One of the most important things to be aware of when purchasing a home is that there’s no landlord to handle all of your maintenance and repair concerns. As a homeowner, the responsibility for making sure your property stays in tip-top shape rests on your shoulders, so it’s important to pick your home service professionals wisely.
Yes, when it comes to hiring contractors or other specialists, there are a lot of great professionals out there; however, for every experienced, integrity-driven expert, it’s important to remember that not every company is as qualified or honest as they should be.
Therefore, to avoid problems, consider the following tips:
- Temper the Impulse to Select the Bargain Bid – While most of us are primed to seek the lowest price, bids that come in substantially lower than the competition aren’t always the best option. When you’re dealing with home materials, it’s important to remember that cheaper bids will often come from cheaper goods. That’s not to say that higher bids are always indicative of better service; however, if you’re dealing with a company who is offering a quote that is significantly higher or lower than everyone else, make a point to ask why.
- Ask for Credentials – Reputable professionals should be thoroughly credentialed, so don’t be afraid to ask for current copies of their license, insurance, and bonding capacity. If the paperwork you’re presented with is either expired or does not cover the type of work you need completed, don’t simply take their word for it. If you have questions about the bonding requirements in your town, county, or state, call your local government for more information and make a point to seek out references/customer reviews.
- Establish a Relationship – As with anything in life, communication is important. Your home represents a large financial investment—possibly the largest one you own—so you’ll want to make sure that you completely trust the service professional charged with keeping it healthy. If you have pertinent questions, ask! If they don’t respond in a timely manner or you feel like they’re simply telling you what you want to hear in the hopes of landing your business, look somewhere else.
- Be Wary of Large Upfront Payments – Some jobs may require a down payment to cover the cost of materials, but you should never have to pay the full amount upfront. Be careful if you’re asked by an installer, landscaper, or repair person to make substantial payments before you’re satisfied with their work.
- Stay on the Look Out for Scam Artists – While it’s easy to assume that a glossy business card and well-designed website signify a reputable company, professional presentations do not always equate to professional service. If someone comes to your door offering a “free roof inspection” or “discounted fence painting” because they have supplies leftover from another job, it’s wise maintain a healthy level of suspicion. While not all roofers, contractors, or landscapers who come to your door are scam artists, make a point to ask for a business card and do your research before entering into any agreements.
At the end of the day, you don’t want to be one of the 50,000 complaints that the Better Business Bureau receives each year regarding home service professionals.
Therefore, if you have some work that needs to be done and you’d like a personal referral for everything from a contractor to a plumber, please feel free to contact me. I work with a variety of wonderful professionals and I’d be happy to make a recommendation.
Marie Dinsmore | The Dinsmore Team | www.DinsmoreTeam.com | 770-712-7789