor when conversing with you; they are asking you to hire them.  Your instincts should tell you if you are a good fit for each another.

Their appearance

Did the company spokesperson show up to the interview on time?  Did he put on shoe protection when he entered your property if it was raining?  Did he bring unwanted smells into your home?

These simple things can really become larger issues once work starts.  The company should also have some sort of uniform on because it speaks of a commitment to present themselves as professionals.  You can usually tell a lot about someone by just looking at their fingernails: are they trimmed neatly or do they have dirt underneath them?

Tools and Vehicles

The tools that a contractor have should be in good working order.  The tools should also be neatly placed in their work truck.  You can tell a lot about a contractor by just looking their tools.  Most good contractors care about how their vehicles look and how clean and organized their tools are.

The work truck should be clean and washed.  The contractor should never park in your driveway without permission.  Their truck should not be loud or leaking any fluids.

The Estimate 

During the process of working up an estimate, depending on your project, a contractor should be in close contact with you.

He should be thorough in his proposal, describing the work to be performed in detailed steps and clean-up procedures after he is done.  We at Handyservices compose a written estimate for you; typed and tailored to you, the Client.  The contractor should also call or email you when he says he will.

A red flag would be him not answering his phone calls or not giving you correspondence when he says he will.  You can only imagine when work starts how things could turn out.

The Contract

The contract should include all parameters of commencement of your project: detailed specs (if warranted), materials to be installed, job cost, a time-frame, clean-up procedures, warranty information, and any other concerns you have hashed out.  A well-written contract protects both parties equally.

Clean Up.

I put clean-up in this article because I can not stress it enough; cleaning up and maintaining a safe area of work space is very important.  If a job takes more than a day, the contractors should clean the work area at the end of every work day.  Everything should be in it’s respective place.  It makes a job run much more efficiently.

Follow Up

When your project is finally finished, the contractor should make several phone calls and emails to you to see how you enjoy your space, give you an opportunity to voice any concerns you may have, if there are problems, or you have more work for them to do.

Customer support and a warranty commitment is the standard.  The contractor should be inclined to keeping in touch with you.  You should want a firm that wants you as a client for life.