Winters can be brutal. When spring finally arrives, and you need to make repairs to your home, you will have a decision to make. Which local service company should you hire? Depending on where you live, a search can reveal hundreds of choices. Randomly choosing a service company could have disastrous or expensive results. Below are three things you can do to narrow down the choices and help you decide which company will be best for you.
When you hire a service company, make sure that the individual they send to work on your home is licensed. Each trade has its own kind of educational and licensing process to verify and ensure that members of that trade have the skills, expertise, and experience to do the job correctly. Before hiring any kind of service tradesman, be sure to check his credentials. Do more than ask for his trade license number. Once you have that number, call the trade association or guild associated with that license to make sure that the license is current and that it is actually a bona fide license. (One local church in Albuquerque found out, after it was too late, that the person they hired had furnished them with someone else’s contractor’s number!)
Make sure that the tradesman is bonded and insured, either individually or through the service company. Ask to see documents that prove that he and his company are bonded and insured for an amount that covers the cost of your project and any subcontractors and suppliers that may be brought on for the project. This protects you from being responsible for unpaid suppliers or subcontractors. It also protects you in the event that a contractor’s negligence causes damage to your home. Additionally, an uninsured contractor may be able to hold the homeowner responsible for injuries that he incurs while working on your house.
References are an important part of your decision to hire a service company, but it isn’t enough to simply ask for references. You must also check them to make sure that this company’s references are actual customers, not just best friends and family members. When you call the references, be prepared to ask some tough questions. Was the job completed as scheduled and on budget? Did the contractor and his company respect your property or did they leave a mess that had to be cleaned up later? Call your local cleaning company! Ask the people listed as references if you can come see the work that was performed by the service company. If a company hasn’t provided references that are willing to let you see the work that was done, this may be an indicator that you should look for a different company.
Check Reviewing Agencies
Checking the company’s credentials and references is only part of your pre-hire homework. There are many agencies geared toward helping you decide which service company is right for you. You can check with your local Better Business Bureau to see if there have been any complaints against a certain company. Additionally, you can use websites like Home Advisor and Angie’s List to help you choose a service company, check its credentials, look at photos and examples of previous work done, and read reviews from other people who have hired that particular company or individual.
At first glance, hiring a local service company to do work on your home can be an intimidating task. There are a lot of things to factor into your decision, and no one wants to risk becoming another good example of home improvement “gone bad,” not to mention the exorbitant costs that are often associated with botched jobs that must be redone. Who can afford to pay to have work done twice? However, by following these simple steps, you can take the guesswork out of the process and choose the best company to get the job done professionally, correctly, and at a reasonable price.