Homeowners know all too well that appliances break, pipes leak, and sometimes home upgrades and repairs are a necessity.
While we all wish we had a neighbor like Bob Vila, the reality is sometimes we need to hire the help of a home contractor to do the work for us.
But giving a stranger free access to your home can sometimes be a cause for concern. With the proper preparations and some basic home security tips, though, hiring a reputable home improvement contractor doesn’t have to be an intimidating task.
Asking around for a contractor is easier now, thanks in part to the Better Business Bureau and Angie’s List, which are excellent online resources for checking contractors’ customer service ratings.
When the contractor arrives, he should be in full uniform, in a marked van or truck, and able to provide proper identification with all the necessary permits and insurance documents.
Quality assurance is important when having any work done. Ask ahead of time for some pictures of recently completed work or for a list of places in the area where they have done business. This will help give you a better idea of the quality of work you can expect from this contractor.
Contractors work hand in hand with suppliers and subcontractors. It’s a good idea to ask the contractor how he vets the suppliers and subcontractors he works with. It can also be helpful speak to those suppliers and subcontractors, as well. Make sure they are being paid and are comfortable working with the contractor.
Because a contractor frequently needs to go in and out of the house, you should direct the contractor to use a specific entrance, and explain what rooms are off limits.
If you know the home repair contractor will be working in one room specifically, make sure it’s easily accessible. Avoid damage by putting away any valuables that may be accidentally knocked over or broken.
And, be aware of what you’re asking for. For example, if you are having a home alarm system installed, tell the contractor where you want the main console. It’s easier for the home contractor to do his or her job when you express exactly what your expectations are.
If you know what kind of materials or appliances you want used, do your research and give that information to your contractor.
Another great tip is to ask questions and ultimately sign off on a written proposal before any work is started. Set up a pay schedule that assures you aren’t paying everything up front and never make the final payment until you receive a signed lien-waiver releasing you from any potential third-party claims.
In any economy, the hiring of a good home contractor can save you a lot of time and money. Knowing the right questions to ask and going the extra mile to prepare for their arrival will make screening a home repair contractor a worthwhile experience.Frank Rivera is the director of digital marketing for ADT Security Systems.